Holiday shopping: Don’t wait to save!

Sep 16, 2023, 9:26 AM

Christmas shopping...

Holiday shopping is closer than you think. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

It’s only September and the holiday decorations are already popping up in stores.

That may seem premature to many of us who have yet to carve a pumpkin or a turkey this year.

“We found that half of holiday shoppers are planning to begin before the end of October,” according to Ted Rossman, a Senior Industry Analyst at Bankrate.

That includes 12% who are starting this month and another 12% who started in August.

Rossman told KIRO Newsradio’s Heather Bosch he started seeing this during the pandemic.

“This trend really caught on a couple of years ago when the supply chain was such a mess and everybody felt like they had to shop early or they weren’t going to get what they wanted,” he said. “We’re still seeing a lot of early shopping.”

One of the reasons for that may be due to something else the Bankrate survey found.

“We found a third (of those surveyed) expect inflation to impact their shopping habits,” Rossman explained. “25% are stressed about the cost of holiday shopping. 23% anticipate a strain on their budget.”

Rossman said shopping early does give you more time to set your budget, comparison shop, and spread out purchases over time so you can pay off your credit card every month.

That’s important because the interest rates on those cards have hit an all-time high of about 20%.

“You don’t have to wait until Black Friday anymore,” Rossman explained.

More from Heather Bosch: Seattle grieves for and gives to Maui at the Hawaii General Store

He said shopping early does not mean you’re missing out on bargains. “That kind of pricing is often available by early October.”

Rossman said retailers are motivated to get holiday shopping dollars early, especially considering yet another post-pandemic phenomenon.

“A big trend we see right now is when people splurge it tends to be more on experiences such as travel, driving, concert tickets and things like that. So I think especially for these holiday favorites – toys, clothes, electronics, things like that – I think retailers are going to be in a discounting mood.”

Rossman explained there are ways to save even more money.

“I really like the idea of stacking discounts, so that might involve using a store promotion and a rewards credit card that you hopefully pay in full before the interest hits,” he said.

Rossman said some businesses like Chase, Rakuten and Alaska Airlines offer shopping sites where you can earn perks including cash back or travel miles simply by shopping through their portals.

You also might have cash on hand. Rossman said half of us have unused gift cards. The average value is close to $200.

Heather Bosch is an award-winning anchor-reporter for KIRO Newsradio.

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Holiday shopping: Don’t wait to save!