While Halloween is still a couple weeks away, and Thanksgiving is just around the corner, many stores are already gearing up for Christmas. After all, as one of the busiest shopping seasons of the year, retailers know that sales from this season are critical. However, while there are many great sales items available on Black Friday, that doesn’t mean it is the only time to shop. In fact, I rarely spend time shopping on Black Friday, and yet still manage to get great prices for the gifts for everyone on my list.
Of course, this is greatly in part to starting my Christmas shopping in January or February. I learned years ago, that one of the best ways to avoid the Christmas crowd of shoppers was to begin early enough so that by December, the only gift items to purchase were “surprise gifts” such as those for a last minute party. So what are the benefits of shopping early? Consider this:
After Christmas stores not only mark down Christmas wrapping supplies and ornaments, but will reduce prices on toys and specialty items (not necessarily seasonal ones) to well below standard cost. In fact, this past year, I was able to purchase 3 sets of red oven-safe serving bowls for the cost of 1 set at the pre-Christmas price. While the bowls were red, there was nothing else that made them “Christmassy” making them perfect gifts for any time of the year.
As the year progresses, pay attention to end of season sales at stores like J.C. Penney, Lane Bryant, Charlotte Russe ( I found boots here for a third of the original cost simply because it was the end of March and the store needed to make room for the next season’s inventory) and many others. As the stores receive the stock for the upcoming season, they will reduce prices to move product. Taking advantage of the sales can make saving money on Christmas gifts easy.
Take advantage of BOGOs. Many stores offer Buy One Get One half off or free items. Other retailers may offer a coordinating product (e.g. crayons to go with a coloring book purchase) making the gift purchase even better. Shop with a friend and when you find BOGO items, where you only need one of the product, split the cost of one with your friend and you both save money!
Don’t be afraid to purchase Christmas presents using coupons. After all, how much you spent isn’t important. Using saving books like the Entertainment coupon book or buying gift certificates from Restaurant.com (just be sure to read the fine print!), are easy ways to save on the cost of Christmas presents, as well. If you are looking for a gift that helps others save money, consider purchasing Entertainment coupon book or (if your area has one) the Attractions and Dining Guide as gifts ($25). These are great gifts which allow the receiver to save money year round!
These are just a few ways to save money on your Christmas shopping. If you have other you would like to share, please let your other Coupon Claim users know about them. After all, there’s plenty of gifting to be done and saving money makes it much more enjoyable!