Early Holiday Shopping Tips for 2022
For most of our lives, the holiday shopping season has run from Black Friday to Christmas Eve.
But those days are done.
Just walk into a Hobby Lobby, and you’ll be greeted by Christmas decorations in September.
It may drive you crazy to see “Christmas” everywhere before Halloween, but it is risky to wait to start shopping until Black Friday as in the past.
Read on to discover why early holiday shopping is a must and how to do it the right way.
Retailers are no longer waiting for Black Friday to release big holiday deals. It’s no secret that holiday deals are coming early this year.¹
Items Still in Stock
Popular items like Star Wars toys, LEGO sets, and video game consoles are expected to sell out. Salesforce found that “42% more shoppers worldwide and 37% more in the U.S. plan to start buying gifts earlier – the No. 1 behavioral change this holiday.”²
That means the hot items this holiday season may be long gone as we get closer to Christmas.
Rather than waiting for prices to drop even lower, it is wiser to buy gifts when they first go on sale instead of risking their rising in cost. That’s not the only reason. The closer you get to Christmas, the faster you’ll need to shop, which won’t give you enough time to find the best deals.
We are all familiar with shipping issues, but the 2022 holiday season is facing a new one. FedEx is currently dealing with issues involving contractors and financial strife. In August, contractors threatened to halt deliveries.³
It’s last on this list, but it may be first on yours. Early holiday shopping gives you ample time to shop without feeling rushed or stressed. If you get all your shopping done before Thanksgiving, you can spend December enjoying the holidays rather than panic shopping.
Early Holiday Shopping the Right Way
Use the following tips to complete your holiday shopping this year.
#1 Make a List, Check It Twice
Before you buy the first gift, sit down, and make a list of everyone you plan to buy for.
List every family member, co-worker, teacher, and friend to whom you plan to give a gift.
After you have created this list, make a list of extras you need to buy for the holidays, such as wrapping paper, holiday cards, and stocking stuffers.
#2 Talk to Friends and Family about Your Holiday Plan
If the list you created in Step One has you feeling overwhelmed, see if you can trim down your list.
Have an open and honest conversation with your family about your holiday plan, and be prepared to offer suggestions for trimming everyone’s list.
For example, if you have several siblings, nieces, and nephews, it may be time to start drawing names.
The key is to have this talk BEFORE you start shopping.
If you mention this after Aunt Sally has already bought something for everyone, it’s not going to work. You may also suggest a spending limit, such as $20.
#3 Gather All the Wish Lists
Now that you have your true to-buy-for list ready, ask for wish lists. Target, Amazon, and Walmart tend to send out their Christmas toy catalogs in early October.
As soon as it arrives, have your kids circle items they are interested in.
Then, use Giftster or Amazon to create free wish lists to share with those who may be buying presents for your kids.
These online wish lists prevent people from buying the same thing and allow parents to see what gifts their kids are receiving ahead of time.
But you can also use this same technique for the adults in your life!
TIP – Tell your younger kids once they ask for a gift that Santa’s elves get busy building so gifts can’t be changed. This is especially important for early holiday shoppers.
#4 Create a Budget
At this point, you need to create a budget if you haven’t already. Ideally, you started saving for the 2022 holiday season months ago.
Even if you didn’t, with early holiday shopping, you have time to better gauge how much you can spend without going into debt.
For your budget, refer to your to-buy-for list and come up with a total amount to spend on each person.
Leave plenty of cushion room for additional holiday spending. But don’t create the budget, let it sit, and forget it. Stick to it!
#5 Plan Ahead for Gifts
Now that you know what you’ll spend on each person, it’s time to brainstorm possible gifts.
Go to the wish lists and see what you can afford with your budget. Start doing some research on the costs of items and where you can find them on sale.
#6 Shop Sooner Rather Than Later
As mentioned, deals will start earlier this year. As a result, things will sell out.
It may be tempting to wait for prices to come down even more, but once holiday deals appear, they likely won’t drop much more.
However, if you do buy something and notice the price drops soon after, you can contact the retailer to see if they offer holiday price matching.
For example, in 2021, Target offered a holiday price match guarantee allowing customers to request a price adjustment on all items purchased at Target from October 10 to December 24.⁴
#7 Sign Up for Deal Alerts
Early holiday shopping allows you to find the best deals the soonest.
Go ahead and sign up for deal alerts for the retailers where you plan to shop.
You’ll receive emails and discount codes.
In addition, for must-have items, use CamelCamelCamel to receive a notification when the item reaches the price you’d like to pay.
You can’t do this if you wait until the last minute.
#8 Buy Online, Pick Up in Store
Save on shipping by ordering items online and picking them up in the store. The earlier you do your online shopping, the less you have to worry about the gift arriving on time.
#9 Be on the Lookout
If you have a list of people to buy for and a list of items you plan to buy, stay alert! That way you can scoop it up as soon as it goes on sale.
#10 Stock Up on Generic Gifts
Retailers across the U.S. are dealing with too much inventory, which means there are a ton of generic items on clearance.
Using your budget cushion buy a few generic gifts (such as candles, coffee mugs, and stationery sets) to keep for those people you forgot or when you get invited to a random white elephant party.
#11 Keep Track of What You’ve Purchased
It is critical that you keep track of what you purchased during early holiday shopping. Not only do you need to keep track of where you store it, but you need to keep track of what you bought and spent.
You don’t want to overspend or overbuy because you’ve lost track of your shopping.
#12 Think outside the Box
Instead of giving the traditional gift, consider gifting family and friends with experiences, such as season passes to a zoo. The best part about these – they don’t take up space in storage, and you don’t have to rush to get the best deals.
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