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Commentary: When is it Too Early to Start Holiday Shopping?

October 9, 2011

Even though we are barely nearing Halloween, there are those who have already gotten into the spirit of the Holiday Season by starting their holiday shopping months early.  They are hissed at often by the late starters who think starting too early is just insane, especially now with Christmas just two months away and we haven’t even gotten Thanksgiving on our minds yet.

But as holiday shoppers are well on the way of going down the wish list item by item, checking their budget from now until December, the question is, when is it too early to start holiday shopping?  For some, it’s the matter of cost and watching the budget closely, knowing what they have to work with as it is a main focal point of making sure to not overspend, whereas for others it just makes good sense.  Then again, there are those who prefer to start their shopping at the height when the holiday rush begins with Black Friday with some holiday shoppers starting as early as September or even during the summer months.

Let’s not forget that the economy is still showing no signs of recovery.  How will it affect Black Friday actually?  How will it affect the bottom line of the dollar consumers will or will not be willing to spend?  Will consumers do more of their shopping online rather than embarking on retailers for deals they can otherwise find online?  Will consumers do much shopping this Holiday Season at all?  All of these factors we have to take into consideration as the Holiday Season approaches.

Frankly, starting early is not necessarily a bad thing.  It’s simply getting a jump on the competition, taking advantage of the price cuts, discounts, and hot deals on hot ticket items that are in stock now and haven’t started flying of the shelves yet.  It’s fulfilling those wishes on the Christmas lists and enjoying the opportunity of being able to save money wherever possible.

If anyone has been paying attention, the commercials have already started flooding the television, catalogs are slashing prices, retailers are cutting prices across the board on the majority of store items targeting consumers who are most likely to patron their store.

Where fashion comes into the gist of the shopping frenzy, stores like Macy’s, Bloomingdales, Nordstroms, and Dillards are likely to start showing their holiday love by offering sales and discounts targeting the pocketbook with attractive deals consumers cannot afford to miss.

Then again online shopping has become a popular force for the holiday shopper, finding good deals on shipping, along with discounted items that are a must have and fall in line of what’s on the wish list.  One thing to remember is that online shopping keeps traffic congestion down by a small margin, and keeps consumers in the comfort of their own home with the option to get out to get what can’t be purchased online.

In all fairness, starting the holiday shopping months early is simply smart thinking.  I’m often barked at because I go around asking my family what they want for Christmas and it’s usually in September.  But only half of my family understands my method of madness so the list gets created fairly quickly.  On the other hand with only one income coming into the house it’s only common sense for me to start early because I think long term and in terms of what i will be working with between now until the end of the year, so it’s natural that I get started early so by the time my daughter’s birthday comes and by the time Christmas comes I will have purchased all that I needed to purchase, all the gifts are wrapped and ready and by the time Thanksgiving and Christmas rolls around all I have to do is plan for the dinners and nothing more.  I am usually done by mid November no later than the first week of December unless there are last minute items I need to get.

So as we settle into the idea that 2011 is nearing its end, remember to shop responsibility and focus on the bottom line of how much you are actually able to spend.  Start early, avoid the rush, and save time and money.

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