Get a Jump on Holiday Shopping
NEW YORK (MainStreet) For most of us, Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season. But an impressive 40% of Americans begin buying gifts before Halloween. That approach will come in extra handy this year, with a late Thanksgiving resulting in fewer days to shop before Christmas. Procrastinators take note: you'll only have 26 shopping days this year, as compared to last year's 32 days. And if you're shopping for Chanukah waiting until Black Friday isn't an option. This year the holiday begins the evening before Thanksgiving.
If you need extra motivation to jumpstart your holiday shopping, consider taking advantage of Columbus Day sales. You can easily track the best coupons and deals by visiting ColumbusDaySales.com. There are plenty of deals to be found, and the crowds are more manageable than the weekend after Thanksgiving, which drew almost 140 million Americans last year.
The best sales you'll find this weekend will be on clothing. Now is a great time to stock up on gifts like sweaters and scarves. Retailers, department stores and outlet stores are looking to clear out fall inventory, and prices will drop accordingly. To make sure you're getting the very best prices, look online for printable coupons to bring with you to the store. And while you're at the register, don't forget to ask for a gift receipt. There's a 10% chance that turtleneck you picked out for your Aunt Lisa will be returned.
Many teenagers are hoping for some type of electronic item this Christmas, whether it's a video game console or a new cell phone. Stores looking to get rid of leftover back-to-school items offer extra discounts around Columbus Day. It's also a great time to find a deal on a new digital camera, if that happens to be on your shopping list.
If you need to pick up gifts for younger children, you can definitely find discounts on toys and games as well. Stores like Toys R Us have had their most in-demand toys on the shelves for a few weeks now. Prices may be lower over Black Friday, but inventory often goes quickly. If you really need that Big Hugs Elmo doll, it might be worth it to act now.
--Written by Lauren Lyons Cole for MainStreet