No, I haven't lost my mind, I know it's not Thanksgiving Day, but we've gotta talk about getting prepared for the holidays. Starting in August, many retailers will be rolling out fall decorations and prices will begin to quietly increase. Unfortunately, we consumers end up paying more during the holiday season because there is typically more demand. Thus the importance of buying the essentials now.
What are the essentials you ask? Well, basics like canned foods (i.e. pie filling, cranberry sauce, corn etc), boxed foods (i.e. stuffing, macaroni, cake mixes) and frozen foods (i.e. pie crusts, ham, veggies). The average cost of these staples increases by 25% during the holiday season, so get it now while the getting is good and cheap. Much of the same can be said about gifts that you intend to purchase for Christmas, the only exception is the increase is 35-50%. Granted, over the past few recession years, we have seen steady cooperation from retailers in providing steep discounts around "Black Friday", but you have to contend with limited quantities, so there's no guarantee that you will score that "must have" item at the mega discounted price.
Buying a few gifts over the course of the year not only helps you save money, it saves you from the aggravation of fighting the holiday rush, traffic jams & crazy shoppers. Over the years I have learned that many retailers offer more online discounts during the year which allows me to buy great gifts inexpensively. Don't count me out, I too enjoy the excitement of waking up at midnight & waiting in line for an awesome deal, but I have the contentment of knowing that all my other shopping was done 6 months before.
There are many ways to save money on gifts, here are a few ideas to get you started.
Coupon code sites
Social networking coupons
To be frugal is to be prepared!