Early Holiday Shopping | McIntosh & Associates, Inc.

It seems like holiday displays creep up earlier and earlier every year. Forget about waiting until after Thanksgiving – wreaths, stockings and ornaments are sharing the shelves with Halloween displays in stores across the country! Financial professional Mindy McIntosh talks with WSMH about how to make the most of holiday shopping before Halloween.

1. Make a List and Check it Twice – It can be difficult to decide who you want to buy gifts for – but making a list is the best way to keep you on track when you go shopping. Not sure what to get someone? Start jotting down ideas on your list. Pay attention to what’s mentioned at the family barbecue or birthday party. Do they really like someone’s hat or suggest wanting a kitchen gadget? The more ideas you have the easier it will be for you to find the perfect gift that fits in your budget.

2. Consider All Costs – The holidays are about more than gifts – don’t forget about expenses like travel, gift wrap, cards, postage, decorations and party clothes. Don’t throw away your budget worksheet at the end of the season – it can be helpful when you’re planning for next year to know how much you spent in each category.

3. Hunt for Coupons – Search for coupons before making a purchase online. Many online shops offer coupon codes for discounts and free shipping. It only takes a few minutes to research – just search for coupon code and the manufacturer you plan to buy from.

4. Consider Layaway – Many stores offer layaway programs for those holiday gifts. There is both an upside and a downside to using layaway programs. Read the fine print – many layaway programs charge a fee of $5 or $10 to open your account, and you could get hit with a restocking fee if you don’t pay it off in time.

5. Keep Paperwork – When you make those early purchases, hold onto your receipt. Most stores have a 90 day return policy in case you find a better deal somewhere else. You can also ask the store to match a sale price at one of their competitors.

Click here for a holiday budget worksheet.