Christmas seems to come earlier and earlier each year, and while November seems to be too early for some to start thinking about Christmas, starting early and creating a strategy could end up saving you a lot of money.

Time
Generally speaking, people who start Christmas shopping early have some sort of a list. A list is extremely important when doing any sort of shopping because it helps you stay organized and only buy the things you need. Having time to compose a detailed and well-thought-out list will also benefit you because it will ensure you have decided on the gifts that people will appreciate. Creating a list will also help you stay focused on purchasing the correct items, rather than wandering through a store looking for something, only to be distracted.
Once you have created a list for everyone you need to buy gifts for, you can set a dollar amount for each gift. By staying within the price range you outlined, you will also stay within your budget. Without a list and/or budget you may end up spending an extra $10 to $20 per person, which could add up to you going a few hundred dollars over budget.

In the society we live in today, there are multiple outlets available to buy the same goods. Give yourself ample time to research which stores carry the product you want to buy and which stores offer the best prices. By implementing this strategy, you can save money this holiday season.

Black Friday
Black Friday is Nov. 23 this year and while shopping on this day can be quite hectic, there are definitely great deals to be had. Many stores offer huge discounts off their merchandise. The National Retail Federation estimates consumers will spend an average of $749.51in November and December. Many stores offer incentive to spend a certain amount. At Target, shoppers who spend $50 on select items can receive $10 back in gift cards, which is a 20% return. Many electronics are available for discounts of hundreds of dollars. With the ability to take advantage of sales and utilize money-back programs, consumers could save hundreds of dollars shopping at Black Friday sales.

Selection
Everything will be a lot less picked-over if you start your shopping early. The days leading up to Christmas are always the busiest and there generally isn't a lot left by Dec. 23 or 24. This may cause you to buy more expensive items because the products on your list are no longer in stock, and you will need to find an alternative. Avoid this by setting out to shop earlier.

Online Shopping
If you start Christmas shopping early you may be able to complete a great deal of your shopping online, which can be a lot more convenient. Eighty percent of consumers who took a survey from shopping.com said that they found online shopping to be much cheaper. By starting early you allow ample time for delivery of your purchases, and you will avoid the stress of not knowing if it will show up on time. This also leaves you with enough time to wrap the gifts for your friends and family, which will allow you to avoid paying for expensive in-store wrapping services at around $6 to $16 per package.

Avoid Procrastination
By starting your shopping early, making a list and implementing a plan you may be able to eliminate the stress you would have put on yourself when you only have a few days to round up everyone's gifts. The thought of not being able to finish all of your Christmas shopping causes many consumers stress. Start early so that you can avoid this.

The Bottom Line
Each year Christmas decorations appear in stores earlier and earlier. While November may be far too early for people to even entertain the idea of holiday shopping, for many getting an early start may be the key to successfully saving money this holiday season. Depending on where you shop, how you shop and what you are in the market for, there is potential to save hundreds of dollars by starting your Christmas shopping early.

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