Some may argue that it’s too early to start thinking about the holidays, but I disagree. Planning what gifts you need to buy will save you money and lessen the stress of facing last minute mall crowds.

Black Friday: Many stores offer sales after Thanksgiving, and although Black Friday can be hectic, if you plan on buying big ticket items like a TV or computer you can save a lot of money by braving the crowds. Some stores will post their ads early, so you can start planning your shopping trip before heading out to stores in the middle of the night.

Price Comparisons: When you start shopping early, you have time to look around at different stores and shop online to find the best deal. When you wait until the last minute, you might not have time to compare prices, or the items may not arrive on time because of shipping delays.

Doing research on how much items cost will give you time to pick up more hours at work or put more money aside, so you don’t have to resort to buying something you can’t afford.

Selection: When you shop early, you have more of a selection, as opposed to the picked-over shelves from which everyone else has already shopped.

And just imagine: when you finish shopping and wrapping before the holidays, you have more time to relax or spend time with family and friends instead of stressing about when you’ll have time to go to the stores.

If you still plan on waiting until after Thanksgiving to start the holiday shopping, I encourage you to compare products and prices before heading out to the store.

Remember to shop after the holidays too. Many stores reduce items to clear them out, so you could end up walking out with great gifts for next year at a fraction of the cost.

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