Texas Living

Start Early and Spend Less This Holiday

By Ryan Derousseau 10.7.15

Believe it or not, the holiday shopping season has begun. Sure, the leaves haven’t turned, and it’s still balmy outside, but companies have already started to offer you ways to save. Those ready now can get the most out of this year.

Need an example? Walmart, for instance, opened its layaway program for holiday items in August — two weeks earlier than it did last year. Walmart’s competitors won’t be far behind with offers of their own as they all try to one-up each other for your holiday dollars.

So how can you take advantage of the earlier and earlier shopping season? Don’t let it overwhelm you and start planning now.

—Begin by budgeting. Before you ever hit the shops, know who you have to buy for, how much you can spend on each person, and when you’ve gone too far. This will keep a huge January bill at bay.

—Space it out. Shop in increments instead of buying everything at once. First, you’ll get tired on your shopping spree if you grab it all in one trip, which leads to more-expensive purchases as you try to get out the door. Second, stores will offer new deals from October through December. You can take advantage of them as they arise.

—Shop with a list. Always go in with a list to make sure you stay on budget. This will also prevent impulse purchases.

—Comparison shop. Don’t just compare by store, but by media platform. Watch for companies to offer deals on mobile phones, for instance. The phone has become an ever-increasing source of traffic for retailers, and they are expected to boost their mobile offers this year.

Getting started now will give you time to wrap your gifts well ahead of the holidays, leaving only one thing left for your list come December: sitting back and enjoying time with your family.

While you’re keeping your eyes peeled for deals on holiday gifts, thieves are looking for opportunities. Read these tips for mall-proofing your car.