Countdown to Christmas—Why Shopping Early is a Good Idea

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by Nindo Mom on September 27, 2010

To some, it may seem early to start thinking about Christmas. But shopping now can help avoid a “log jam” of commotion at the last minute.

Shopping Early Makes it Easier to Find the Items You Want the Most

Last year, I was in the market for a laptop computer for my son. A great deal came out a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving—but I was sure the price would drop even lower on Black Friday. That’s when the best deals are supposed to be, right? Or at least they’d drop during the last couple of weeks before Christmas as retailers try to make just a few more sales.

Guess what? The price on that laptop never came down to be as low as it had been in early November, and I ended up paying the higher price.

Some toys don’t even stay on the market for a year—Bakugan marbles, action figures (Star Wars, Ben 10, Naruto action figures, etc.), and trading cards have all been particularly hard to find, in my experience. All these items have a limited release for specific styles, even if the manufacturers don’t market them as limited editions.

So if your child is crazy about a particular kind of action figure, trading card set, or other item, you may want to consider purchasing it right away before it’s no longer available. And the closer it gets to the holidays, the less will be  left in the stores. When making holiday purchases throughout the year, just remember that kids can change their minds about what they want—especially when new toys are released right before the holidays.

What can you do if you didn’t get to purchase that coveted toy while it was still in the stores?

When this happens to me, the two places I go first are Amazon.com and Ebay.  Although there are exceptions, I generally tend to have better results on Amazon.com when looking for non-vintage items. Plus, Amazon offers free shipping on qualifying orders $25 or more. Ebay is certainly worth a look, but keep in mind that their stock seems to vary a lot from one day to the next because they are primarily an auction site.

If I strike out at Amazon and Ebay, I might try entering the toy name into the Google search field, then select the “Shopping” link to see if other retailers or vendors show up.  The trouble with this method is you may pull up retailers you’re not familiar with, and some may be less reliable than others.

Shopping Earlier Means Spending Less for Shipping

One final thing to remember: when you shop early for your holiday gifts, you can avoid having to ship by faster and more expensive shipping methods. This helps you save money on your overall holiday bill.

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