October is kick-starting the spending season. While we used to think of Black Friday as the beginning of the holiday shopping season, the time is now!

Be a successful holiday shopper!
Be a successful holiday shopper!
Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

With COVID casting a shadow over this year’s holiday season, the National Retail Federation found that retailers expect buyers to be ready for deals in early October.  Planning, budgeting, and shopping will take place more strategically and over a more extended period. Here are three action items to help you be a successful holiday shopper 2020.

Picking the hottest gift

Be a successful holiday shopper!
Be a successful holiday shopper.
Photo by Drew Coffman on Unsplash

Continuing to trend this year will be technology gifts. Some of the hot tech items for 2020 are Apple iPhone 12 (expected to be released in October), PlayStation 5 (launch date November 12), and Amazon Echo 4th Generation (release date set for October 22).  Additionally, Salesforce says the number one shopping platform will be Facebook.

In the past few years, experiential giving (concert tickets, tours, trips) became a popular gift-giving category. However, with the uncertainty of the future stemming from COVID, we will see tangible gifts being front and center.  Additional hot items for 2020 listed by USA Today include weighted blankets, Apple Airpods, and subscription boxes.  I have also noted a trend in personalized presents.

While nearly half of shoppers will solely buy gifts online this year for either safety reasons or just plain convenience, the other 50 percent of Americans will shop in brick and mortar stores or a combination of in-store and online.  Retailers have promised great deals for shoppers in person and in cyberspace, and with many Americans worried about finances this year, sweetened sales are necessary to gain their business.  Of note and not surprisingly, a majority of Americans say they are not comfortable shopping in a mall this year.

Locating the best deal

Be a successful holiday shopper.
Be a successful holiday shopper.
Photo by Mike Petrucci on Unsplash

Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) has traditionally been the kick-off of the holiday shopping season. In recent years, stores began opening on Thanksgiving Day to lure customers with the best deals before the competition could grab them. Then came online shopping, and we jumped on Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday as more days where sales were plentiful.

This year, shopping enticements are beginning even earlier.  Get ready to shop! Amazon Prime Day Deals are available on October 13 and 14. And that’s not all!  Target Deal Days are also October 13 and 14. Home Depot is rolling out deals on November 8.

Retailers, restaurants and other venues (think movie theaters) are in financial crunches this year thanks to COVID. But this means good bargains and shopping seductions for you, the consumer. Watch for advertisements.  Sign up for email alerts.  Follow them on social media. The deals will be there for the taking.

Budget, budget, budget

Be a successful holiday shopper.
Be a successful holiday shopper.
Photo by Anastasiia Ostapovych on Unsplash

Though holiday shopping deals will be plentiful, you must budget! The average consumer has racked up over $1,000 in debt as part of their holiday shopping in past years.  Do not let this happen to you.

By budgeting wisely, you can avoid debt. Please do not overdo it on credit cards.  They are convenient and necessary for online shopping, but they can get you into financial trouble.

To curb spending, start with a budget.  From there, breakdown how much you are spending on which family member or friend. Stay organized and on track to avoid a spending hangover in January.

This holiday season is bound to look a little different due to the year we are having.  Don’t let the fear of uncertainty stop you from enjoying the holidays and shopping for friends and family. Look for deals, shop where you are comfortable and stay on budget.