Why You May Want to Do Your Holiday Shopping Now

by Maurie Backman | Published on Sept. 20, 2021

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A young, smiling woman stands outside in the city with an armful of holiday gifts.

Image source: Getty Images

This year in particular, you'd be wise not to wait.

At this point during the year, many of us are busy settling into a new school routine and enjoying seasonal activities like apple picking. The holidays may be the last thing on your mind. But it pays to do your holiday shopping super early this year. Here's why.

It's all about product availability

During the holidays, there are often hot-ticket items that people struggle to get their hands on. But this year, it may be an even bigger challenge to find toys, electronics, and apparel -- even if you're not seeking the most popular items on the market.

Over the summer, a number of ports and railways overseas sustained damage from flooding and other weather events. At the same time, some factories overseas shut down due to coronavirus outbreaks.

The result? Supply chain issues and shipping delays could make it more difficult for consumers to get their hands on the items they want for the holidays. If you want to avoid disappointment, you'd be wise to do your shopping in advance, before everything flies off the shelves.

How to swing your holiday purchases

Many of us save for the holidays every month, so that by the time November or December rolls around, we have a nice pile of cash for gift-buying. If you make holiday purchases now, it could mean doing so before you've fully saved for the items you need.

If that's the case, be careful about how you pay for those items, because you don't want holiday debt. One route is charging your purchases on a 0% introductory APR credit card. If you're convinced you can pay off that balance by the time this year's holiday season arrives, you'll avoid interest on the gifts you buy earlier than usual.

Another option for some is to take on a side job temporarily to boost your income and pay for your purchases. Ultimately, this is the safer route, though not necessarily the easier one. You may not be able to snap your fingers and find a side hustle overnight.

That said, there are certain opportunities that may be easier to land. For instance, if you live in a city where parking is difficult or not everyone has a vehicle, driving for a ride-hailing service could be a good bet for generating near-term cash. Or it could pay to ask local schools if you can post a flyer advertising babysitting. Parents are often desperate for help with childcare, so you may luck out and score babysitting gigs quickly.

It's never a bad idea to get a head start on holiday shopping. But this year, it's especially important. Getting a head start could spell the difference between a stress-free shopping experience and a frazzled one.

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