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Holiday bargain battles begin

Thanks to inflation, many retailers are already offering Black Friday deals. Why a longer shopping period could be good for your wallet.

SAN ANTONIO — Do not wait to do your holiday shopping because it is likely you will not find many better deals on Black Friday. 

Retailers are worried the squeeze of inflation will discourage holiday shopping, so deep deals and discounts are being offered now.

“People are concerned about prices going up,” said Trae Bodge, smart saving expert of TrueTrae. “This is really creating a sense of urgency on retailers to put offers out there to get shoppers shopping with them A.S.A.P.”

“There is plenty of reason to shop early because they’re not just throwing out sort of lackluster deals to try to entice people to come early and get their shopping done,” said Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst with Dealnews.com

“They’re tossing out discounts that we don’t normally see until Black Friday. I think a lot of retailers just kind of seized the opportunity to start these sales early in order to give people more time to shop and kind of lessen the impact on their wallets all at once. ”

The extended holiday shopping period can alleviate some financial stress and pressure to prepare.

“You can spread your shopping out across multiple pay periods,” Bodge said. “So it’s less of a financial bottleneck to do this versus starting on Black Friday, for example, and only having four weeks to do all of your shopping.”

Look at stores’ price protection policies before you buy. It can make sure you get the lowest price should deals drop further.

“See what their return policy is, what their price matching policy is, and if they have a price adjustment policy in place for the holiday season,” Ramhold said. 

“You can shop with a certain amount of confidence knowing that if you buy something now and then it drops in price around Black Friday, you can get a price adjustment. At the same time, some stores don’t offer those kinds of guarantees.”

Do not fret if you miss a major markdown, it is likely to be back for Black Friday.

“I think the best deals of the season, if they come up now, then they’re probably going to be back at the end of November,” Ramhold said.

Organization is key to taking advantage of the longer shopping season.

“You might forget that you bought a gift for someone early, so maybe arrange a shelf in your home where you’re keeping all of those gifts,” Bodge said. “Make a list with recipients, gift ideas, a budget for each, and tick everybody off as you go. That way you won’t overbuy or buy unnecessarily.”

Plus, take advantage of coupons and cash back apps to increase your savings. 

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