Holiday Shopping - when to shop to spend the least without missing out.

Well before Halloween brings trick-or-treaters to our doors, holiday shopping is already mainstream in the advertising world. Some companies want to capture their holiday sales before Black Friday even begins while others heavily rely on the Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales to make their numbers. There are families that look forward to their tradition of heading out to the shops as soon as their turkey coma has lifted. Others are thrilled to see companies like REI boycotting Black Friday and spearheading campaigns like #optoutside to get people out of the stores and into nature and time with friends and family. Whatever camp you fall into, saving money on items you already plan to buy for the (very expensive) holiday season can be welcome.

I recently found a fantastic Wall Street Journal article that goes into research-tested details on the specific days to shop where you will save the most money without risking the item being sold out. Read the details here, but for a summary of the article, here's what it recommends:

TOYS: Shop the Saturday before Thanksgiving - Don't risk missing out on that highly-coveted miracle toy just because you heard it would be 70% off on Black Friday! If you want to get ahead without breaking the bank, the Saturday before Thanksgiving has decent discounts and the toys are three times less likely to go out of stock before you can snag them.

APPAREL: Shop on Thanksgiving Day - However, if you want to be shopping free on turkey day, the days after Cyber Monday are your next best bet... even better than Black Friday. Shoppers typically buy apparel for themselves while intending to buy gifts for others (come on, you know you've done it too). Stores are smart to this, so the price of apparel increases during times when people are more likely to be shopping for other kinds of gifts.

ELECTRONICS: Shop on Monday before Thanksgiving - If you start thinking about electronic holiday gifts on Thanksgiving, you've already missed the boat. Amazon electronic sales are up and running well before the holiday, and while there will always be sexy discounts on Black Friday, you run a risk of the item being out of stock that is six times higher than if you get a head start.

JEWELRY: Shop on Thanksgiving Day - Interestingly, Cyber Monday is one of the most expensive days for jewelry, so while you're shopping at your desk try your best to refrain! Can't make it on Thanksgiving? Try the days just before Thanksgiving or the Saturday after Black Friday. Beyond that you risk items being out of stock or unpredictably priced.

When the holidays command a pretty penny, it's dizzying to figure out where to start and where the real "savings" can be found. Thanks to the WSJ, we don't have to blindly guess. Good luck!

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