Move over, Black Friday: 'OctoNovemCember' is here
Parents are looking for deals long before Thanksgiving -- and worrying about their ability to pay. Use these tips to take charge of the holiday.
Holiday shopping behaviors are changing. A new survey from the RetailMeNot coupon website indicates that 39% of parents start their shopping before November.
Why so early? Because "deal-seeking behaviors have become more of the norm within the consumer purchase cycle," note the authors of a a white paper recently released by RMN.
In other words: Only amateurs pay retail.
According to "OctoNovemCember: Why an unsteady economy is causing consumers to search for deals long before Black Friday," merchants are responding to those deal-seeking behaviors. They're floating hot deals long before Thanksgiving, a practice the authors call "Christmas creep."
Do these über-early-bird sales allow shoppers to feel confident about their holiday spending?
Nope. One in four of the more than 1,600 people surveyed were worried about being able to afford their planned purchases. Oh, and 71% of them have a "dismal" view of the economy.
Which begs the question, "Then why are you planning to spend so much for the holidays? Especially if it stresses you out?"
The question is obvious, but the answer isn't. Holidays are pretty psychologically fraught. It's not easy to change old habits, especially if you're part of a family or social group that emphasizes excessive spending.
Take charge of the holidays
The good news: The RMN study is a fine wake-up call.
Christmas decorations are already in stores and Black Friday website e-mails have begun to circulate -- but you've got plenty of time to rethink your holiday habits.
What do you actually want to do? For example, if hosting a big party has become too exhausting and/or expensive, you could compromise with an afternoon open house and serve cookies, coffee and cocoa. (Remember, the more tired you are the more likely you'll overspend.)
Can you afford your vision of the holidays? If it took months to pay off last year's celebration, it's time to regroup. A few possible strategies: cutting the number of presents, setting cost limits on gift exchanges, using price comparison websites and online coupon sites to find the lowest prices.
Can you pay as you go? Since the OctoNovemCember deals are ongoing, you can buy a few items per pay period. By all means use a rewards credit card, but by spreading out your shopping, you may be able pay the tab in cash each month.
Don't wait until Black Friday websites, deal-of-the-day sites and newspaper ads whip you into a consumerist frenzy. Create a budget and a buying plan and take advantage of the best prices you can find. But when the list is all crossed off, stop shopping. Your bottom line will thank you.
Readers: Are you doing any holiday shopping yet? Will you be finished by Black Friday?
More on MSN Money:
Technically, Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The tradition of gift giving stems from the Magi bringing gifts to the new born baby. One each. Each of importance that provided for the entire family. The operative word being 'family'.
In modern times it's a time that most hearts are open to the spirit of giving. In all ways. Removing this tradition from our lives would be a grave mistake. It's a time to remember the good that family has provided for (and towards) each other. A time of companionship, good food, and laughter.
The gift giving is part of the celebration. Keeping this portion of it conservative is a good thing. Make a budget, save the cash, and pull through it with a generous heart. After all there is an economic side to Christmas as well. Buy ingredients for 2 types of goodies, not ten. Use the dollar store for wrapping or be creative and use what you have at home like paper grocery bags. Food can be as simple as an ethnic dish from your family history and a glass of wine.
I shop early because I have a difficul time with the crazy crowds. No other reason, other than prices are so much better. Each adult child gets 3 gifts, each spouse gets 2. The grands get educational items such as crayons and books along with a small gc so they can pick out a gift and one outfit. I have fun wrapping and displaying the gifts. I put up a tree and purchase pointsettia plants. That's the decorations. Most of all I am thankful for the healthy and well adjusted family my husband and I took the time to focus on. The love is demonstrated 365 days a year.
Merry Christmas to all.
If you are over 18, no gifts for you. If you are over 25 and we haven't seen you in a year, don't bother coming over at all. We know how busy you have been and why let something like the Holidays change that?
You can tell us how your Christmas was on Facebook. Not that we will read it.
My family stopped buying presents for adults years ago. We just buy stuff for the kids
I would rather buy my own stuff
We do get together for the day and eat like crazy, though and then play cards all night
I use black friday and cyber monday to buy things I need for myself and my family and not just to buy christmas gifts.
Last year i bought jeans for $5 made by Levi, shirts for $6, boots for $15, and other things I needed to buy to wear for myself. I bought clothes as gifts for my children and a couple of gifts they wanted. Overall christmas shopping cost me about $350 to 400 dollars which I had planned for by saving it.
Black Friday has good deals and I go for them, but I save for it and plan it out. The whole thing about black friday shooping is the $400 I spent would have been about $750 at the regular prices.
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