We’ve been hearing about supply chain issues, like shipping bottlenecks and product shortages for months, and many consumers have already experienced price increases and shipping delays throughout the year. Shopping really ramps up around the holidays and that rush could be incredibly taxing on warehouses, stores, and shipping carriers, so I recommend shopping early.

Do we have to buy everything early?

Focus on items where you have no flexibility, like a specific hot toy, a particular model of a gadget, or even a pair of shoes that are trending on TikTok. You can start looking for those items ASAP and wait on more general items, like candles, throw blankets, or holiday-themed gifts.


What’s the best way to get organized?

I would suggest making a list – and not in your head. I like to do it in the Notes function on my iPhone so it’s always with me. Include names of recipients, a general idea of what you want to spend, and gift ideas. The Notes function also lets you check off each person when you’re done shopping for them, which I find very satisfying!


How do you suggest saving in-store?

Pandemic or not, I don’t like to spend a lot of time in stores so I use a savings tool that allows me to save, but also to get in and out quickly. The Rakuten*  app provides cashback offers and promos for my favorite stores, and when I shop with the credit card that I’ve linked to the account my cashback is automatically calculated at checkout, which eliminates any extra steps.


What about online?

If you plan to shop online, install at least one free browser extension like the Sidekick from CouponCabin.com*. As you browse, the Sidekick will find cashback offers for you and even test coupons at checkout. You just click to accept an offer and then you save automatically! You can cash out your savings via Paypal or with gift cards that you can use to buy more things.


Are there other benefits to shopping early?

Just think – once the holiday crush arrives, you’ll already be well on your way to being finished! You won’t have to worry about delays and shortages and you won’t have to fight the crowds, either. The other benefit is that if you start shopping now, your holiday spending can be spread across multiple months, so it will feel gentler on your budget.


*I financial relationships with CouponCabin & Rakuten


Related: links to dozens of October deals