NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The weather outside might not yet be frightful, but thinking about the holiday gift giving season might be enough to make most people wish fall would last forever.
The leaves might not yet have fallen, but it is time to start thinking about holiday gift giving, savings experts say.
According to Statistic Brain, an organization that compiles statistics from various sources, Americans last year spent $52 billion in 2011 between Nov. 1 and Dec. 16. Internet Retailer predicts that just online holiday shopping will be up by 16% this year.
But why wait for Black Friday or Cyber Monday when there are great deals to be had right now?
We talked to savings experts who came up with 10 ways you can save on holiday shopping now:
Make a list, check it twice: Jane DeLaney, founder of budgeting website eMeals.com, says one of the most important first steps is to know who is on your list. “Don’t give into the pressure to give to everyone,” DeLaney says. “Choose a list of people that you will get gifts for and don’t stray from this list. It’s important you are giving from the heart, and not just from what you feel pressured into doing.”
A drop in the bucket: You should also know what you have to work with in terms of budgeting for the people on your list. Once you have the budget on paper, DeLaney says, “Don’t go over it. It’s simple; if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.”
It’s all about the kids: There’s no doubt that the season of giving is mostly about the kids, but DeLaney says that having a room packed full of presents may not be as meaningful. “Overspending and overbuying just leads to each gift not meaning as much and a sense of overindulgence,” DeLaney says. “I’ve heard some parents say they just give three gifts to each child on Christmas. Many compare it to the three gifts brought to Jesus by the wise men and then go through the true Christmas story as part of their tradition after opening their gifts. What a fun and meaningful way to celebrate Christmas morning.”