As we enter the last few months of the year, the holiday season is coming up faster than ever. That means more time with family and friends, sharing meals, and making memories. And, of course, it often means holiday shopping.
Holiday shopping can be fun, but it isn’t always easy. Even when we can do it without leaving home. This year in particular, holiday shopping is providing some new challenges that many of us may not have faced before. But getting a head start on your shopping can help curb some of those challenges.
Here are four reasons you should start your holiday shopping early this year.
1. Avoid Supply Chain Issues
Here’s a reason you should shop early that’s unique to 2021. This year, supply chain issues are impacting retailers in the U.S. and around the world. In many years, October is when retailers are gearing up for the holiday rush, placing orders for stock shipments to their warehouses in anticipation for customer orders.
But this year, there is a high volume of shipping and supply bottlenecks. And it’s causing retailers to panic. In fact, many consumers in the U.S. have already noticed longer-than-usual wait times and other issues with their orders.
According to a Gallup poll in August, here were the shipping and supply issues Americans were facing:
- 60% said they were unable to get a product they wanted in the previous two months due to product shortages.
- 57% said they experienced significant delays in receiving their orders.
- 70% said they had experienced at least one of these issues.
- 46% had experienced both of these issues.
With the holiday rush upcoming, this isn’t likely to improve. But one of the best ways to minimize these inconveniences is to be proactive and start your shopping early. Whether you experience significant shipping delays, or an item you want is simply out of stock, having more time to prepare for these unexpected circumstances can lead to a better holiday shopping experience.
2. Curb Financial Stress
Are the holidays really the “most wonderful time of the year” It may depend on who you ask. Visits with family and friends, holiday travel, sharing meals, and the promise of a new year can be exciting and give us something to look forward to. For many people, it really is the best time of the year.
But at the same time, it can also be very stressful. On top of the shopping lists and holiday events to attend, there’s also the financial impact. And that may be even more true if you’re traveling to visit family.
In fact, a Marcus by Goldman Sachs study showed that 50% of Americans find the holidays the most financially stressful time of the year. Gift-giving, travel, holiday meals and more can all add up. If you haven’t worked these holiday expenses into your budget, you might feel like your wallet is really taking a hit. And even if you have budgeted, it can still feel like a shock when all your expenses are hitting at once.
Starting your holiday shopping early can not only help soften the blow and spread out your expenses over a few months rather than in just a week or two. And it can also give you time to look for deals that may not be available as the holidays get closer. By planning ahead, you’ll likely be able to find ways to save money on holiday gifts. Even if the savings seem small, they can really add up and help you stay within your budget.
3. Choose More Thoughtful Gifts
While it may not always be easy to put into practice, most of us know this to be true: Procrastination is rarely the best course of action.
And financial stress isn’t the only type of stress that many people face during the holidays. Just trying to get everything done is difficult enough on its own. When you have a long list of people to shop for, especially, it just feels like another thing you have to do.
But getting started with your holiday shopping early can give you the time you need to find gifts that your loved ones will appreciate and enjoy. When you’re in a rush because it’s a week before the holidays and you haven’t gotten your sister anything yet, you may not make the best decisions -- financial or otherwise. While gifts are not the most important part of a relationship, they can go a long way to show someone how much we care.
When you take the time to thoughtfully consider the people in your life, what they want and/or need, you’ll likely feel more confident and less stressed in your holiday shopping.
4. Have More Time for Wrapping … And Other Things
Once you’ve found that perfect gift for that special someone, you’re not out of the woods yet -- you’ve still got to wrap it. Now, what about when you’ve found that perfect gift for that special someone … but it’s actually three gifts each for 15 someones?
Putting off your holiday shopping until the last minute means you’re also putting off your wrapping until the last minute. And when you’re surrounded by family with the kids home from school, the last thing you’ll want to do is spend a few hours locked in a room with all the gifts and mounds of wrapping paper, tape, and ribbons.
Start shopping early and you’ll have plenty of time to wrap gifts when you have the time over the next few months. That way, it doesn’t become an even bigger headache.
On top of that, getting your shopping done early means you’ll have time for other things as the holidays approach. Whether it’s an old friend making an unexpected holiday visit to your hometown, a company holiday party, or something else, not worrying about the stress of shopping means you’ll be open to say “yes” to other things.
Academy Bank Is Your Financial Partner Year-Round
No matter what time of year it is, Academy Bank is committed to serving you and your family. We’re proud to be your financial partner year-round.