As your Smart Shopper, it's my goal to help you save money.
I know -- it's not even Halloween yet, but we need to talk about holiday shopping. It's vital to plan now if you're buying gifts so you don't run into inventory issues or shipping delays. Or shipping deadlines and surcharges.
Sarak Skirboll, the shopping and trends expert at RetailMeNot, a website known for its online coupons and codes, shared their recent survey findings.
Not only are more people planning to shop online this year, but what they're shopping for is different.
"So, in the past, we've seen the rise of experiential gifts. Things like going to the spa, cooking classes, travel, and concert tickets. That's not happening this year." Sara said. "What we're seeing this year are going to be the rise of tangible gifts. Think electronics, clothing, shoes and accessories."
Themed gifts will also be popular, such as helpful items for those working from home or schooling from home.
Nearly 40% of people surveyed said they would begin their holiday shopping at the beginning of October.
It's also in your best interest to do that as well. Currently, there are plenty of holiday deals available.
Amazon Prime Day is October 13 and 14 -- and it has some competition this year. Target is offering "Deal Days" on October 13 and 14, the same day as Amazon's yearly Prime Day.
Walmart is launching its "Big Save Event" on October 11, which runs through October 15.
Plus, RetailMeNot has its own "Cashback Day" on November 5 and 6 to help shoppers find deals and save money while shopping.
But, what about Black Friday? Should you wait?
here is something to consider. More and more retailers will be closed on Thanksgiving.
"What's interesting about the Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving, [the] "Turkey 5" as insiders call it, is that people will be shopping more and more online. In fact, 75% of people will do the majority of their shopping online, and furthermore, 88% of people said they will not be shopping door-buster sales on Thanksgiving. So, no more getting up at 4 a.m.," Skirboll, with RetailMeNot, said.
Experts say if you want to save, it's best to start your shopping early. Stick to a budget. Make a list, and check it twice.
Sara also recommended that people install a browser extension to help automatically find coupon codes. "DealFinder is a fantastic one. It's going to automatically apply coupon codes and cashback offers right at checkout saving you time and money," she said.
We've told you about that tip before. Click here to see other browser-extension options.
And of course, know what days to shop. Research is key.