You may still be eating Halloween candy, enjoying fall foliage and drinking pumpkin spice lattes, but the holiday shopping season doesn’t wait for winter to arrive. For example, Black Friday is more than three weeks away, but Amazon already opened a Countdown to Black Friday store, where it’s promoting deals of the day and Lightning Deals for Prime members. Recent deals have included an unlocked 16GB Motorola Moto X smartphone for $200 — or a $10 infrared thermometer. It’s an odd collection of items so far.
These may or may not be the killer deals that are supposed to be the heart of Black Friday, but the seemingly premature sales bring up a good point: It’s never too early to save. Sure, you may not want to think about holiday shopping before you’ve even bought a Thanksgiving turkey, but it actually might make things a little less stressful if you do.
Think about it: If you start shopping now, you can spread out the costs of the holidays over almost two months. If you’re using credit cards, you may even be able to distribute your spending between a couple of billing cycles, keeping your balances and payments lower than if you shopped over a shorter period (assuming you’re paying the balances in full). That’s a good strategy if you’re concerned about how your holiday shopping could affect your credit, because if your credit card balances get too close to your credit card limits, your credit score may suffer. You can see how your credit card spending affects your credit scores by looking at them for free on Credit.com.
Perhaps you’re not ready to start shopping. That’s understandable, but let these early sales serve as a reminder that it’s important to get your holiday budget in order. When considering how much you may spend during the last several weeks of the year, remember to include common costs that come with traveling, hosting or attending parties, socializing and, of course, giving gifts. These annual expenses add up quickly, and while it’s easy to put them on credit cards, keep in mind how long it might take you to pay off the balances and how much you’ll end up paying in interest.
If you’re already in debt, adding to it will only make paying it off more difficult and expensive, not to mention the effect it will have on your credit score. Whether you’re ready or not, it might be time to start shopping the sales and planning for a fun and affordable holiday season.
More on Credit Reports & Credit Scores:
- What’s a Good Credit Score?
- How to Get Your Free Annual Credit Report
- How Credit Impacts Your Day-to-Day Life