How to find deals on holiday gifts

Is it better to shop online or in-store? And what should you avoid buying this year?

NBC Universal, Inc.

Some holiday shoppers wait until the last minute, while others might already have their strategy plotted out. No matter your shopping style: you'll want tips to help you get the most for your money

Shopping experts say many people started buying items on their holiday lists earlier this year and spent more in October than in years past.

Economist Alexis Rivera said there are some things to keep in mind while holiday shopping. The first one is interest rates, which are high right now.

“Think twice before buying a car or buying home appliances,” Rivera said.

So maybe skip those big-ticket items as gifts.

Analysts predict interest rates will drop in the second half of 2024, Rivera said, so hold off until then on those big-ticket purchases if you can. For that same reason, credit cards should be avoided.

Whether you’re shopping in-person or online, retailers will likely offer you special financing promotions, but before jumping on them, make sure you can handle the payment plan.

“We always think of credit as an extension of our income but it’s not,” Rivera said. “It’s actually using the income of the future.”

Before you buy anything in-store, shop around online. More and more retailers are fighting over customers who prefer to shop online, so you may find the best deals and even free shipping as they compete for your attention.

“You could always find a cheap price all year long, but I feel that everyone really focuses on Cyber Monday because that’s what they're really pushing,” Rivera said.

If in-store shopping is just your thing, you may still find good deals at shopping centers and malls. More families are once again enjoying this experience post-pandemic, and stores are taking notice.

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