RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - While you're thinking of Halloween costumes and candy, it's already obvious retailers want you in the Christmas mindset. The Diva of Discounts explores the phenomena of "Christmas creep" and why you may want to take advantage of it well before Black Friday.
At AC Moore, if you peek past the scarecrows outside you'll see Christmas wreaths 40% off retail. Step into Steinmart, decorations are out plus they're buy one get one half off. Thinking of visiting Santa? Kid's outfits are deeply discounted. The holiday season seems to start earlier and earlier every year.
"It's going to get worse because it is a very important time of the year for retailers," said financial adviser Douglas Alexander.
This isn't new - an ad for Kaybee Toys from 1989 touts Christmas in October. Holiday spending accounts for 20% of the store sales, and that's why Alexander wasn't surprised to see this year's displays up in August.
"Because of the uncertainty of the economy, retailers are starting early," said Alexander.
And if you love those big Black Friday discounts, guess what? Some are already here, but you can find much lower prices if you know when and where to look.
In July, Toys R Us put nonseasonal toys on clearance, 80% to 90% off. I ended up getting $140 worth of toys for less than $30. I fit them into a plain brown box, mark it Christmas and store it incognito in the attic with the decorations..That way I don't forget they are there.
Toys R Us has this year's hot 15 toys on display, but beyond that aisle, there are dozens of other clearance toys all throughout the store. By taking advantage of them now, you stand a better chance of not losing your good deals to credit card interest.
"Get your gifts and pay off the bill by the time the holiday comes," said Alexander. "You don't have that financial stress at the end of the year and it takes a lot of stress off of you."
If you like giving gift cards, pay attention to grocery store flyers. Stores like Kroger and Martin's offer discounts for buying them through their fuel programs several times during the year.