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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2013

Should you shop early for Christmas?



By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


Retailers have already begun their push for Christmas extra early this year.

Kmart has now run its first holiday-themed TV ad, which marks the earliest documented television advertising push for Christmas ever, according to an article I read.

And Toys R Us is offering special deals if you shop for Christmas before Halloween. For every purchase made before Halloween, members of their Rewards R Us club will get gift card money to use after Halloween for shopping leading up to Christmas. Toys R Us is also doing full price matching on both online and traditional deals this season -- with the exception of Black Friday week.

So is it good idea to shop this early? That depends. I think Toys R Us is frontloading Christmas to get out ahead of Walmart and Target. Those two titans of retail don't stock their shelves for Christmas until November. So by Toys R Us getting you in the stores in September and October, they have the field to themselves. Of course, Toys R Us has historically been an expensive toy retailer. So watch the price and be sure to use that great price matching offer from Geoffrey the Giraffe & Co.

It's not even October yet, but my family and I have already completed our Halloween shopping. That puts us among a fifth of Americans who have done the same. A survey from Offers.com finds the average family will spend $73 this Halloween versus $69 a year ago.

We already have Foofoo the Pumpkin sitting on our front stoop. And my son has his costume. He's going to be a minion from Despicable Me. We plan ahead and always try to get 2 years out of a costume. So when the costume was too big when he tried it on, we just pinned it back a little and he'll wear it next year too.