For many people there is a real disconnect between the seasons and spending money. Many folks after all are just recovering from the double sting of back-to-school shopping and summer vacations. Spending money, especially with the holidays fast approaching, isn’t on the to-do list.
But you might want to check that at the door. I would humbly suggest that November and December are the time to give your credit cards a break — and that right now represents the best time to fill Santa’s sleigh.
It is a secret retailers don’t really want you to know: late September through the end of October are the worst selling times of the year for most retailers.
It doesn’t matter what kind of retailer we’re talking about either: apparel folks hate it because nothing is really in season. Electronics sellers can’t stand it because many save their toy buys for November and December. Online venues such as eBay and Amazon and others don’t have much of anything to promote during these dull eight weeks of the year. They know shoppers are merely kicking tires, doing “research” for when they do want to click and spend.
Even car sellers can’t stand this time of year because nobody wants to drive a new car with the winter months ahead. It has always been this way and it likely always will.
Perhaps that is why the media every year sees “door-buster” events traditionally associated with Black Friday and November as the height of craziness. Retailers are just as nuts for the crazy crowds as shoppers.
What it is really means is that the savvy shopper should be out there right now — and asking for discounts if they don’t see them. Retailers will bite. Here are five reasons to get out there now and make your holidays purchases now:
1. Prices will never be this low in November and December.
Retailers have on thing to accomplish in November and December: make money. Some think they are about selling more and that’s a mistake. They are about making more. Retailers plan for the months of November and December all year because that is when they know shoppers will be out in force. You’ll see deep displays but shallow discounts. They buy knowing people have to spend. And that is how profit is made.
The mentality is completely different in September and October. They are focused on making room for the Christmas stuff. That means the old stuff has to go. They have also already made their money from the other months of the year. There is nothing left to do but to clear it out. They know that the higher-priced new stuff coming in is going to look bad against the older models that are just as good but priced lower. It has to go. Many want to make a deal right now. Ask for it.
2. Model changes means lower prices.
In some industries the model year changes just before the holiday shopping season. Again, this is a mentality thing. Folks know the kids will want to latest and greatest under the tree. So you’ll see new packages, new model numbers and even a few critical new features especially on electronics in November and December. That means the old stuff of September and October has a really short shelf life.
The truth is that a television is still a television. The stuff on the shelves now IS state of the art. Go get it. Just because it lacks next year’s expanded memory or extra timer doesn’t mean its main functions are any less. It can only be cheaper.
3. Closeouts make even stocking stuffers a bargain.
Christmas shopping now means a more organized approach. It is less urgent, more particular, and more carefully thought-out. Some could argue that shopping now makes for a more meaningful gift. But let’s not get too fancy with all this. Christmas shopping now is all about the money.
And everything is cheaper now: candy, tooth paste, socks, candles, table ware, clothing, tools, home decor, — you name it. It is all cheaper.
Because tax decisions are made now. Manufacturers will raise prices in the 4th quarter to make up for profit shortfalls. Retailers tighten margins heading into Christmas because there are financial goals to meet. And while old stock on the shelves means dollars going to waste the new stuff coming in has to be sold at a higher price. Many, if not most, retailers raise prices overall in November.
4. Saving now means saving later, too
Your shopping mentality is different in October and November. You are there to save money and what else will there be to do in November and December than to gloat about it? Adopting the “shop now” mentality means you simply cannot go out and spend money when the masses do.
This opens you up to the real bargain times of Christmas shopping. When are those times?
Just before Christmas — and right after. Why buy your gift wrap the week before Christmas for full price when you can get next year’s for less than half the price the day after Christmas. Ask around. Chances are you know someone who has already figured this out.
But the deals won’t be just on seasonal stuff.
A great exercise for the savvy shopper who completes Christmas before November is the evidence they can see of retailers’ troubles the week before Christmas. If you see a giant display of anything sitting in a store the week before Christmas something is seriously wrong. A buyer blew it, the weather kept shoppers away, a bit of bad news kills sales of a certain product — there is always some reason it happens. But it happens. And the savvy shopper can benefit.
5. Savoring November and December
The best reason to go out and spend now is that getting ti completed isn’t only just cheaper it means you’ve got time for other things in November and December. Like spending the holidays with family or attending events or just feeling organized. Doing this means you’ll be able to savor the sights, smells and flavors of the season. You’ll be not only smart — but happy.