Before you know it, the holidays will be upon us, and we’d best be fully stocked up on all that we need well in advance. Due to supply chain issues, shortages across a variety of categories are anticipated. But can you shop early and still save? You absolutely can. You just have to know where to shop.
With generous insight from retail and savings experts, we compiled a list of the stores offering the best deals on food, gifts and just about everything else you need to deck the halls this merry season.
“Kroger likes to do buy more, save more promotions, so if you need things like butter, cream of chicken or mushroom soups, eggs, half and half, heavy cream, dip mixes, bakery mixes, veggies and more, watch for promotions where you can buy a certain amount and save on each item,” said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst at DealNews. “For instance, they might have a ‘buy 10, save 50 cents’ on each promotion that covers a wide variety of products so it’s not hard to meet the minimum in order to take advantage of these deals.”
“In the past, the retailer has offered 20 cents off gas for every $50 spent on gift cards, but last year they changed to a points system,” Ramhold said. “Now shoppers can spend $50 on Happy gift cards, which cover a variety of retailers and restaurants, depending on which one you buy, and you’ll earn one perk for every $1 spent. Then, for every 50 perks you earn, you’ll receive 10 cents off gas or 2% off groceries. If you’re going to be road tripping for the holidays, this is a great way to help cut the cost of gas overall.”
“Shop the weekly sales on Wednesday and stash items away for later,” Ramhold said. “You can expect to save up to 50% off in some cases, but the biggest problem with Aldi is that they have limited space and their seasonal items are only around for a limited time.”
If you have the room, it’s best to stock up on a variety of items in the weeks leading up to the holidays.
“Prices are pretty amazing on Aldi’s own brands, but most of the time you should skip name-brand products,” Ramhold said. “For instance, Aldi will carry name-brand candies and cookies, which might sound like the perfect products for a dessert board for a holiday party; however, you won’t find any savings on the Oreos and Reese’s Trees at Aldi. Instead, opt for their own brands of cookies and candies.”
If you are in a last-minute pinch for grocery items, head over to Publix.
“Shop the week before or of the holidays to save half off on treats,” Ramhold said. “The great thing about shopping at Publix is that they really believe in BOGO offers, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy multiples to get the savings. For instance, Publix often has Ben & Jerry’s pints for BOGO free, but if you opt to buy just one, you’ll just pay half price. They split the cost of the item for the offer, so you can still save even if you don’t want to — or don’t have the room to — stock up.”
Ramhold added that these kinds of offers will extend to other kinds of items too, sparkling water and sodas, too. Just be sure to read the fine print in the Publix ads.
“Sometimes the item pictured isn’t the only thing the offer will apply to, so even if you aren’t interested in what’s pictured, you may have more options,” Ramhold said
Target and Best Buy
“Target’s new Holiday Price Match Guarantee says you can get a price adjustment on any item purchased from Oct. 10 through Dec. 24 that goes on sale at Target afterwards,” said Andrea Woroch, budgeting expert. “Meanwhile, Best Buy’s “Black Friday Price Guarantee” promises to refund the difference in price in the event you buy something marked as a doorbuster and it goes on sale further between now and Nov. 26.”
To keep track of prices, Woroch recommends using browser extensions like Karma monitor product prices for you.
“Just create a list of products you want the tool to track and it will alert you in the event they detect a price drop,” Woroch said.
“One popular promotion Kohls is known for is their Kohl’s cash that you can earn by spending a certain amount of money and is good toward a future purchase,” Woroch said. “What I like most about Kohl’s cash is that you can spend it up to the amount of the voucher and there is no minimum spend required; therefore, if you receive $10 Kohl’s cash, you can buy something for $10 and walk out with essentially a free item.”
“Amazon is of course going to have a ton of deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as well as for the holiday season in general,” Ramhold said. “However, it usually shines when it comes to its own brands and devices. Watch for Echo devices, Fire TVs and TV Sticks, and Fire tablets to see incredible discounts especially. Some may see 50% off, while others could be more modest, but items like the Echo Dot will probably see huge price drops.”
“While the retailer’s official Black Friday sale starts on Nov. 26 and runs until Nov. 28, shoppers will have the whole month to score savings on those just-can’t-wait, must-have items,” said BlackFriday.com‘s shopping expert, Kristin McGrath. “Following the shop-early trend of 2021, JCPenney will be hosting weekly deals and doorbusters — featuring products at Black Friday prices — in-store and online, starting Nov. 1.”
“Starting Nov. 3, Macy’s is giving shoppers a chance to start their gifting journey early and avoid the stress of shipping delays with its Black Friday Early Access sale,” McGrath said. “Each week, a new selection of deals will be released where shoppers can enjoy unbeatable deals with an updated assortment of specially curated items. Shoppers can access all Macy’s Black Friday specials from Nov. 23-27 via online, the Macy’s app or safely in-store (deals only accessible online on Thanksgiving Day).”
“As you would expect, Dell’s Black Friday ad, covering its ‘biggest sale of the year,’ includes several deals on laptops, desktop computers, gadgets suitable for gifting like headphones, speakers and fitness trackers and more,” McGrath said. “With sales starting as early as Nov. 15, BlackFriday.com shopping experts urge shoppers to not wait too long to make their move on any hot ticket items that have the potential to sell out quickly.”
More From GOBankingRates