If it feels like the holiday shopping season started early this year, it did. In the past, this day traditionally began – on Black Friday. But this fall, retailers have begun to entice shoppers earlier: Amazon, Best Buy and Target, for example, have started offering deals for the holidays or Black Friday in October.
One culprit behind the shift is inflation. With prices of food, energy and other goods up nearly 8 percent from last year, consumers are worried about paying too much. But sellers want customers and have tried to convince the public that their products are affordable. Earlier shopping season, with special promotions, can help get more shoppers in the door.
“If people are cautious about spending, they’re more likely to spend when they see a sale,” said my colleague Nathan Burrow, who writes for the Wirecutter, which has had a product recommendation site for the Times. “And you are responsible for the sellers.”
Time selling is one example of how inflation is changing over time. Today’s Newsletter will be a guide to what users can expect and how they can negotiate higher prices, with the help of Wirecutter.
The discovery works
You will probably see many signs boasting markdown prices if you go shopping today. But of course you’re not getting much.
“Not every sale will be worth your time,” Nathan said. “Yes, there are sales that people can make money from. But sometimes there are sales that aren’t all they are hyped up to be.
In some cases, the item is permanently or frequently depreciated – so much so that it is regularly of less value. Prices for video games, for example, have been cut so sharply that some amusement parks are just waiting for sales. A Lifehacker article captured the sentiment, telling people to “stop paying full price for video games.”
Inflation also complicates matters. Consider a mundane item: a two-pack of tape measures at Home Depot, now on sale for $25. This two-pack, whose price Wirecutter tracked as of 2018, sold for $20 in previous years. So is the $25 price tag really a deal? This compares with the $45 it was selling for a few weeks ago, but is still higher than it was a year or so ago, due to inflation.
Inflation means consumers can expect similar scenarios with product development this year.
However, it deals with existing ones. Nathan’s tips for finding goods in the coming weeks. First, comparison shop: Now that sellers are setting their prices, it’s easy to browse through different outlets to find the best deals. You can also use providers like CamelCamelCamel and Honey to find the latest price cuts.
Nathan also recommended setting up a personal budget for a number of items – a wish list – and a summer budget for shopping sprees. This not only limits how much you spend, but also encourages you to find good deals when you know your total is limited.
“This is very basic,” Nathan said, “but it can save you money.”
More on holiday shopping
Other Big Stories
Sports News from ATHLETICUS
NFL tripleheader: The likes of Minnesota, Dallas and Buffalo will survive the potential Thanksgiving upset feast. All have maintained solid stability in the playoff race, although the Cowboys and Bills will have to play the toughest teams in football down the stretch.
Results: Portugal held Ghana in yesterday’s high profile match, 3-2. Brazil beat Serbia 2-0, Switzerland beat Cameroon 1-0, and drew 0-0 with Uruguay and Korea. Here is a recap.
Genius: He scored both goals to bring Brazil to victory yesterday. Meet Richarlison, Brazil’s new star.
recruits: More than 130 players represent a country other than their country of birth at the tournament. A few of them committed only months before the World Cup.
Matchups: The face-off between the US and England might just be the biggest American soccer game in a decade. The English have not lost to the US since 1993. They play each other at 2 pm Eastern. Here are the other games today and the results.
The adults are in the New York City Ballet’s annual production of “The Nutcracker,” but make no mistake: The children are the stars. The show is a group of young dancers who usually start out as Angels, learn the basics of stage crossing and counting to music, and progress to more advanced roles over the years.
Eleanor Murphy, the 9-year-old playing Bunny, first saw the City Ballet production when she was 3. “I cried after the show because I didn’t want to go home,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to be in ‘The Nutcracker,’ and now I am.” in “Nutcracker.”