Christmas shopping in October? Why Black Friday may be too late this year

I suffer from a condition known as “male brain.” One of the symptoms causes me to think that I can wait until the last minute to do my shopping. Growing up, I remember shopping with my dad at the mall on Christmas Eve. We, along with a large number of other men suffering from the same condition, scrambled to find last-minute gifts for the wiser family members in our lives, who completed their shopping by Black Friday.

This year, Black Friday may be too late to complete your holiday shopping. Due to supply chain and inventory issues along with labor shortages and increased cost of goods, shopping will be much more challenging than in 2020. According to Salesforce, Retailers in the United States will face an estimated $223 billion more in cost of goods sold compared with last last year. Inevitably, some of these costs will be pushed onto shoppers. Deloitte expects shoppers to spend nearly 10% more this year on holiday shopping.

In addition to lower inventory and higher costs, experts predict fewer sales, even on Black Friday. Further, many sellers will start sales early to attempt to get ahead of competitors. This strategy put into practice for a different holiday saw Home Depot sell out of Halloween décor in August.

Worse than declining sales, buyers will need to pay extra to get items on time due to fewer free and expedited shipping options. If buyers wait too long, they will not be able to find certain gifts or will have to pay far more than they anticipated.

Your best option to survive this holiday season is to (1) plan ahead and (2) budget your spending. First, avoid “male brain” last-minute shopping and just get it over with. The longer you wait the harder and more stressful this year’s holiday shopping will be.

Second, set yourself a budget for gift shopping. This time of year it is easy to fall into the trap of overspending, especially with 0% credit cards, layaway options, and similar options being thrown at you from every direction. As Dave Ramsey says, “Act your wage.” Do NOT put yourself in debt just to buy a gift. As a society, we tend to focus too much on consumerism. In my Kakeibo article, I mentioned that the Japanese look down on flashy consumption as a culture, which helps them avoid lifestyle spending. Set yourself up for future success by not overspending this year.

Therefore, this year you should set a budget and start shopping now; otherwise, you are going to suffer the extra costs of “male brain” this Christmas season.

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