Halloween is right around the corner, and then the holiday shopping season begins. Somehow, it always seems to sneak up on us and, before you know it, Thanksgiving and Christmas are here. Here are five tried and true tips for shopping during the holidays:

Make a List and Check it Twice

Write down everyone you plan to buy for and list what you plan to buy – even the small stuff. Include your spending limits in this list to help you visualize and stick to your plan.

Do Your Research

If you know what you want to buy but are not sure what the best bang for your buck will be, search for reputable online reviews:

  • Consumerreports.org has expert reviews on just about everything. You will need to pay a small subscription fee, though, so you’ll need to really use it to get your saving’s worth out of it.
  • Check sites with user reviews and ratings like cnet.com or amazon.com, to see which products have the most positive feedback.
  • Use a comparison shopping site. Consumer Reports has a review of the best price comparison search engines and websites that can help you find the one that is both reputable and the best fit for you.
  • Be sure to check out the Federal Trade Commission’s website for helpful information on online price comparison to help you stay informed and safe.

Price Check Before You Buy

Before buying, go online and search store websites and other shopping sites like Amazon to compare prices. When you’re out shopping and come across an item on your list, pull out your smart phone and check around to see how much it’s currently being sold for at other stores.

Start Early

Don’t wait until Thanksgiving to get started. Start watching the stores and online for deals on the items you plan to buy. Contrary to popular belief, not all of the best deals are found during the holidays.

Log Your Spending As You Go

Once you’ve made your list, set a budget, and done some price checking, you’re ready to go. All that is left is to make sure you keep up with what you actually spend as you go. This will help you stay on target with what you plan to spend and help curb the impulse to buy something not on your list.

 

 




While you’re thinking over your holiday plan and getting ready to carve up this Halloween’s pumpkin, check out these fun pumpkin facts:

Types of Pumpkins

There are four main species of pumpkin and hundreds of varieties! Learn more about pumpkins, squashes, and gourds here.

Pumpkins are Good for Your Health

Pumpkins are rich in fiber, which aids digestion and helps you feel fuller for longer. Pumpkins are also a good source of Vitamin C and Potassium. As a bonus, pumpkins are nearly 90 percent water, helping hydration while offering only approximately 50 calories per serving. –source: USDA

The Largest Pumpkin Ever Grown

The largest pumpkin ever grown weighed 2,624.6 pounds (1,190.49 kg)! Mathias Willemijns of Ludwigsburg, Germany, was documented as the grower of this remarkable pumpkin the Guinness World Records in October 2016.

The Origin of the Jack-o’-Lantern

While the first jack-o’-lanterns were not carved form pumpkins, the term jack-o’-lantern dates back to around the 1660s, and the term was used to “describe the visual phenomenon ignis fatuus (lit., "foolish fire") known as a will-o'-the-wisp in English folklore.” It is believed that making jack-o'-lanterns at Halloween began in Ireland during a time when certain supernatural beings roamed the earth and the jack-o’-lanterns are believed to have represented the spirits of these supernatural beings.