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LONDON - DECEMBER 10: Shoppers walk down Oxford Street during American Express Shop West End VIP Weekend on DECEMBER 10, 2011 in London, England. West End stores predict £180m sales today with 1m shoppers spending on fashions and gifts. Over 50,000 'early bird' shoppers were out in London's West End by 8.30am this morning for a bumper Christmas shopping day, as the West End removed all traffic on Oxford Street and Regent Street to make way for festive shoppers for the 7th American Express Annual Shop West End VIP (Very Important Pedestrian) Weekend. (Photo by Samir Hussein/Getty Images For Shop West End VIP Weekend)

No matter how much the Thanksgiving Stans complain, there’s no denying that the holidays are upon us. The decorations are out and that the shopping has begun. If you’re amongst the many getting an early jump on their holiday gift buying, here are some tips from retail experts on getting the biggest bang for your buck.

  • Review price-matching policies. Shopping analyst Gabrielle Pastorek says stores usually pause their price-match guarantees around Black Friday, but since this year is anything but “usual,” it’s worth looking into whether some shops have theirs going. Since you’re getting a headstart on your shopping, you’ve got plenty of time to review policies and take advantage of any chance to make retailers compete for your business.
  • Opt for previous-generation tech. Thinking about buying a special someone an iPad? Do you really think they’re going to call you out if it wasn’t made in 2020? Take some advice from consumer analyst Julie Ramhold and save some cash by purchasing earlier generations of gadgets.
  • Collect cashback. Money-saving expert Andrea Woroch highly recommends you “make sure you are maximizing cashback with your card and use cash-back apps to get even more back on your purchases.” Check out what deals you’ve got on your credit card and look into cash-back apps like Rakuten or Swagbucks to see if you’re missing out on free money.
  • Consider DIY gifts. Budgets are tight this year so consider going DIY to save some money. And don’t worry if your crafts aren’t Etsy ready. Ramhold suggests “baking something nice for your recipients, or even putting together a small care package with winter favorites like hot chocolate, marshmallows, and candy canes along with a festive mug.” It’s affordable, it’s a nice gesture, and you won’t have to worry about that guilty feeling of showing up empty-handed.