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    Why You Should Start Your Holiday Shopping Now

    Waiting for the deep discounts on Black Friday might not be the best money-saving strategy.

    You might be making a costly mistake if you plan to wait until Black Friday — the day after Thanksgiving — or even December to start your holiday shopping. Sure, plenty of retailers offer great discounts on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the weeks leading up to Christmas. But consumer-spending experts say that there are several reasons to start your holiday shopping now.

    You can spread out your gift-shopping budget. Rather than deal a major blow to your budget by cramming all of your holiday shopping into one month, you can lessen the impact by spreading out your purchases over several weeks, says Trae Bodge, senior editor of coupon site RetailMeNot.com. Crafting a gift list now with dollar limits for each purchase also can help you figure out whether you need to cut back on other expenses over the coming weeks to avoid going into debt to fund your holiday shopping.

    You have more time to locate deals. Three in five consumers plan to shop on Black Friday, according to the Valpak 2013 Holiday Research survey, when many retailers have big sales. But you often can find great deals on many items before the long Thanksgiving weekend, says Lynette Rice, founder of CleverlySimple.com.

    A lot of stores already are releasing Black Friday ads with sale prices or lists of items that will be on sale. Rice says that she checks…

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