Expert: Best holiday shopping deals available now, not in November

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If you're saving up and holding out for the Black Friday bargains, one expert is suggesting the best deal isn't next month, but right now.

The holiday shopping season is starting even earlier this year.

Denise Rosentreter, Lafayette, is shopping deals for Halloween. "I'm getting a Halloween costume for the dog and some party decorations for our Halloween party," Rosentreter said at her local Target store.

But perhaps more frightening than those spooky decorations were the items lurking in the background: lights and wreaths on display, on October 10th.

"Ugh! Yes! Christmas already," Rosentreter laughed.

She and other shoppers say Christmas, for retail stores, seems to creep earlier every year.

"It's hard to get in the spirit of one holiday when they're pushing another one on top of you," Rosentreter said.

But it's more than décor. Retail experts say deals on toys and electronics will start early this year too. In fact, one market research study found nearly half of stores will roll out holiday campaigns, and sales, before Halloween.

That means forget Black Friday. The time to bag bargains is now.

"The retail season has already begun," said Richard Feinberg, Purdue professor of consumer sciences and retailing.

"In promotions and advertising that begin as early as September, retailers are using key words and phrases that signal holiday shopping for consumers. Door buster sales aren't just for the Friday after Thanksgiving. They're for any Friday in October now."

"I think you do shop earlier because you're afraid it won't be there come Black Friday because if it's out now, seems like people snap up all the deals and there won't be anything left," Rosentreter said.

Part of the reason for the rush to the holiday rush is the calendar. Retailers have one less weekend this year between Thanksgiving and Christmas to capture shoppers' attention.

Some experts say Hoosier shoppers won't be spending as much this year because of unemployment and underemployment.

But that's another reason stores don't want to run out of time. Many are cutting prices now and offering incentives like early layaway, without fees.

Will that strategy work? Rosentreter traditionally waits until Black Friday. Now? "Just maybe on a few items," she said. A fan of the deals, just not necessarily the early date.

"Yeah, let's get the Halloween party over first," she said.