With Halloween behind us and Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, the holiday shopping season is drawing near. When it comes to purchasing gifts for those in your life that mean the most, finding the perfect gift can be tricky and time consuming. While some items on your list will be better bought closer to the actual holiday, others might be bargain deals you want to rush out to get on Black Friday, and still others will be best purchased somewhere between those two time periods.

Black Friday: Gadgets, Gizmos, and Good Shelf Life Items

If you’re purchasing bulky or more expensive items such as electronics or designer fashion products you might want to consider getting them early so you can get the best prices on these items. While there are the obvious Black Friday purchases such as television sets and MP3 players, even items such as cosmetic sets or designer jeans can be good Black Friday bargains for the savvy saving shopper.

Early to Mid December: Stock Up On Stocking Stuffers

Smaller gifts and stocking stuffers are often something that can be put off until the last minute, but in order to avoid sold-out shelves and the scramble to replace the perfect gift with a not-so-perfect substitute, you’ll want to buy some of these items earlier. Soap and shower sets, a bottle of wine, or even decadent chocolates can be a great gift to stick in somebody’s stocking for the occasion, and can even make a great gift for an office friend or colleague. But since it does make such common gifts they’re likely to sell out early. That’s why shopping ahead of time is in your best interest.

Last Minute Gifts: Filler Items and Gifts With Expiration Dates

While you don’t want to wait until the last minute to do all your shopping, there are certain gifts for which it is acceptable, if not encouraged. For instance, a wine and cheese basket, floral arrangements, and baked goods are all items that are going to have very limited lifespans. These are things you’ll definitely want to get or order for delivery within just a day or two of the Holiday. And, despite our best efforts, we all have also been in the situation of swinging by the store for a few last-minute filler gifts such as lotion sets or gift cards.

No matter when you’re planning to do your shopping, making a game plan ahead of time is always in your best interest. With a plan and these guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to a successful, stress free shopping season!