A way to save on the top item this Christmas season

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You can save money on what’s shaping up to be the most common purchase this Christmas if you follow one simple rule.

Retail analysts are unsure what exactly this Christmas is going to look like sales-wise. But they do have a clear indication of the kinds of things people expect to buy as gifts this holiday season.

The NPD Group’s 10th Annual Holiday Retail Outlook identifies the top four gifts:

  1. Clothing
  2. Toys
  3. Books
  4. Movies

This is the Big 4 of Christmas shopping. (I always thought electronics were up there, but only 15% of people say they will buy electronics for others.)

Clothing is something that’s meaningless to me. I only wear shirts that cost single digits. I have one suit and two sport coats. So obviously, I’m not the poster child for fashion. But the problem is that raw materials costs are up, which could make this a pricier year to buy clothes.

The key thing to remember is that prices jump up and down from week to week based on sales cycles. So you can stretch your buck by cherry-picking and only buying what a retailer has on the discount rack at that moment when you’re shopping.

Before you go out to the stores, having a shopping list is key and having a budget is even more important. See my tips for drawing up your holiday shopping list.

Editor’s note: This segment originally aired Oct. 26, 2011



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