Move over, Halloween! Many retailers are sliding into the holiday season mode, and with worker and product shortages, shopping is going to be a different experience this time around.
If you want to buy general gifts, like candles or throw blankets, shopping expert Trae Bodge with truetrae.com says you can probably wait for a Black Friday deal.
But, if you're looking to purchase a product on one of those popular "must-have" lists, she recommends you start your holiday shopping now.
"In general, I am advising consumers to get their holiday shopping done on the early side so you're not facing a bottleneck when it gets a little closer to the holidays," Bodge said.
Bodge says that includes getting a head start on the kids' wish lists -- toymakers like M.G.A Entertainment which makes L.O.L dolls told CNN there's going to be a major shortage of toy products this year. Mattel, known for barbie, hot wheels, and Fisher-Price products said it would be raising its prices.
Bodge says if you want a specific item for the holiday and you don't want to pay full price, you can check out https://slickdeals.net/deal-alerts/.
You can also download various browser extensions for cashback or coupons and price drop alerts.
Here are some options:
But, don't rely on layaway this season for budgeting. Most retailers, with Walmart, just joining did away with the program, instead opting for buy-now-pay-later services.
"Take a look at the fine print. Some charge interest, some do not. So, if you can find something that doesn't charge interest, and you have four or five or six months to pay that item off, that's a really good way to alleviate some of that financial outlay for yourself," Bodge said.
As far as the shopping experience goes, a worker shortage continues to plague the country and retail is no exception. Some big-name stores like Kohl's have already started asking for holiday help.
"Given that we have a shortage in general and now we have all of these holiday jobs on top of it, I am worried about what retailers are going to do in this time," she said.
If the lines are too long or the crowds too big, curbside and online shopping are options and bodge believes, those will be popular just like last holiday season.
"Consumers are looking for convenience. They're looking for ways to fit shopping in and ways that work for them."