This Common Holiday Shopping Mistake Will Cost You

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Although this year’s holiday shopping season is a week shorter than usual, you wouldn’t know it from the way stores are moving Black Friday so far forward that some sales will start before the Thanksgiving turkey is even thawed out.

The good news is this means you have no excuse to wait until the last minute to buy gifts for the people on your list. Chances are, some you will anyway (ahem, guys — looking at you.) But waiting until the weekend before Christmas to do your shopping doesn’t just mean fighting for a parking spot at the mall and being stuck on a checkout line for ages. According to numerous studies, you’ll spend more.

Part of the reason for that appears to be that shoppers buy pricier stuff as December progresses. MasterCard’s monthly SpendingPulse report predicts that with just four days to go before Christmas, jewelry and luxury-goods stores will see their biggest sales.

(MORE: This Year, Black Friday Basically Starts a Week Early—If Not Sooner)

Although MasterCard predicts that Black Friday will be the biggest day for retailers overall, the last Saturday before Christmas has gotten to be such a big deal in some retail categories that it’s been dubbed “Super Saturday.” Last year, a whopping 8% of the year’s jewelry sales took place on that day, according to MasterCard.

It’s most likely guys who are shelling out for all this last-minute bling. According to a new survey from Chase Blueprint and AOL, “Men are much more likely than women to say that they will procrastinate their holiday shopping until the last minute.” While just over a quarter of women are last-mintue shoppers, 44% of men are.

Although a 2012 survey conducted by Visa said men and women both procrastinate, it also found that men who go shopping at the last minute planned to spend an average of $181 more than women.

(MORE: How to Ruin Thanksgiving, an Hour-by-Hour Guide)

It’s likely some of these shoppers think they’re going to score better deals by holding out. MasterCard finds that procrastinators think they’re going to spend less: Last-minute shoppers say they’ll spend an average of $799, while those that plan to finish shopping earlier estimate they’ll spend $55 more, on average.

So, maybe you plan to wait until the last minute, figuring you’re going to outsmart the panic-buying mentality that can set in when there’s nothing left on the shelves in the right size or color. Sorry to break it to you, but if data from last year is any indication, it’s not going to turn out that way.

Visa found that, with less than a week to go before Christmas, almost three-quarters of respondents admitted they weren’t done shopping yet, and these procrastinators planned to spend an average of more than $300 in the final days leading up to Christmas.

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