There is good news and bad news with a sagging economy.
The good news is since this is predicted to be the worst holiday shopping season in two decades, retailers are starting sales early. The bad news if you wait too long, you won't have much of a selection.
So here's some advice from Jennifer Openshaw of market watch.
Look for the best bargains now, before Thanksgiving. Even Wal Mart is offering big specials now as retailers try to get rid of inventory ordered before the economy went south.
Bargains may last longer on complex products. It's harder to delay production of things like computers or televisions. If the bargains do become fewer and farther between, it's time to buy.
Look for bleeding retailers. Circuit City just filed for bankruptcy. If you here a retailer is hurting, you may be able to haggle on the price of something that's already on sale.
Expect fewer after-holiday bargains. Retailers can pull back on the supply chain faster these days. Many won't want to re-stock items they may not be able to sell by year's end. So, after-holiday shelves may be emptier than usual.
Bottom line: Openshaw says if you're looking for that special item, such as a kid's toy that may be a popular item, buy now because it may not be there after Thanksgiving.