Early holiday promotions don’t usually work on me. I’d like to say that I’m good at planning ahead, but I usually save all my gift shopping for a very stressful Christmas Eve.

This year, I’m starting early. And I’m not alone. About 61 percent of consumers plan to finish holiday shopping by early December, according to CFI group, a retail analytics firm.

Many stores are dangling preseason deals to move the early shopping trend in their favor. You may not be trading your pumpkins for a Christmas tree this week, but it won’t hurt to see what’s on sale ahead of the busy season.

Catch the tail-end of the storewide sale at Kohl’s this weekend for big discounts on apparel for the whole family. Those with a Kohl’s charge card will get an extra 15 percent to 30 percent off their purchases.

Find 25 percent to 50 percent off discounts on women’s apparel by designer lines such as LC Lauren Conrad, Elle Contemporary, Simply Vera by Vera Wang and more.

There are also plenty of good deals to find in the toy section. Toys from Leap Frog and VTech are 15 percent off; Fisher-Price, Playskool and Little Tikes are 25 percent to 30 percent off and art supplies from Crayola and Play-Doh are 30 percent off.

If fine jewelry is in your gift budget this year, Kohl’s collection is especially affordable at 50 to 60 percent off.

If you’re buying a big-ticket item that’s out of your budget this holiday season, consider using a layaway plan instead of a credit card.

Walmart and Toys R Us have waived its layaway fee for the first time in several years. Free layaway is a lot like saving up money in a jar for a big purchase, except the item you want is already stowed away.

You put a down payment of $10 towards the purchase of at least $50, and you can pay it off in increments. If you want to pay it off by Christmas, you’ll need to put it on layaway early.

Good deals on big items at Walmart this week include the Xbox 360 for $179 and Playstation 3 and GoPro Hero 3 camera for $199 each.

Price-matching is the latest weapon for competing retailers, and Toys R Us is arming itself early.

The toy store will match the lowest price on toys sold online by Walmart, Amazon and Best Buy this year.

And until Oct. 31, you can earn 10 percent back on toy and kids’ costume purchases.

Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906, follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail. For more tips, check the Retail Report blog at blog.post andcourier.com/retail-report.