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Tips for shopping and saving during the Holiday Season

When it comes to holiday shopping, we've all heard the same old tips: start early. Comparison shop. Clip coupons. So here's our present to you: savings strategies that are outside the gift box.
When it comes to holiday shopping, we've all heard the same old tips: start early. Comparison shop. Clip coupons. So here's our present to you: savings strategies that are outside the gift box.

Lynette Pettinicchi loves to shop online, but only makes a holiday purchase when the price is right.

“I visit web sites. I compare them. And then I go through the stores and see who had the best deal.”

Lynette isn’t alone.

Even though holiday sales are expected to increase by 4 percent over last year, experts say shoppers will continue to spend conservatively.

Jeanette Pavini with coupons.com says retailers are responding by unwrapping unique deals and promos.

Combined with savvy shopping strategies, you could save hundreds!

“Any savings is free money and when you look at it in terms of free money, why would you not spend the little bit of time that it takes to find these deals?” Pavini asks. 

Here's a trick - don’t be afraid to haggle online.

If you fill your shopping cart, then virtually walk away, a growing number of retailers will try and lure you back with deals.

“They will send you an e-mail anywhere from 2 hours to 24 hours after you’ve abandoned the cart and offer you some type of an incentive,” Pavini says.

Think free shipping, or up to 20% off.

Lindsay Sakraida with dealnews.com says there is a catch.

“You really do need to have an account with the store so that they know what email address to contact you at,” she says.

Also, keep in mind that popular items could sell out before you’re able to check out.

You can also bargain online via live chat. Many times, a retailer will match a competitor’s price. And be sure to ask…

“Am I missing any deals or discounts? And if they come back and say no, then you say, ‘OK, well can you offer me something?”

A growing number of stores will also let you register for text-based promotions - a hot holiday trend.

Sakraida says they'll clue you in on secret sales and only-for-you offers. You don't know when they'll pop up, but --

“At the very least, when you sign up, you should get maybe 10% to 15% to 20% off just for registering,” says Sakraida.

Finally, consider downloading location based apps like Foursquare and Shopkick.

Sakraida says, “Both of these apps allow you to check-in when you’re physically in a store, and sometimes you can get a special promotion just from being there.”

Lynette recently abandoned her cart of clothes and scored a coupon for 20% off.

“Since the economy is still rough and I am trying to be frugal, it’s definitely a way to save money.”
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