Outside the 'gift box' saving strategies

Published On: Nov 15 2012 06:51:48 AM EST
Updated On: Nov 15 2012 07:45:00 AM EST

We all love to save, especially around the holidays.  We all know to start shopping early, comparison shop and clip coupons.  But we have some other simple ways to save that maybe you've never tried.

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," she said.

Pettinicchi is not alone.  Even though holiday sales are expected to increase by four 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?" said  Pavini.

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,” she said.

Think free shipping or up to 20 percent 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,” said Sakraida.

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

Pavini says don't be afraid to haggle online.  You can bargain via live online chat.  Many times a retailer will match a competitor's price. 

And Pavini says 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. 

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

Finally, consider downloading location-based apps like foursquare and shopkick.

“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,” said Sakraida.

Pettinicchi recently abandoned her cart of clothes and scored a coupon for 20 percent off.

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

Another way to save, if your local warehouse store can legally sell alcohol, you reap the benefits without the membership.  Pavini says buy a gift set and divide it up for multiple gifts.

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