How to Shop Smart & Save This Holiday Season

Xmas shoppingGot your credit cards ready for the holiday shopping season? ?Well, you might want to pay in cash, especially if you keep your gift list budget low.

First, stop making common shopping mistakes.

–Do your research before you hit the stores.
“Impulse buying instead of doing your research. With just a few minutes of research, price comparison, and searching for coupons, you can get significant savings,” says Jon Lal, CEO and founder of online tool for coupons BeFrugal .com.

–Have a strategy: “The worst mistake holiday shoppers can make is to start shopping without a plan. In order to get the best deals, you need to make a list and know exactly where you need to shop and what you need to get at each store. If you head out without a plan, you’ll be stuck in a huge holiday shopping crowd with no clue where to go,” adds Amber Sager, PR associate of Offers .com.

How to save:

–Get the scissors out!: “Search for coupons and coupon codes. Before you shop in the store, search online for printable coupons. If you’re shopping online, make sure to find coupon codes from your favorite deals website before you buy,” says Lal.

–Go online: “The Internet, not the mall, is your friend this year,” says Marlena Sarunac, marketing director of price-tracking site PoachIt .com. ?”The great WWW, used correctly, is pretty magical, and will help keep your spending more organized and limited. With a few Zorro-like clicks of your mouse, you can compare prices, browse customer reviews, and check out product demo videos.”

–Track prices: Build a list and track the products you?re interested in buying. ?”Monitor their prices. And compare coupon codes across merchants. You can find the exact same branded sweater across multiple merchants for different prices and different coupon codes. We often see examples where a merchant offers a product for less money but at a higher shipping cost?It truly pays to do the math,” says Sarunac.

–Get it shipped free: “Take advantage of free shipping. Many stores will offer free shipping when you order online, either during a promotion or if you spend a minimum amount,” advises Lal. This year, Free Shipping Day, when almost every retailer will offer free shipping for Holiday products, will take place on Dec. 18.

–Rack up the points: Buy your gifts with a rewards credit card. “Put money aside right away to pay off your credit card in full, and make your purchases with a rewards credit card. You can earn significant rewards or cash back after all your holiday shopping,” notes Lal.

–Forget the doorbusters:
“Although this year is projected to be a larger quantity of doorbuster products than years past, in PoachIt?s opinion, the Doorbuster products are not worth the frantic crowds,” says Sarunac. “Ultimately, there will be deals right at your fingertips every day of the year?not just on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. It is possible for Christmas to come early for the smart shopper on products they truly want– as opposed to the excess, unwanted inventory that big box merchants are trying to unload.”