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Holiday shopping techniques that will help you save this season

Maria Mora is a freelance writer and single mom fueled by coffee, questionable time management skills, toaster oven waffles and the color orange. She lives in Florida with her two young sons. If you see her on Twitter, tell her to stop p...

Shop for gifts like a pro

Eager to save money on your Christmas shopping this year? Try these holiday shopping techniques that will save you time and money.

Woman with Christmas gifts

Use price-match guarantees

Due to the competitive holiday shopping season this year, many stores, such as Target, are offering to match prices offered by competitors. What does this mean to you? You can basically pick and choose what you want to pay for the gifts on your list. If you’re extra-crafty, you can combine a lower price with a special offer, such as deals that involve cash back or a gift card back. It takes some sleuthing, but it’s well worth it, especially if you’re able to save on shipping by purchasing at a local store with a price you saw online. Have your smartphone on hand to show the prices offered by a competitor.

Wait for the best deals

Be patient when looking for the very best deals of the season. According to Jon Vincent, founder of CouponGirl, retailers start slashing prices around Dec. 16. “This is when retailers begin to slash prices to help move excess inventory,” Vincent says. “For online shopping, try to do it on December 17th or 18th so your order will get to you before Christmas while still being shipped for free.” Clothes are likely to go on sale in stores at this time, so be prepared to shop in a slightly more hectic atmosphere. Deal-seekers will be on the hunt throughout the week before Christmas, making stores more crowded. Give yourself time to sift through the selection for the best prices.

gift boxBe flexible on gifts

When you’re dead set on a particular gift, you may not find a price that suits your budget. If you give yourself flexibility, such as a category and not a specific item, it’s easier to find a stand-out gift for a great price. With kids, this may be a difficult strategy. Plan on budgeting more for your child’s primary “Santa” gift. When you’re shopping for others on your list, dig for great deals, keeping an eye on sales, coupons and the racks at discount retailers. If you’re looking for something somewhat unspecific, such as a cashmere sweater or a festive scarf, you’ll be more likely to strike gold with a great deal.

More shopping tips

Holiday shopping survival guide
Best apps for the iPhone: Apps for Christmas shopping
Teaching kids to be smart shoppers

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