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 websites, I compare them and then I go through the stores and see who had the best deal," she said.

Pettinicchi 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 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?" she said.

Pavini says 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 email anywhere from 2 hours to 24 hours after you've abandoned the cart and offer you some type of an incentive," Pavini said.

Think free shipping, or up to 20 percent off.

Lindsay Sakraida with 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," Sakraida said.

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 questions.

"'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?'" Pavini said.

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 percent to 15 percent to 20 percent off just for registering," she said.

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," Sakraida said.

Also, if your local warehouse store can legally sell alcohol, you can reap the benefits! Pavini says buy a gift set and divide it up for multiple hostess gifts.

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