How to save money while holiday shopping

Posted: Updated:

 PHOENIX -- 'Tis the season for shopping and retailers have rolled out all kinds of programs designed to lure you in and spend those hard-earned dollars.

Shopping-trend and consumer-saving expert Andrea Woroch says some of those sales gimmicks can actually save you money -- if you know where to look.

One of the trends is price matching plus. The battle for your business is fierce, which is why many stores will match the competition's prices and give you an extra percentage off. A little research in this area can save you big bucks.Comparison shop and ask about price matching. Also, try negotiating.

According to a recent Consumer Reports survey, those who negotiated last holiday season saved and average of $82, making it well worth the effort.

The second trend is extended no-interest loans. The key here is to pay off the balance before the no-interest period, which can be up to six years in some cases, is up. This can be a good option if you're buying an expensive item that would rack up interest charges. Think carefully, though, because late payments could spark high interest rates and fees and hurt your credit in the long run.

The third big trend is free stuff. Don't be afraid to ask what you can get for free. Many retailers are offering free gifts cards with products and purchases. Free shipping is also a big thing this season. According to the National Retail Federation, more than 90 percent of retailers will offer free shipping during the holiday season.

There are all kinds of shipping coupons and codes at FreeShipping.org. Also, mark your calendar for Dec. 16. That's Free Shipping Day when many retailers will not only offer free shipping, they'll guarantee delivery by Christmas Eve.

Finally, mobile commerce and social shopping are on the rise. There are apps galore, as well and special incentives, discounts and deals if you like a store's Facebook or follow it on Twitter.