Simple ways to save money on your holiday shopping

Christmas will be here in precisely 45 days, which means despite the fact that we haven't even gotten through Thanksgiving, the holiday shopping bonanza is officially underway. Don't panic: it's not like you need to run out and buy all your presents right this minute, but if you keep this deadline in the back of your head over the next few weeks, and employ some of the following deal-hunting guidelines, you can cross everyone off your list with minimal stress (and cash output).

Comparison Shop. Once you narrow in on what you want, devote a couple minutes to scouting out pricing for said item online, before spending the time, effort, gas, etc. heading to a bricks-and-mortar store to buy it. You may be able to find it at a discount on the internet, with the added convenience of having it delivered to your doorstep.

Sign Up And Save. To get a heads-up on sales and promotions your favorite stores are offering, go to their websites and sign up for their email mailing lists (if you're worried about clogging your inbox, it may not be a bad idea to create a new email account just for this purpose). Many offer special coupons just for those who subscribe to their distribution lists.

Search For Coupons. Many retailers offer coupon codes, and all it takes is a few seconds of Googling to track them down. Type the name of the store/website followed by "coupon code" in the search box and mine the results for discount codes you can enter at checkout. You can also go directly to coupon sites like and for your search.

Make The Most Of Your Mall. Many malls sell coupon booklets (usually available through the mall's website or the their main information/customer service booths-they generally cost somewhere between $5-$10, but they usually pay for themselves (and then some) even if you just redeem one or two of the discounts.

Buy In Bulk. You can often save a ton by shopping en masse. Take advantage of the "Buy X, Get X Free" incentives different stores are running (now more than ever as we approach the holidays) to not only save money, but cross multiple people off your list.

Ask For Refunds. If you buy something now, only to realize it's on sale a couple weeks later (which is entirely possible with all the Black Friday deals that are about to kick in), remember it never hurts to ask for a price adjustment. You might be surprised by how accommodating stores can be.

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