When Shopping This Holiday Season, Remember these Tips and Get the Best Deals from the Coupon Mom Stephanie Nelson

More shoppers than ever are taking advantage of the great deals with coupons and codes this season, join CouponMom.com and save big this year!


Marietta, GA - November 24, 2010 -- This holiday season, shoppers should aim to shop strategically and expect to save big. Stephanie Nelson, the Coupon Mom, says there are a lot of deals if shoppers will follow her tips and make a plan.

"It really starts with having a plan and sticking to your budget, " says Nelson, " then be sure and compare prices, use coupons, and follow our strategic shopping tips."

Here are her Top 5 Tips for Holiday Shopping:
1. Plan and Budget: Come up with a holiday gift list and plan. Decide who you need to buy for, what you can afford to spend overall, and divide that among all your gift recipients. Then shop the deals, coupons and savings strategies to stretch the budget. Check the store ads and websites for special "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" deals.

2. Compare Prices: When you are shopping for a specific item, compare prices online before hitting the stores or shopping online. Prices can vary significantly, and an online retailer may offer free shipping and have no sales tax.

3. Be Coupon Savvy: Use coupons to drop the price even further:
--sign up for the email newsletters of favorite retailers and shopping malls to be the first to get special coupons
--follow a retailer's Facebook page to get access to special coupons or limited-time flash sales
--go to an online coupon site like www.CouponMom.com to find coupon codes for discounts and free shipping
--watch the newspaper ads and catalog mailings for in-store coupons

4. Buy discounted or bonus gift certificates to give as gifts or to use to shop for gifts
--go to sites like www.GiftCardGranny.com to buy gift cards for less than face value
--take advantage of bonus gift card offers that many restaurants offer at this time of year to give as gifts (for example, buy $100 worth of gift cards and get a free $20 gift card)
--redeem cash back rebate dollars from credit card programs for bonus gift card values. For example, use $20 of your credit card rebate dollars to get a $25 gift certificate to selected retailers.
--if you are using a gift card to shop for gifts, be sure to combine them with coupons if available

5. Get cash back for your purchases
--if you are shopping online, start by going through a cash back site like Upromise.com that gives you a percentage of the sale price as a rebate in a college savings plan. If you are not saving for college, you can also redeem your rebate account in cash. Or if you have a cash back credit card, shop through the credit card website's shopping mall to get extra rebates on your purchases.

Nelson also offers things to watch out for:
1. Be sure to compare prices, either before you shop or in-store with a price comparison app on your phone. Prices can vary widely, and if you are in a store and another store has a lower price, that store's manager may match the other store's price rather than lose your business.

2. Don't buy extended warranties on electronics. Most electronics' failure rates within a 2 year period are 5% or less, making an extended warranty a very expensive form of insurance.

3. Check prices and find bargains online on Thanksgiving Day. Although more retailers are opening up on Thanksgiving Day instead of waiting for Black Friday, other retailers like Kohl's are committed to giving their employees Thanksgiving Day off to be with their families. However, Kohl's has said that they plan to offer very competitive deals online on Thanksgiving Day, which I'm sure other retailers will be doing too.

4. Don't get caught up in the frenzy of Black Friday and overbuy, which would negate any possible savings. Keep in mind that many retailers are likely to offer clearance prices as the holiday gets closer.

In 2001, Nelson founded her free website, CouponMom.com, committed to helping consumers save money and feed the hungry by increasing food donations to hunger organizations with the Cut Out Hunger program. Her web site now has over 2.9 million members and her new book, The Coupon Mom's Guide to Cutting Your Grocery Bills in Half, is a New York Times' Best Seller.

For more information, go to www.CouponMom.com