7 Money-Saving Tips To Help You Keep More Bank This Holiday Season

Gerri Willis joined Fox Business Network (FBN) in March of 2010. She is the host of The Willis Report (weekdays 5-6PM/ET), a primetime program that covers the leading financial and political stories of the day and their impact on consumers.

Experts say Americans will spend marginally more for gifts over the holidays than they did last year. The National Retail Federation expects spending to rise 4 percent to $617 billion. No matter how much you spend, you’ll probably start the new year hoping you’d spent a little less. Saving money over the holidays takes both patience and persistence. Here are seven tips to help you save:

1. Play The Odds

Last year, the best deals were offered on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Truth is, retailers are so concerned that this year will be another anemic shopping season that they’re priming the pump more than ever before. Forget Black Friday; it’s Black Week, with shopping deals starting super early — like the week before Thanksgiving.

2. Compare Prices

Are you getting the best deal on the purchases you plan to make? Use price-matching apps like PriceGrabber and Google Shopping to get the best deals.

3. Watch For Price Changes

Websites can change prices at any time for any reason; because of that, you’ll want to track prices even after you buy. Websites like PoachIt.com can help. Clear your browser of cookies so website operators can’t predict the price you’re willing to pay, or use retailers that are willing to match prices, such as Walmart.

4. Follow Your Favorite Stores On Social Media

The early bird gets exclusive coupons and early notifications of sales simply by getting on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. Some retailers even use old-fashioned email.

5. Watch For Special Offers From Credit Card Operators

More and more card operators are trying to find ways to capture your attention. Upload their apps.

6. Give Something Personal

My favorite gift to receive is something that the giver thought long and hard about, like homemade brownies or jam.

7. Get The Best Value On Gift Cards

Fees are the name of the game with so many gift cards; skip most of them by buying directly from the retailer. Bank cards can also carry hefty additional fees.