Personal Finance

Web Extra: Four Things to Remember When You're Holiday Shopping

On Friday’s show, we learned to spot true value and the security that comes with making the right money decisions – a skill we all need during the approaching holiday shopping months. Here are my four rules to take shopping with you that bring some value back to your personal economy.

1. Comparison Shop

Comparing a couple retailers is one thing, but these days there is no reason to not pay the lowest price possible. The key: compare all prices. A quick search of the web with a price comparison site like Pricespider.commay reveal a lower price for a gift than simply scanning holiday ads and even scours auction sites for the best deal.

2. Wait For the Deals

Just because retailers are slashing their prices in advance of Black Friday doesn't mean you should buy now. There's a good chance they could end up slashing the prices even more in the weeks that follow. Trust me. We all want to get holiday shopping over. But waiting and watching, as stores continue to cut prices, may be a case where slow and steady wins the race.

Last year my husband and I waited until after January 1st to buy our gift for ourselves – a flat screen – and we saved 40%. Well worth waiting for, especially for big purchases.

3. Black Friday Sneak Peek

Then again, some of you are going to be at store doors at 4 a.m., no matter what. It's a sport! If so, then do your comparison shopping ahead of time. Retailers, for one, advertise their Black Friday deals on their web sites on Thanksgiving Day. And web sites, like will have the same information days before even that.

4. Price Protection Benefit

Deal-a-holics have another weapon at their disposal: a service called "price protection benefit," or "service price guarantee." If you buy a gift, then find that same gift on sale for less, some credit cards will refund you the difference if the store will not.

Naturally, anything that good has got to have a few catches.

For one, not all credit cards do it. So check with your credit company before you begin shopping.

Those companies that do participate usually ask that no more than 60 days pass between purchase and request for a refund.

And lastly, the credit card companies usually cap your refunds at $250 for the year and no more than four requests.