Deal Pros offer savvy holiday shopping tips

November 12, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Before you start spending on Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the other big days, planning, strategizing and research can help you save money when you hit the stores. is hosting a convention in Chicago this weekend with the nation's most savvy shoppers, called "Deal Pros."

Maria Triongco Ramos is a local Deal Pro also known for her website

This holiday season, she says that if there is something you must have, you should get it early.

"Get that now, but save your receipts, because if the price goes lower, some stores offer a price match, so you can bring in your receipt and get the difference, or if you do find it lower somewhere, you can return the product and get it at the lower deal," said Ramos.

Ramos says that shoppers do not have to wait for Black Friday to see many of the great deals that make that day a shopping sensation.

"A lot of the stores are offering Black Friday deals this month, so if anybody's planning to go shopping this weekend, they will probably get some good deals," said Ramos.

There will be deals at the stores, but online shopping is a favorite of some Deal Pros.

Mir Kamin of, who frequently forgoes traditional store shopping in favor of online retailers, recommends stacking coupons with credit card reward offers to maximize savings.

"They also have the bonus rewards where I can redeem my points for more money back, I give them 20, they give me 25, then I go through their portal, I get 5 percent back on that purchase, along with my bonus dollars, plus I use a coupon, plus I use a certain sale, so at the end, you've stacked all of these things on top of each other and you've gotten a really good price," said Kamin.

Kamin also says that social media will be a key for the thrifty. She suggests friending and following your favorite retailers.

"They are going to put out codes and specials that are time sensitive so if you see it now for the next two hours, this is a deal that's only for our Twitter followers, if you see this now, this is a deal that's gonna happen tomorrow only for our Facebook friends," said Kamin.

Whether you shop online or in person, expert shoppers suggest starting shopping early and doing plenty of research.

"We're seeing the same discounts we saw last year - 25 to 30 percent off on average, sometimes more, sometimes less depending on the merchant," said Loren Bendele of "So do your homework, do your research, don't buy anything without checking to see if there is a deal available first."

Many retailers also offer early Black Friday sales, which means it can be valuable to check your favorite stores and see if they are offering an early sale.

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