Shoppers swarm stores for last minute shopping

Economist offers tips for making most out of money

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - Retailers are hoping to cash in on these final shopping days before Christmas.

You can't miss big discount signs and flashy bargains throughout every store.

But economists are offering several tips to help procrastinators stay focused and finally check off their Christmas lists

Kasey Leonhardt says she shops last minute every year. "I spend a lot more money today than I would if I started at the beginning of the month," Leonhardt said.

And that's exactly what store owners count on. But this year, they have six fewer days to make the sale.

"The shortened holiday season has all the retailers and the consumers scrambling to get their shopping done," said economist Jeff Sellers.

Sellers said this year has already proven to be one of the more challenging for shoppers and stores, with fewer shopping days and inclement weather.

"Well the factor this year was the weather. We had three major snow storms that affected the retail sales so far," Sellers said.

So how can you still make the most from your money during these final frenzied shopping days?

"If you don't ask you're not going to get it," Sellers said. He says this year may be one of the first where big box stores are willing to negotiate.

"You wouldn't normally think you'd have the opportunity to haggle at a big box retail, but apparently it's being accepted and being done," Sellers said.

He says try naming your price by using technology. Some smartphone apps can help search for deals, or use the internet to browse store deals before making a purchase.

It's also advised to go in with a plan so that you don't get distracted by enticing discounts, spending money you don't really have.

"Most importantly, just shop around and compare prices. That should get them through the holiday season."

Sellers says if you are going to try to negotiate a price, the check out line is not the place to do it. Speak with a store decision maker, such as a manager, before finalizing a selection to see if there are any negotiable discounts.

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