Shop outside and still save online

According to the National Retail Federation, 42.4% of the U.S. population plans to shop for gifts online this holiday season. It's convenient, makes for pain free price comparisons, and saves a good bit of money in sales tax.

Savvy readers have mastered the art of collecting coupon codes online and know never to shop a national retailer's Web site without first checking for discounts.

But there are some things about physically shopping that can't be replaced. The social aspect of spending the day out with family, pairing up with a favorite shopping buddy, and adding lunch or spa visit to make holiday shopping more than just braving the crowds.

For some, visiting boutiques or locally owned and smaller retailers, is a great way to give twice this time of year -- first a gift and second, by supporting a local business that may not otherwise survive.

So it's nice to get these tips from Jaime Lindsay, director of operations for Lindsay spoke to WalletPop and passed along a few tips from her series of videos for Coupon Cabin, a Web site that aggregates coupon codes for approximately 2,000 online stores. According to Lindsay, you can get the best of both online and traditional retail shopping this season.

She suggests bringing a pen or paper (or electronic device) when hitting the malls. Think of the physical trip as the equivalent of online browsing. Enjoy the company or festive atmosphere, and take the opportunity to make a shopping list while in the stores, rather than before. Comparison shop, gather up the coupon codes and order later for less, and from the comfort of home.

As for those mom and pop stores? Lindsay reports smaller retailers have a growing presence online. "Mom and pop retailers are getting a lot more aggressive and participating in sites like ours," said Lindsay. "A lot of the smaller stores might still carry those same items. You still get a coupon and can support a local business."

It's always wise to stay away from people who would trample someone for a $49 Blu-ray player, but it's also nice to get out and enjoy the season. Tips likes these can help keep us safe, happy and saving money.
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