Last Minute Shopping Tips and Tricks

How to get the most for your money even on Christmas Eve.

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As they have been all season, retailers are offering incredible discounts today and tomorrow, so procrastinators can get as good deals as those who finished their shopping on Black Friday. Here are three tips to keep in mind:

Retailers are deperate. Growth for the year is expected to come in at a sluggish two percent, so in these last few days of the shopping season, stores are going all out to win your business. Some retailers, including Target, Walmart, and the Gap, are offering deals even more tempting than what you could find a couple weeks ago.  Walmart has put together its list of last-minute gift suggestions with some incredible discounts, including a Garmin GPS device with an mp3 player for $246, marked down from $498.

Consumers are in the driver's seat. The most important thing savvy shoppers can do is comparison shop before setting foot in a store. Consumer electronics are a popular category this year, and the same products are often sold for vastly different prices at different stores. That's why using a website such as can pay off.

So don't be afraid to take control. The second most important thing for shoppers to do is to negotiate. More stores -- even big ones -- are willing to match the prices of their competitors this season, so try asking a store manager if you saw the same product for less elsewhere. While some Alpha Consumer readers have expressed concern about offending sales people, as long as you're polite, you've got nothing to lose.