By Kristine Sorensen

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Before you do any shopping this holiday season, make sure you’re not wasting your money by following three easy steps.

The steps will take just three minutes to make sure you get the best price on almost everything.

Step No. 1: Whether you’re braving the stores or scanning cyberspace for your holiday shopping, first, make sure you’re getting the lowest price.

Lots of websites do the hard work for you by comparing prices. They’re called shopping bots.

“You may save a few dollars on small items, but on big items you literally could save hundreds of dollars,” Lisa Freeman from Consumer Reports said.

Some of the best include Shopzilla,, NexTag and PriceGrabber.

“I like PriceGrabber because you can sort in any way you like and compare the price head-to-head at dozens of merchants, find out the total price including shipping, find out if there’s sales tax included, whether shipping is free, and you can also read user reviews of these sites that people are buying from,” Consumer Reports expert Tod Marks said.

If you’re looking for a GPS unit, go to PriceGrabber and type in “GPS” into the search box.

For the Magellan Road Mate, it shows the prices for 18 merchants and “your best price” is $149.99.

That’s a big savings over the highest price listed of $303 plus $23 in shipping.

It also shows that you can get free shipping at that best price.

Step No. 2: Once you find the lowest price, see if you can get it even lower with a promo code, which is like an online coupon.

Just go to Google, and type in the words ‘promotion code’ and the name of the website where you’re shopping and you’ll often find what’s offered for different items.

Step No. 3: Make sure you get free shipping.

This year, even more stores are offering free shipping, and Walmart upped the ante when it announced free shipping on electronics and many other items.

If the store doesn’t offer it, call and ask how you can get it, especially if you have the store’s credit card.

“Others might only get free shipping on a day here or a day there or with a minimum purchase requirement, but people who have the card are often qualifying for free shipping unconditionally,” Marks said.

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