While Black Friday is the best-known go-to day for shopping after Thanksgiving, Cyber Monday has slowly started to transform into a much easier, safer way to do your holiday gift buying. There are no crazed shoppers to fight, no huge lines to wait in and much less risk of the item you want being out of stock. Even with all these advantages to it though, going into Cyber Monday unprepared can still leave you searching around and missing out on great deals. With that in mind, here are some tips to help get you prepped and ready for the second biggest shopping day of the year.
Know what you want, and where to look for it.
While most online retailers will offer deals for items on Cyber Monday, there’s no real use wasting your time looking through Walmart’s website for computers when several other websites offer a much wider-often cheaper-selection. Likewise, those shoes you saw on Amazon may be available at a competitive price from a dedicated shoe website, and the chances of them running out of stock are much lower. When it comes to specific items, there are specialty stores for basically everything. If it exists, you can find a shop for it on the internet. Use that to your advantage.
Sign up for Newsletters, and bookmark specific websites
Once you know which websites you want to shop at and what you want there, don’t be afraid to sign up for that website’s newsletter and, most importantly, bookmark that page. Yes, you’ll get a lot of spam from that retailer, especially around the holidays, but online stores are known to send out Cyber Monday ads early and knowing what they will be offering ahead of time can save you a lot of effort.
Set a Budget, and stick to it
Spending a little bit more because you spy a good deal is awfully tempting, but as we should all know by now, internet shopping is a little too convenient. Without physically handing somebody cash it’s easy to forget just how much you are spending. So, set a budget. Know how much you can spend and stay within that range.
This may seem counterintuitive, as frantic holiday shopping teaches us to grab the first decent deal we see on an item we want. Cyber Monday works a little bit different though, and with so many websites offering the same things it can be easy to overpay for something when a better deal can be had elsewhere. Websites such as PriceGrabber and browser add-ons like Honey will show you price comparisons, price history and even offer coupons and deals. Speaking of price history though…
Be Aware That Not Every Sale Is A Good Deal
Black Friday and Cyber Monday have a reputation as being the days that retailers cut their prices the lowest in order to move product. This simply isn’t the case though. In fact, quite often the deals you see are some of their normal sales and the retailer has offered deeper discounts earlier in the year. While it may be tempting to give in to the frenzy and spend money on the deals offered, a bit of patience may save you some money in the long run. If it is not an essential item you need right now, knowing that the price may or will go lower in the future can help keep your wallet a little bit fuller.
Shop in Incognito or Private Mode
There’s no stopping big retailers from knowing a disturbingly large amount about you, but that’s not the only reason to turn your web browser into incognito mode. Tricking websites into thinking you are somebody else, or someone they don’t have data on, often will make you eligible for deals you may not have been on your main account.
Keep an eye on your bank account (Not just the balance)
Shopping online has become safer and safer as time has gone on, but there is always the risk of a website not being as reputable as it looks. If their security is not up to snuff, you may find out that somebody else has been using your credit or debit cards to enjoy Cyber Monday as well. Be vigilant, know what you buy and how much you spend on specific sites and stay safe.
Caleb Edwards is a junior studying professional writing with a focus in editing and publishing. When he isn’t working or writing you can find him tending his fish, taking care of his cats or trying to find free time that he can waste (there never is any). You can follow him on Twitter @CEdwardsSam