Have to work on Cyber Monday? No worries, if you plan ahead, you could score some smart buys on your lunch break. Here are 11 tips to finding the best Cyber Monday deals.
During the holidays, my goal is to have 90% of my shopping done before Thanksgiving day. That way I can spend time with my family and relax instead of worrying about gift buying. With that said, it’s savvy to wait to buy certain gifts on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.
When we first published this article back in 2015, Cyber Monday was relatively new. But now it’s well established that you’ll find some of the best deals on Cyber Monday. And you also won’t have to wait in those famously massive Black Friday lines.
For Black Friday, most major retailers publish their deals in advance. So you can peruse the online deal notices or newspaper fliers to decide which stores you want to put on your shopping list. And many stores do offer more online deals on Black Friday, though the best deals on that day are often found in the stores. And for the best online deals, you may need to wait over the weekend.
Cyber Monday deals aren’t often published ahead of time. So you have to pay attention to them on the day of, or they may sell out before you even see that the deal is available. So be sure you approach Cyber Monday prepared to score some major deals with our shopping tips and tricks.
1. Check Out Last Year’s Sales
Again, Black Friday deals are usually published well in advance. This is less often the case with Cyber Monday. But that doesn’t mean you have to be clueless about the deals most places are likely to offer. Check out last year’s sales by Googling for the flyers from your favorite stores and retailers. This can give you an idea of the general content of Cyber Monday sales, so you know which websites to peruse first.
2. Check Prices
It used to be that you needed to go to a separate website to find the best deals and compare the pricing of the items in your cart. Those sites, including DealNews.com and CyberMonday.com, still exist. But they’re not the most efficient way to check prices any more.
Instead, you can now install toolbars or apps on your actual desktop or laptop browser to compare prices as you shop. For instance, Shoptimate is a Google Chrome app that automatically compares prices of the items you’re interested in. You can also install price checking apps on your phone, which you can use to find the best prices on the items you’re buying on Cyber Monday.
3. Look for Added Discounts
Before you automatically pick up your next iGadget from the store with the lowest price on CyberMonday.com, type the store or item name into a coupon code site. RetailMeNot.com, CouponCabin.com and DealCatcher.com are three good options.
These sites can help you find free shipping, added discounts, or other value-added coupons that will bump prices lower–even if you wind up paying a higher ticket price on a particular item.
Another good option here is, again, an app or extension. Honey is an example of an excellent Chrome extension that automatically searches for and applies coupon codes to your cart. Just run it before you check out, and it will find the optimal combination of usable coupon codes for the items you’re buying from any given retailer.
4. Follow Your Favorites and Get Customized Offers
While the websites mentioned above will help you easily compare pricing for a variety of items, you may find even better deals if you follow your favorite stores, products, and brands on Facebook or Twitter.
It’s common for brands and stores to offer their most loyal customers better deals through their social media outlets. Many stores now even give you customized deals based on your shopping habits.
This strategy will be most useful if the retailer is its own brand, as with a clothing store. It’s not unusual for clothes to be found at a big discount, so follow your favorite brands before Cyber Monday for more deals.
5. Sign Up for Emails
Brands see your inbox as valuable advertising space, especially since you have to actually give them your email address for them to be able to legally send you emails. So go sign up for the email lists of your favorite brands. You might just get a sneak peek at Cyber Monday deals or an alert as soon as the deals become available.
Sometimes you’ll also snag a coupon for additional discounts when you first sign up for an email list. This might stack on top of your Cyber Monday deals, or net you a discount on full-price items that also make it into your cart.
Just remember that you can always unsubscribe from these emails later on. But email is an excellent way to find out about the best deals early on.
6. Set up Ahead of Time
One of the biggest problems consumers report on Cyber Monday is lag times online. If you’re shopping for some of the hottest items, they might disappear before you can check out–even if you’re one of the first shoppers to hit the web.
To streamline your shopping process–and give yourself the best chance to land the best deals–set yourself up for easy purchasing ahead of time.
If you have some idea which online stores you’re likely to use, set up an account, if you don’t have one already. This takes loads of time out of the process of checking out once your shopping cart is full.
If you don’t know where you’ll shop online, opening a PayPal account or Google Pay account can streamline the checkout process. Most retailers will now take one or both of these options, and you can automatically set up your shipping address for faster checkout.
7. Take a Look at Policies Ahead of Time
If you’ve shopped with a particular retailer before, this may not be a huge deal. But if you’re looking at shopping with a new-to-you retailer, research their shipping and return policies before you buy. Many retailers have flexible policies here. But if you end up paying through the nose for shipping or have trouble returning items that don’t work for you, you’ve just created more hassle for yourself.
8. Check for Bonus Points
As you’re planning your Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping, take time to research different payment options. Making the right choice–whether it’s paying by PayPal, by credit card, or through a specialized shopping program–can net you more savings in the long run.
For instance, one year, PayPal offered price match guarantees and free return shipping for any items bought through its system. Several credit cards also offer price matching and bonus points around the holiday shopping season. You might even check into programs like U-Promise, which could put money into your child’s college savings account while you shop Cyber Monday deals.
9. Use the Best Rewards Credit Card
Since you’ll be shopping online, you’ll likely be paying with a credit card. As such, there’s no reason to forego cash back with the right credit card. My personal favorite cash rewards card is the Citi Double Cash Card because it pays 2% cash back (1% with every purchase + 1% when you pay for those purchases.)
However, the Chase Freedom is a serious contender. It pays a $150 cash bonus when you spend $500 in the first three months. Whatever cash back credit card you use, be sure not to overspend and to pay your card off in full the following month.
10. Get Going Early
Some retailers do hour by hour deals for Cyber Monday. These are often published ahead of time, so pay attention to when your most-wanted items go on sale, and set a reminder on your phone to check out the deals at that time. But often more general deals are available at the very beginning of Cyber Monday shopping–usually beginning at midnight the night before. And those deals will go until the product sells out.
You don’t necessarily have to get up at 3 AM to make Cyber Monday worth it, but pay attention to the deals that are available, as you might find one or two that make it worth getting up at a weird time or taking a late lunch break to catch an hourly deal.
11. Start with a List and a Budget
Of course, all the bargain shopping in the world isn’t worth it if you’re ultimately spending money you don’t have on stuff that you don’t want or need. So start out Cyber Monday like any other shopping trip–with a list and a budget. Maybe everything you’re buying on this day isn’t for holiday gifts, and that’s fine. But make sure you think through the things you want to buy before you start typing in your credit card information multiple times in one day!
With these Cyber Monday shopping tips, you could stock up on stuff you want to gift or have, and you’ll spend less money doing it.Topics: tech