Kate’s Six Cyber Monday Tips to Survive Cyber Monday 2012

Hello! I hope you all survived Black Friday and still have some cash left for the Holidays! I must say that I like Cyber Monday a lot better than Black Friday, and you can shop from the comfort of your own home! Anyways, I wanted to give you all a few tips about Cyber Monday and Christmas Shopping in general because I know it can be totally overwhelming! Last year was my first serious Cyber Monday experience and I was totally overwhelmed. So here are my (very un-Boston related) Cyber Monday Holiday Tips:

1. Have a rough idea of what people want. Write down everyone on your shopping list and jot down a few ideas that they may like & what your budget is for each person. When great deals pop-up, I sometimes forget who would be a great fit for what and may forget someone on my list momentarily. Also, I may have someone on my list that always wants something that never goes on sale (sound familiar?), so Cyber Monday is a great day to cross those people off your list. This is because many stores will offer free shipping and a percentage discount on everything. You will just need to search for what you want specifically without it popping up on a deal finder. If you stay organized and know what people want sooner than later you can avoid doing a last minute splurge and paying full-price for something.

2. Know (and use!) the right resources. There are so, so many different online deal & money-saving websites that have list so many great Cyber Monday deals and use a combination of websites to find your favorites and best deals. These deal finders and resources can spark some great gift-giving ideas at rock bottom prices! There are also some deal sites that are especially dedicated to Cyber Monday like BestCyberMonday.com & CyberMondayDeals.com that will share the very best Cyber Monday deals! Also Boston-based company, BeFrugal.com has a toolbar that you can download that will let you know when there are promo codes available at checkout if you don’t feel like Googling various promo codes constantly to ensure you grabbed the highest discount available.

3. Shop Early. Just like Black Friday some of the hottest deals will sell out quickly, so think about waking up a few minutes early to see if you can snag a great buy before work. I had a hard time sleeping last Cyber Monday, and there wasn’t anything losing sleep about at 3 AM so go back to bed but set your alarm a few minutes early, just in case.

4. Use Cashback Sites to save more. This is one of my favorite online shopping tips because you save even more money shopping online through Cashback sites. Ebates.com and Shopathome.com are two cashback sites that I use often. Before checking out at an online store, I log into my one of my cashback sites (usually I check both to see, which one is offering the higher cashback amount) and then click my desired store to be redirected through their link. I then receive a percentage back into my account and then they’ll cut me a check for buying something I was already going to buy! Don’t forget about credit card companies and air mile possibilities, because most credit card companies offer a percentage off to shop through their website too. So do a little research to figure out what cashback sites will get you the most money back and make the most sense for you.

5. Don’t buy it, if you won’t use it. It can be really easy to get caught up in a good deal, but if you or your gift-getter will not wear those deeply discounted Jets pajama pants for .79, then why are you even buying them? Know the return and shipping policies of each store before shopping, and take a second to breathe and think if it something you really will use or give to someone else to use.

6. Oh, and not everything is a great deal. Just like Black Friday, not everything on sale is a great deal. Do you research beforehand and know what is a great deal for a product you are interested in and what isn’t. For instance, typically the best time to buy jewelry is during the summer, the best time for toys is two weeks before Christmas and for TV’s is during the Super Bowl. However, just because those are typically the best times to buy those things doesn’t mean you still can’t find good deals, but be able to spot a good deal when you see. Also, just because a store offers free shipping and a percentage off may not make it a great deal, especially if the price is always cheaper at Walmart or Target who will holiday price match for example.

Do your research, know your audience, and don’t worry… deals always cycle back through if you get too overwhelmed, so if you missed something, it will most likely come back around again soon. Oh, feel free to brag in the comments below; I would love to hear what cheap finds you found! Best of luck!

(And I did include referral links to my two cashback sites so I would get a little something back if you did sign-up. Feel free to read my disclosure policy here if you want).