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5 Cyber Monday Tips to Save Big on Holiday Gifts

Thanksgiving weekend shopping used to end after Black Friday, but now Cyber Monday offers even more chances to get great deals. This shopping day takes place totally online, so you don’t even have to leave the house to nab those low prices. Use these tips to save money and get the very best deals on Cyber Monday this year.

1. Avoid Christmas Toys

Many people use Black Friday to shop for gifts for their loved ones. That can be a smart move when you’re shopping for little ones since the deals on toys, games and electronic are often at their best on Black Friday.

Keep that in mind when you shop for Cyber Monday. This online shopping day has a different focus, with the best deals usually being for apparel, home goods and other more common online purchases. You may still be able to snag good deals in other categories, but it’s smart to plan out your purchases with this in mind.

2. Pay Attention to Name Brands

With Black Friday just a few days ahead of Cyber Monday, it’s easy to be tempted to pull the trigger on certain items from your wish list a bit early. However, shopping advice website Rather Be Shopping says it may be better to hold out for Cyber Monday. According to the site, “Budget laptops (i.e., pieces of crap) are in full force on Black Friday. Systems that are okay for surfing the web, posting pictures of your cat on Facebook and answering email, but that’s about it. If you need a laptop for running productivity software, video editing or running multiple programs at once, you’ll want to shop for a higher quality laptop on Cyber Monday.”

Even if you do hold out for Cyber Monday, don’t be swayed by the price before looking at the specs. Some prices seem great when, in reality, the low cost is largely due to low quality, not the special sale. Electronics are one area where many people are easily swayed, so be especially diligent about deciding what specifications are on your must-have list for TVs, computers, tablets, phones, etc.

3. Look for Additional Discounts

A little research before you shop may go a long way. One of the smartest things to do before Cyber Monday is to look for additional coupon codes and promos you can apply to your online purchases. For example, you may be able to track down a free shipping code for a website that will have some great deals you want to take advantage of. Alternatively, you could see if the website offers free in-store pickup and skip the shipping charges completely.

Another smart move is to sign up for the website’s e-newsletter before Cyber Monday. Many companies send a discount code to new subscribers after they sign up. Doing these little things before Cyber Monday strikes can help bring your total spending even lower.

4. Watch for Staggered Discounts

Some stores are now participating in staggered discounts for Cyber Monday. This is a newer trend where the stores biggest deals occur in the early hours of the day – sometimes even before 6 a.m. For example, the store might offer 50% off sale items until 6 a.m., then 40% off until 9 a.m., 30% until 12 p.m. and so on. The earlier you buy, the better your savings will be.

You might be wondering what the point of this slowly decreasing discount might be. Think of it this way: if you knew the deal would last all day, you might spend quite a bit of time shopping around online to look for an even better deal before you actually buy the item you have your eye on. However, if you know that waiting too long might decrease the discount you’re getting, you’re more likely to buy that item first thing in the morning in order to secure the best price. Therefore, the store keeps you from shopping around to look for better deals!

One way to get around this is to do as much research as possible before Cyber Monday. Know the regular price from the items you want, and look at various websites to see what sales they have planned. This will help you make an informed decision rather than frantically trying to shop for deals in a limited time frame on the day of the sale.

5. Be Wary of Unfamiliar Websites

One of the pitfalls of digging for online deals is that it may lead you to some shady sites. That’s why it’s so important to stick to reliable websites when you shop on Cyber Monday. If you don’t recognize the site but you still want to pursue a possible deal, do a little research. Here are some things you can try to find out if the site is safe:

  • Google the website name along with terms like “fraud” or “scam.”
  • See if they are listed by the Better Business Bureau and, if so, what their rating is.
  • Read comments and reviews on the website.
  • Call their customer service number and ask any questions you might have.

Ready to shop ‘til you drop? Use these tips to get deals like a pro on Cyber Monday.

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