It's Alright to Skip Black Friday: Five Ways to Shop Smart this Cyber Moday


By Nicole G.

There are a lot of reasons to get excited this Thanksgiving. From the roasted turkey to the family bonding, there’s much to be thankful for. Yet for some people, Thanksgiving signifies a holiday of a different kind. A shopping extravaganza! Take Black Friday for instance. While you’re at home enjoying your stuffing and gravy, there are some dedicated souls camped out in front of the local electronics retailer waiting for the clock to strike midnight. One minute past and there are deals to be had! It’s madness to some and a holiday tradition for others. So if you’re not set on the idea of spending Thanksgiving out in the cold, here’s another option. Cyber Monday.

For all you geeks out there that want to shop smart and not hard, cozy up in your favorite computer chair and check it out. Many retailers offer the same deals, if not better ones on the Monday after Turkey day. Coupon codes, discount deals and extreme markdowns can be had from the comfort of your own home. It’s amazing.  Just so you don’t get lost in the fray this Monday, here are some tips to keep your wits about you:

Make a List and Check it Twice – Organization is key. Instead of rushing around at the last minute, trying to remember if you’ve forgotten something, make a list. Keep it by the computer and give it a glance every now and then. Take notes and make revisions. Now is the time. The last thing you want to do at 12:01 Monday morning is try to find that one site with the awesome tea accessories that you found when you were supposed to be studying.

Plan of Attack– Shopping on Cyber Monday is like trying to drink from a fire hose. There are so many good deals out there that it’s easy to get overwhelmed and miss out on the things you actually want.  Before the Monday madness hits, when sites can be slow from the influx of traffic, check your favorite online shops and see what they’re offering. Create a clear picture of what you want so that when the time comes, you have a plan for success.

Budget – Don’t buy something just because it’s on sale. Your justification for buying those $400 shoes at a discount because they’re ‘such a good deal’ might temporarily fool your conscience, but not your bank account. Discounts make sane people temporarily crazy. Know your limits and stick to them.

Save Smart – Coupons, coupons, coupons! There’s nothing I hate more than getting a great deal on an item and then finding out that I could have gotten it cheaper. That’s why coupon sites such as Retail Me Not, Ebates and Fatwallet are so helpful. When you’re shopping online already, there’s nothing to stop you from typing in an additional coupon code and bam you’re rewarded with free shipping or an additional 10% off. Even if retailers are offering mind-blowing discounts on an item, there’s still an opportunity for you to save a little more. Don’t pass it up.

Stay Safe Technology is amazing. These days our cars can park themselves and our phones have better dinner suggestions than my foodie best friend. With this in mind, it’s important to make sure that you’re using a secure internet connection to make your purchases. Online identity theft is on the rise, so it’s smart to keep track of your transactions and use a credit card for payment. Many credit card companies reserve your right to dispute a charge if you don’t receive an item or if there are unauthorized charges on your account. It’s your responsibility to protect your identity, so do it.

With all the opportunities out there to save this season, don’t lose your head. It’s easy to get lost in the rush of things and come out with a lot more or a lot less than you planned. Cyber Monday can be a really great opportunity to score some awesome deals on holiday gifts, all from the privacy of your own home. So if you keep these five simple tips in mind, there’s no need to trade in your comfy sweatpants for a sleeping bag and camp chair on Thanksgiving night.