Warm up that clicking finger, do some mouse-agility training and get ready, because we’re going to give you everything you need to find the bargains.
Strategize Ahead of Time
Know what you’re looking for ahead of time, and don’t deviate. This will save you money, because you won’t be buying things just because you’re getting a deal on them. Unless you own a medium-sized business, you probably don’t need to buy 10 reams of paper at a time.
Many companies will be posting their Cyber Monday deals ahead of time, so there’s a good chance you’ll be able to scope out the landscape in advance. Take advantage of deal sites like Slick Deals and Deal News, as well as specialty sites like CyberMonday.com.
Be More Efficient
You’re shopping online anyway, so you might as well take advantage of the increased market power of the online consumer.
ShopSavvy is an online portal and app for iOS and Android. It allows you to track the prices of products you’re interested in from a variety of stores so you know when to get the best deals. Poach It is a similar concept, but it will automatically find coupon codes for products you’re ready to buy, which you can often stack. There’s also an extension for the Google Chrome browser.
Let the Deals Find You
Do you have places where you know you’re always shopping? Sign up for their emails, follow them on Twitter and like their Facebook page. A savvy brand will tell you when deals are on and where to find them. They may reveal a coupon code specific to their social audience.
Get Cash Back
In addition to saving money, you can sign up for credit cards that earn you cash back. David Bakke from Money Crashers has the inside scoop on which credit cards are offering cash back this holiday season.
“Most Discover cards get you 5% cash back on online purchases through the end of the year (capped at $1500),” he said. “The Chase Freedom Card comes with 5% cash back on purchases at Zappos and Amazon (also capped at $1500). If you plan on buying a lot from Amazon, get the Amazon Rewards Visa card by Chase, which comes with an unlimited 3% cash back.”
Several companies are doing charity partnerships for the holidays so you can use your purchases to give back.
If you like wearing your cause on your wrist, take a look at KonectIDY. This organization makes bracelets centered on causes in areas like education, animal awareness and cancer awareness. You get a bracelet with the theme of your charity, and the charity gets $2 of every purchase.
PayPal is adding 1% to each charitable donation made through the service from December 2 through December 31. Just go to PayPal.com/givecheer and pick a charity.
Amazon makes charitable donations year-round through its AmazonSmile program. You make purchases through Smile.Amazon.com, and 0.5% of the purchase price goes to the charity of your choice. Over 1 million organizations participate.
(Maybe) It’s a Trap!
Be careful not to fall for false deals. Companies will jack up the retail price in an effort to make the sale look better.
Niraj Shah of Wayfair said going into Cyber Monday with a level of price familiarity can be helpful.
“Brands set a minimum-advertised price that their retail partners can’t go below,” Shah said. “Learn what it is by keeping track of an item over few weeks and looking at similar items. You’ll get an idea of what the lowest possible price is so you can strike while the iron is hot, rather than waiting and wondering if there might be a better deal down the road.”
Imagine this: you’re “this” close to buying the product, but shipping costs are prohibitive, or you wish the purchase price would come down 10%.
Kyle James of Rather Be Shopping said this situation can helped by starting a conversation with the customer service representative.
“Don’t pay full price. Instead, start a live-chat session and politely ask the operator for a coupon code for free shipping or a percentage off,” he said. “Operators are often given coupon codes to hand out if asked, especially on BIG shopping days like Cyber Monday.”
Toss Your Cookies
Cookies on the Internet are usually appropriately named because they provide a level of convenience that’s absolutely sweet; they save passwords and other pertinent data so we don’t have to remember them in the future.
On Cyber Monday, however, you might want to get rid of them. James said they’re often used to lock in the prices of items you’ve looked at in the past so you won’t see the updated deal should the price drop. Along the same lines, abandon your shopping cart a few days before Cyber Monday – you might receive a deal for the product in your email.
It’s important to remember time zone differential when planning your shopping session. Midnight on the East Coast is actually 9 p.m. in the West. If you wait until morning, the good deals on some limited stock sites may be gone.
Wait It Out
The best deals may not even occur on Cyber Monday. Tom Petty said the waiting is the hardest part, but it may be worth it in some cases, said personal finance blogger Andrea Woroch.
“When it comes to certain goods like jewelry and winter apparel, the better deals actually come the last week before Christmas,” she said. “You can also take advantage of free shipping day sales on December 18. Not only do retailers offer free shipping with guaranteed delivery by the holiday, but most offer extra discounts on top of the free shipping. Go to FreeShippingDay.com to see who is participating and to get the codes.”
Do you have any ideas for your fellow Cyber Monday shoppers? Share them in the comments section.
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