You made it through the throngs of Black Friday, dropped a little coin on local shops for Small Business Saturday and rested up during Turkey Leftover Sunday.
Now you’re ready to knock a bigger hole in your Christmas shopping list on Cyber Monday, the season’s top online shopping day. It’s the perfect shopping environment for those who prefer the comfort of their den and their jammies and slippers to fighting their way through a crowded mall.
Savvy Web consumers can find great deals when shopping online this Monday, but be wary of bogus offers and be sure to shop around for the best deals.
Plan ahead: Just as on Black Friday, you’ll want to know ahead of time which sites will have what you need at the best prices. Look for early advertisements and fliers to map out your shopping plan. One way to do this is to register for newsletters or coupons via email from your favorite retailers that can tip you off to the best deals.
Make a list: Know what you’re looking for and what you want. If you don’t find the item you’re seeking, look elsewhere.
Compare: If you’re willing to compare prices while shopping at a brick-and-mortar, do the same online. Sometimes the bargain price on the Web isn’t a great deal when you factor in shipping costs. Sites that offer free shipping, say for a minimum order amount, may be the better option.
Make a budget, stick to it: It’s easy to blow out your holiday shopping budget by adding an item here or an item there because they seem to be great deals. But that can get out of hand if you don’t stay within your intended spending limit.
Print receipts: Once you make a purchase, print out the confirmation page or PDF and note the order number. Keep track of what you buy and be sure to track shipping to ensure you get what you order in a timely manner.
Be wary: Watch out for bogus offers via pop-ups or spam emails you haven’t sought; they might be links to viruses or hackers. Secure your purchases online with use of a credit card or secure payment system like PayPal. When browsing from a laptop or computer, look for the “https” in your browser; the “s” indicates your transaction is secure.
Use technology: Some downloadable apps can help you save more money, such as one from Amazon. Check out sites like CyberMonday.com and others that offer coupons, free shipping and gifts from more than 800 online retailers.
Many happy returns: If you don’t get the right size or item you want, returns can be a bigger headache online than from local stores. Be sure to check out the retailer’s policies in advance.