Did you know 2015 marks the 10th anniversary of Cyber Monday? Since 2005, the Monday following Thanksgiving weekend has become the online-shopping extension of Black Friday. Last year, Cyber Monday online sales grew to $2.68 billion, with smaller retailers and fashion stores gaining a lot of traction.
Personally, I fully embraced this trend once I became a mom. Why? I had so much less leisure time (not to mention money) to spend shopping for Christmas gifts the old-fashioned way.
If you’d rather click, save, and ship instead of shop ’til you drop this Cyber Monday, pull up a laptop and a hot cup o’ joe, and follow these tips to score the top deals on holiday gifts.
Bookmark major retailers’ Cyber Monday pages
Many of your favorite “big box” and online stores have gotten wise to this decade-long trend, so they have dedicated a special Cyber Monday section on their websites. That includes Walmart, Best Buy, Target, Overstock, Amazon, Macy’s, and JCPenney. You can bookmark these pages in advance, as well as sign up for email alerts and deals.
Know what you want
Similar to Black Friday, the Monday after is not the ideal time for casual browsing. You’ll save time and money by having a list of who you’re buying for and what you want to get before you start searching for deals.
Remember: Credit, not debit
Be a savvy online shopper by using your credit card, rather than the debit option, to make purchases. If a thief gets access to your debit card and starts racking up fraudulent charges, they can clean out your checking account before you finish the turkey leftovers in your fridge. The bank will eventually recoup the money, but it could take a while. And ain’t nobody got time for that—especially around the holidays.
Take advantage of free shipping
Of course, free shipping is always a smart idea, no matter what day of the year you’re shopping online. But on Cyber Monday, you should have the addresses of non-local gift recipients at the ready. Ship their gifts directly to them, at no charge, rather than having to pay to ship them or add to checked luggage later in December.
Start early for the best selection
You’re probably the early bird at home or work anyway—might as well get the worm by shopping on the morning of Cyber Monday. Retailers will likely have some limited-quantity items among their deals, and you’ll get first dibs. Conversely, if you wait ’til your afternoon coffee break, the good stuff might already be sold out.
Save even more with cash-back programs
If you use a cash-back credit card and use it for your Cyber Monday shopping, you’ll get additional savings (2% or more, depending on your card). On top of that, when you shop through sites like Ebates.com, you can get an additional cash-back bonus on those purchases, ranging from 2 to 11%.
Look out for scams
Just like crowded places attract pickpockets, high-volume online shopping brings out the scammers. Be aware of phantom or copycat retailer sites, which may look similar to the legitimate stores but will steal your money rather than ship your orders.
Keep tabs on #CyberMonday
More stores use social media as a way to quickly broadcast hot deals, so if you’re on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, it might be worth searching with the hashtag #CyberMonday. You just never know what might pop up while you’re sitting in that boring status meeting at the office!