Are you one of the 60% of Americans who buy their gifts the week before Christmas? With so many presents to buy and so little time, it can be hard to plan and organize your purchases in advance.
And that’s before we get into the mammoth amount of money most of us spend on gifts!
That’s where Cyber Monday specials come in. With a little planning and forethought, it’s easy to stick to a budget while raking in the year’s hottest buys.
If you’re trying to decide how to get the best deals on Cyber Monday, we’ve got you covered. Follow the steps below to make the most of your holiday spending this year!
Look at the Best Deals on Cyber Monday from Last Year
Most Cyber Monday promotions are “leaked” sometime in early to mid-November, meaning you should have plenty of time to create a spending plan.
However, if you want to get an early head start, it’s a good idea to check the deals from last year. Most retailers don’t make many changes to the types of deals they offer year over year.
Making yourself familiar with last year’s trends can help you predict the kinds of discounts you’ll see this Cyber Monday.
If you’re interested in a specific retailer, find the previous year’s flyers by searching the store’s name along with the year of the flyer (For example, “Best Buy Cyber Monday flyer 2019”). This works both for local shops as well as online or retail chain giants.
Make a List of the Sales and Items You’re Hoping For
Now that you’ve done a little research, it’s time to do some planning.
First, make a list of the items you’re looking for. If you’re hunting for multiple items (or shopping for multiple people), having a clear picture of what you need can help.
Note that Cyber Monday is a good bet if you plan on purchasing electronic devices and other items—but it’s not the best time for certain discounts.
If you’ve missed Black Friday and you’re still planning to round out your holiday shopping list with these goodies, consider waiting for other pre-holiday sales.
Next, you’ll want to determine your budget. For most people, this works best by defining the top dollar amount you’ll pay per item; for others, it might be easier to make an overall “Cyber Monday budget” from which you can pull money for each item.
While the deals will no doubt tempt you, plan to stick to your budget and resist impulse purchases that stray from your list.
If you’re shopping for the holiday season, it may help to know where you stand in terms of the US average: most Americans spend $942 on holiday gifts.
Organize Your Shopping List and Sale Information
Now that you have your list in place, let’s get organized. If you haven’t already done so, you may want to consider creating a document or spreadsheet on your computer to help with this step.
As you accumulate sales information, you’ll need to store everything in one place so you know what purchases to make on the big day.
In your document or spreadsheet, track the item you’re looking for, the desired price range and your budget, discounts and promotions by retailer, shipping and return policies, and more. You can also add links to any relevant information or flyers.
By preparing this list in advance, you’ll be able to drop in information as you find it, leaving you ready to make those big purchases!
Stalk Your Favorite Retailers Online
Now that you know what you need and what your budget is, the next step is tracking your retailers of choice.
You can start by bookmarking these retailers’ websites, allowing you to check their site on a regular basis for new deals. Make a bookmark folder to capture all of these and more easily check them.
However, the best way to see products and promotions as soon as they’re offered is to follow your favorite retailers on social media.
Twitter and Facebook tend to be where most businesses will post special deals.
Facebook can be especially useful this time of year, as the site’s personalized ad-targeting services will hone in on the shopping list you’ve been searching for. However, don’t forget to check out Pinterest and Instagram as well.
If these retailers offer newsletters, it may be a good idea to subscribe, at least for the duration of the holiday season, and you can always unsubscribe later.
This may mean lots of promotional newsletters in your inbox, but it may help you find the winning deals you’re looking for. Make sure to check your promotional or spam folders just in case those ad-heavy emails are heading to the wrong place.
Research Each Site’s Shipping and Return Policies and Fees
Whether you’re buying something for yourself or for someone else, it pays—sometimes literally—to have a plan in place for potential returns. Sometimes, that new device doesn’t live up to its name, or it comes with issues right out of the box. In these cases, you’ll need to know how the return policies work.
If you’re considering deals like Target, Walmart, Best Buy, or Amazon Cyber Monday 2020 options, you’ll likely qualify for free shipping on most items.
Returns can vary from source to source, though most will accept an unopened box. Make sure you understand what policies are in place, as this can be a deciding factor in where you buy the items on your list.
Don’t forget to also calculate shipping costs into your decision. Again, many of the big-box retailers will offer free shipping for qualifying orders, but if you’re opting for promotions from smaller stores, those shipping costs can eat away at your budget.
Use a Price Comparison Tool
When retailers offer dramatic markdowns in colorful flyers, it’s easy to believe you’re getting the best possible deal. But don’t pull the trigger until you’ve done a little research.
Before the big day, get your hands on a price comparison tool that helps you compare prices for items.
For example, Honey is a great browser extension that lets you see the price history of specified products, which helps you decide if the current offer is really the best.
If you’re looking for other options, you can also check out the comparison apps and websites in this roundup post.
Get Started Early in the Day on Cyber Monday
Many Cyber Monday deals last the entire day, and some retailers even combine their Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials to last the entire shopping weekend.
However, that doesn’t mean that the items offered will be available the entire time. Many retailers will run out of stock at some point, meaning you’ll be out of luck if you wait until the end of the day to make purchases. In addition, some sites run new sales every few hours.
In other words, if you want to get the best products available, when you buy makes all the difference.
Make sure to get up early on Cyber Monday, or plan on staying up late the night before to grab your goodies before you head back to bed.
(This, of course, is why it’s so important to plan in advance: it’s a good idea to know exactly what you need and how much to pay when you’re low on sleep!)
Stick to Your Established Budget
We know, we mentioned this above—but it’s worth repeating. You’ve already established a plan. You’ve tracked every promotion, and you know exactly what you want out of this year’s Cyber Monday deals.
But when retailers try to lure you in with add-ons, upsells, and surprise promotions, it can be hard not to cave in.
Stay strong and stick to your guns to avoid overspending before the holiday season even begins!
Make the Most of Your Cyber Monday Shopping
The space between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday can feel like the Olympics of holiday shopping, but it doesn’t have to be a huge strain—or break the bank.
With a little planning and preparation, you can secure the best deals on Cyber Monday while snagging the year’s hottest items for family and friends.
From discounted stocking stuffers to hefty deals on big-brand devices, this year’s cyber sales are guaranteed to please.
Want more of the tech tips you need for 2020 and beyond? Our other guides are packed with helpful tips, so be sure to check them out!