About 164 million people plan to shop from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, according to this year’s annual survey by the National Retail Federation. Cyber Monday is growing and has already passed Black Friday as the number one shopping day of the year. If you plan to shop on Cyber Monday, here are a few tips to help you save money and stay safe.
Do your research
Many retailers, such as Firmoo, do a great job of publishing their planned deals ahead of time, so you can prepare yourself (and your wallet) by doing some research on your favorite shops ahead of time. Furthermore, many bloggers and other publications will post roundups of the best deals, so you can consult these to make sure you’re taking advantage of the best deals. There are so many free resources on out the Internet that you have no reason not to do your research ahead of time.
In addition, it helps to go into Cyber Monday with some sort of a plan. Have a tentative list of who you’re planning to shop for, and some potential gift ideas. Of course, you will likely encounter unplanned gift ideas and “must-have” deals, but having a basic list ahead of time will help prevent you from overspending drastically and buying unnecessary gifts. This list will help protect your wallet and your credit score from taking a huge hit over the holidays.
Shop online safely
With some many people planning to shop online this year, unfortunately it also become prime time for hackers and other web predators to try to steal your information. Know the basics of online safety and protect yourself with these safe shopping tips.
One thing you should do as you shop online is to make sure you never reuse the same password on different websites, especially retailers. Create unique passwords for each individual store (or each individual purchase you make). This will help minimize the potential for hackers and identify theft perpetuators to be able to steal your information.
In addition, when you’re shopping online, you should also make sure you’re using credit cards instead of debit cards, if that is an option that’s available to you. Credit cards offer their consumers much more protection than debit cards if a card or account happens to get compromised. And if you are using credit cards instead of debit cards over the holidays, you won’t have to worry about fraud or other account issues really affecting you’re checking account, should something happen. Plus if you use credit card to make your purchases, you can also capture credit card-specific benefits, such as cash back or earning miles, as a large scale.
One final tip for shopping safely is to make sure you install ad-blockers. This is a simple step that can save you a lot of time and headache as you’re scouring the web for deals this holiday season. Ads have unfortunately become one of the top ways that hackers try to steal your information or download malware onto your computer in the last several years, so you can easily protect yourself against this by installing ad blockers.
Don’t discount brick and mortar stores
Even though Cyber Monday is all about shopping online, and people are drastically opting for this holiday’s deals over Black Friday, you can actually make out pretty well by heading in-store on Cyber Monday. Here’s an inside tip: Retailers sometimes attempt to counter Cyber Monday with in-store specials of their own that are valid for that day only. This is even more likely to happen if their Black Friday sales were disappointing. Take advantage of this by keeping an eye out for any good deals in store, and potentially heading to your local mall on Cyber Monday. You certainly won’t have to deal with the crowds like you would on Black Friday, which means Cyber Monday could end up being one of the best days for in-store shopping of the entire year!
Don’t forget about social media
Many stores advertise social-media specific deals on Cyber Monday that might not get publicized anywhere else. So, if there’s a specific store you know you’re interested in shopping at on Cyber Monday, do yourself a favor and check their Facebook and Instagram pages before you shop. They may be advertising secret sales or promo codes that you can then use to save even more money when you checkout online.
Make this your best Cyber Monday shopping day yet, and protect yourself from cyber criminals, shop effectively, and be a gift-giving superstar with these tips.