The only thing better than Black Friday is Cyber Monday! Find out how to get the best deals with the click of a mouse — in your pajamas and without fighting the crowd.
If you’re getting an early start on your holiday shopping this year, don’t forget about the great deals starting on Cyber Monday (Nov. 26 this year!). These days, even brick-and-mortar establishments are getting in on the craze, meaning even more ways to save. In addition to our favorite tips, we chatted with online shopping expert Brent Shelton of FatWallet to find out what you need to know about online shopping this holiday season and collected a list of our favorite Cyber Monday deals.
Online shopping safety tips
It goes without saying that the first rule of online shopping is safety. Only shop at stores you know are reputable retailers. Additionally, follow these tips to keep your identity safe.
- Don’t store your credit card information on websites. It’s easy and convenient, but if their site gets hacked (and it can happen to even the best), your information will be compromised.
- This is the time to choose credit. Credit cards generally offer some form of protection against theft if you report it within 30 or 60 days.
- Even better, try disposable. Purchase a rechargeable or disposable credit card and only put a small amount of money on it at a time. If it’s stolen, the most you lose is what’s on it.
- Once you put your items in the shopping cart and are ready to check out, take a look at the address bar. Make sure the site starts with “https,” instead of just “http.” The “s” means it’s secure.
- Stay home. You don’t know who accessed that public computer before you did. They could install spyware or malware that logs keystrokes (like your credit card number, expiration date, etc.) or any number of nasty things.
Expert online shopper Brent Shelton, who helps customers of FatWallet save tons of money every day, thinks that staying organized really helps you get the best deals. “I find I save the most money on holiday gifts if I take a little time to make a list, do some research, read reviews from experts and peers, compare pricing at a few stores and, finally, try to stack discounts to add on bonus savings,” he says. Look for coupon codes, cash back, storewide discounts and mail-in rebates that can be used together.
Shelton also pointed out there are tons of money-saving shopping tools you can use. A lot of online retailers have newsletters, forums and even post deals on their Twitter and Facebook feeds. FatWallet has a really cool Ebates browser toolbar so you can easily find out if the retailer you’re shopping has a cash-back deal at FatWallet. They also have a forum where users can post about the best deals they’re finding and talk to each other about how they saved so much money (even if it’s not on FatWallet).
Great Cyber Monday deals for 2012
We rounded up just a few of the amazing retailers who have some serious Cyber Monday savings to offer. Check out these places for great deals.
Amazon is known for great online deals, but things get even better on Cyber Monday (and keep on going all the way through Christmas). Check the Amazon site every day to find out what their Gold Box deal of the day is or sign up for daily email alerts delivered to your inbox.
We also recommend that you sign up for an Amazon Prime account for the holidays. You get instant access to instant streaming movies and TV shows, and instant access to Kindle books. But even better, you always get free two-day shipping on most items. You’ll get a free one-month trial subscription when you sign up, but we doubt you’ll be willing to cancel it after that!
With the news that thousands of Walmart employees could strike on Black Friday, you might be better off waiting a couple of days to hit their online Cyber Monday sales. You can get a Samsung 55-inch 1080p 3D/HDTV for only $1,498 (about half the regular price at other stores). They also have great deals on Xbox 360, clothing, baby goods and more. (And don’t forget Walmart now carries Apple products.)
If you love shopping at Macy’s but operate on a Wally-World budget, don’t forget to stop by Macy’s website on Cyber Monday. They’re practically giving away $600 diamond stud earrings for $200. They also have deals on Bulova stainless steel watches, kitchenware, cosmetics and bedding. If you’re a cashmere gal, you’ll love the $50 crew necks. Deals range from 25 to 50 percent off on thousands of online items and if you spend $99 on select products, you’ll get an extra 15 percent off and free shipping at checkout.
Not all great Cyber Monday deals are from direct retailers. FatWallet is an easy one-stop shop to find the best deals online. They carefully select the best deals of the day from more than 1,500 trusted online retailers and offer them to you. They also provide extra savings by sharing some of the commission they get from online retailers back with their customers. It’s a great way to find the best coupons and deals all in one place. In fact, we recommend stopping at FatWallet first since the retailers above also work with them to offer you not only great deals, but FatWallet’s cash-back savings. You can also follow them on Twitter.
About Brent Shelton
Brent Shelton is an online shopping expert with FatWallet. He analyzes shopping trends for “when people buy what” and shares tips and tactics for smart shoppers to find the best bargains and teaches people to stack discounts to find the most savings on retail merchandise.
What are your favorite holiday saving tips? Share in the comments below!