Here are some tips to help you decide whether you’re getting a good deal on Cyber Monday or would you be better off headed to your local bricks-and-mortar store (or your local merchants) for your holiday purchases.
The first thing to remember is that – unless you’re getting an unbelievable deal online – if it’s not accompanied by free shipping, it can often cost you as much (or maybe even more) than buying it in person once you factor in shipping costs. A good place to check to see if the site you want to buy from is offering free shipping is CyberMonday.com.
The next tip is that if you find something that you think is a good deal and fits your budget and lets you check someone off on your gift list, don’t buy it until you go a price comparison website like Pricegrabber and make sure that you’re actually buying something at the best price possible.
As with most things in life, timing is everything so the earlier in the day you can shop online, the more likely you are to not only get a good deal but get that deal before it sells out since most of the deals are likely to have time constraints attached to them or limited quantities available.
Before you decide to buy the item, search out to see if the site itself or any other sites – like Retail Me Not – are offering coupons for the site, maybe for free shipping or perhaps a percentage off your order or a buy one/get one deal.
If you belong to a reward site, whether it’s for the retailer itself or perhaps an airline rewards site (like Mileage Plus Shopping for United Airlines), consider starting there and then navigating through to the things you want to buy. You can accumulate miles or points to be used towards future travel or other purchases, so this approach is a real win-win for consumers.
If you really want to save some time and money and are buying gifts intended for people who live across the country, most sites will allow you to ship what you buy – accompanied by a gift card saying who it’s from – directly to the recipient. Some sites even offer complimentary gift-wrapping. Consider doing that because if you order gifts and have them shipped to your home, you’ll have to unpack them, wrap them, pack them up again, get in your car and head to the post office where you then might have to fight the lines and spend money to ship them to those folks who are near and dear to you. Let the online retailer (as long as they offer free shipping) do it for you.
Finally, online deals are designed to entice you to buy but it’s never a deal to buy something you can’t afford to give or can’t return easily (because returning to an online retailer is often more cumbersome than returning to a bricks-and-mortar store). Think things through before you click on the “buy now” button. Not only will your gift recipients thank you, so will your budget.