Step aside, Black Friday. The Monday after Thanksgiving, dubbed Cyber Monday in 2005, promises some of the best deals of the season. And the best part? You don't need to change out of your pajamas to score them. Here's how to make the most of the shopping bonanza.
1. GET A HEAD START.
Cyber Monday may have Monday in its name, but last year, a handful of major retailers kicked off their discounts the Sunday night before, says Courtney Jespersen, retail and shopping expert at NerdWallet. “Sign up for email lists and follow the social media feeds of your favorite stores so you know the precise moment when deals drop,” Jespersen says. “If you show up to the sale too late, you may miss out on some of the best discounts.”
2. SIGN IN.
Just like at the mall, great deals can mean heavy traffic for online retailers. And this can cause inventory to move quickly, Jespersen says. “Last year on the online shopping holiday, Target shoppers had to wait in a virtual line to add deals to their cart,” she says.
Be prepared by making an online account at your favorite retailers before the traffic spikes. That way you don't have to waste valuable time entering your billing and shipping information at the checkout.
3. APPLY COUPON CODES.
Before clicking "place purchase," check for any additional promo codes you can add. You can usually find these in banner ads on the site or by using a resource like RetailMeNot. You may also get emailed a special one-time discount code if you sign up for the retailer’s mailing list for the first time, Jespersen says.
4. FOCUS ON CLOTHING AND SHOES.
The deals for these items are traditionally better on Monday than they are on Thanksgiving and on Black Friday, says Benjamin Glaser, features editor with DealNews. Conversely, Glaser notes that Black Friday is the best day to buy a laptop or television.
5. GET TEXT ALERTS FOR DEALS.
If you’re planning on making a big purchase, set up a text or email alert for that item on price-tracking sites, says Sarah Berger, columnist for Bankrate’s money-saving blog The Cashlorette. “That way, you’ll never miss a deal,” she says.
For starters: CamelCamelCamel will email you when the price drops on a product you've been watching on Amazon; SlickDeals watches prices on Amazon, Ikea, Buy.com, Newegg, Gamestop, and others; Get Invisible Hand will let you know if the item you covet is less expensive elsewhere; and CheapShark focuses on video game prices.
6. CHECK MESSAGE BOARDS.
Many people will post deals that they’re interested in and that they've found to shopping message boards, Berger says. She recommends you check out Fatwallet.com and Slickdeals.net for Cyber Monday intel.
7. USE THE LIVE CHAT FUNCTION.
Andrew Schrage, co-owner of the personal finance site Monday Crashers, says you may be able to convince a customer service representative to cough up a modest coupon code that you can apply to the store's already-low prices.
8. ABANDON YOUR CART.
A few days before Cyber Monday, put the item you want into your virtual shopping cart—and then abandon the cart (leave without completing the purchase), Schrage says. “A few days later, you might find an email in your inbox with a discount code” to entice you to buy, he says.