It seems like it was only yesterday; the day after Thanksgiving… people waking up at ungodly hours, shuffling their fatigued, overstuffed bellies over to their nearest Best Buy, Target, etc...there were deals. Tons of them spread out across multiple stores, but things got dicey very quickly as the demand grossly overreached supply. Black Friday was one of those rare events, that if you partook in it, you just might be in a battle royale with complete strangers over wimpy discounts on sometimes awesome, mostly mediocre, items. In some cases, it could be outright dangerous.
Fast forward to today and Black Friday simply isn’t what it used to be. With brick-and-mortar stores quickly going the way of the dinosaurs, a good chunk of us do a lot of shopping online instead thanks to superb deals, slick checkout, and fast shipping.It allows us to skip the lines, the crowds, and the ordeal of having to haul stuff around. With ecommerce being more accessible than it's ever been, it’s now easier than ever to spend money like it’s going out of style on stuff you don’t necessarily need, or you’re not getting the best deal on. Online retailers have taken note, and from the ashes of the “traditional” Black Friday arose Cyber Monday.
Cyber Monday is analogous to Black Friday, except that it is reserved for online retailers, and typically doesn’t stick to a strict schedule like your Black Fridays do, with some deals stretching days (or even weeks) and some dropping before Monday. It’s easy to get lost in the noise, especially if you’re on social media a lot. If you stick to these quick tips, you may be victorious in grabbing some awesome deals on some awesome stuff.
If you see a good deal or a huge discount on stuff like TV’s, furniture, etc., don’t jump on them without researching the respective product you want. You might end up with a hunk of junk. The end of the year means that a lot of retailers, online or physical, are trying to move product that’s simply not selling, or is about to become obsolete. So, read reviews, watch reviews, “Google-Fu” as much as you can. I highly recommend searching for the product and appending “reddit” to it to see what Redditors are saying about it. If everything checks out, and you still want the item, by all means go for it! If not, there’s nothing wrong with holding out. You might find something way better down the road.
Check multiple retailers
Amazon is not the end-all, be-all of online stores. Be mindful of their competition, because in some cases, the competitors may have a better deal (Some even price match! Best Buy is a good candidate for this!). Always compare a deal with other retailers if you can, to see if there is any way you can save. Browser extensions like Honey, or Wikibuy can take a lot of this off of your shoulders by automatically finding and applying coupon codes as well as compare prices with other online retailers to ensure you’re getting a great deal – simply put, they’re awesome and worth checking out!
Know what you want and know what to spend
You know how you can walk into a Target or Walmart and you can rarely leave without buying more than what you planned on getting? Shopping online can be a lot like that as well, except the temptation is much harder to resist since your shopping cart is essentially bottomless and you can find just about anything you’d ever need on the internet. My best advice here is to do your best to stick to a budget, and compare deals online to those IRL. Physical retailers are hurting more than ever now and many of them are willing to go to great measures to make you happy. Don’t be afraid of finding a product online at great price, saving a link to it on your phone (or print it out, if you’re one of those kinds of cavemen), and show it to someone in-store. They just might be able to match it or even go lower, to where you’d essentially be making a deal of your own while sticking to a budget. Know what you want. Have a goal in mind for shopping so you won’t be going at it aimlessly.
Alrighty, folks, that’s my take on this. I’m in no way some kind of “cyber shopping wizard”, so take what you will from my advice. This has worked for me over the years and has saved me a lot of cash, and I’m hoping it will work out the same for you! We’re almost in the home stretch for the end of this year, and if I don’t hear from you from here on, I wish you all an awesome and merry holiday season!