I have Black Friday memories that date back to what seems like eons ago—and I know that I’m not alone. I can remember standing in line at JC Penny at 3 a.m. with my grandmother at 10-years-old. Do you remember when JC Penny would give away those tiny snow globes? I absolutely loved it! Standing in those crazy lines was a great way to bond with my grandmother and I cherish those memories now. However, as the years have passed the beginning times for Black Friday sales have become less fun. In fact, most Black Friday sales actually begin on Thanksgiving. While I’m a big fan of saving money, I’m not a fan of infringing on my holiday time with family—and of course my second helping of pumpkin pie.

Enter the Segway for sales at the comfort of your own home, holiday travels home, or perhaps at your office cubicle. For you folks who aren’t aware of the Cyber Monday sale festivities, things are about to get super interesting. For those who are well aware of the sales, a round of virtual high fives are coming your way.

Around mid-October the sales begin to leak. Retailers will begin promoting their Black Friday ads and promising that those prices as the absolute low. Friends, I’m here to tell you that’s not entirely true. Most sales now last through the weekend and sometimes drop even lower for Cyber Monday. Face it, we live in such a digitally consumed age where face-to-face relations (including retail purchases) are not the only opportune time to make a purchase. Amazon Prime is where it’s at. Think about it, how often have you been in a store, compared their in-store price with Amazon’s, or perhaps even price matched a retailer based on a lower Amazon price. It happens, more times than you think—especially when retailers are saying to everyone, “Come out and purchase the same items everyone in your locale wants and essentially duke it out.”

With Cyber Monday, consumers can make their purchases without having to go through the headache of standing in a long line or battling traffic. And let’s be for real. If a price point is a few dollars more on Cyber Monday, is it really the end of the world? Do you feel like you’ve failed in the savings department, if a price tag is still substantially cheaper than the retail price point but a few dollars more than the Black Friday cost? Odds are no, right?

Interested in some Cyber Monday tips to get the best bang for your buck? Here are a few helpful tips:

  • Make a list of items you’re interested in purchasing for Christmas. Identify which items are things you will purchase regardless, if they’re on sale or not, and what items you’d only be interested in buying if they are reduced.
  • Do some research. Check out the sales circular and see if the item has gone on sale recently. If it’s went on sale, how low did it drop? If it has, now you know what the average sale price is for the item.
  • Scour Black Friday websites that post sales that are leaked for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. My favorite is Bfads.net. They’ve been in business for over a decade and provide purchasing resources for consumers buying popular items—iPads, phones, computers, shoes, toys, etc.
  • Add the item to an online retailer’s cart. You don’t have to purchase it now, but if the item goes on sale you best believe Target, Walmart or Amazon will send you a friendly alert letting you know. In case you don’t know, if you leave an item in your Target cart for a day or so, Target will send you a $5 or $10 off your purchase coupon via email. This isn’t spam—it’s a gentle nudge for you to purchase the item. Also, having those items in your cart ahead of time, will make the Cyber Monday purchasing a little easier. While some virtual carts will time out, Amazon will let you keep your items in the cart as long as needed.

Not yet convinced? I understand. I grew up waking up at the crack of dawn to embark on the adventure that is Black Friday. However, I’ve also embraced technology and how it can make your life a lot easier. In case you need it outlined for you, here are a few of the obvious reason why Cyber Monday is a no-brainer.

  • No lines! Can I get an amen? Standing in the Black Friday lines can be the absolute worse—especially if the weather isn’t the best. With Cyber Monday, you may experience the occasional website traffic lag time; however, it’s not as bad as standing in line for hours just to find out there is a limited quantity.
  • Online promo codes can be coupled with an existing sale. Check your coupon books and other retailer daily sends, you may find an additional code to save you even more dollars.
  • Shipping can alieve potential issues of car space and the need to carry multiple items. If you’ve ever participated in Black Friday shopping, you know that it’s next to impossible to push a cart through the crowds. Cyber Monday eliminates the problems that could arise. With a virtual cart, you have limitless space and can literally have someone bring the items to your doorstep. In a lot of cases, major retailers usually offer free shipping during Cyber Monday events.
  • Doesn’t fit or someone else already purchased the item as a gift, no worries. Simply click, print, and drop off the purchase—or schedule UPS to pick-up the returned item. Yes, it’s truly that simple.

Cyber Monday is the new Black Friday. Everyone is busy and has a lot going on. Instead of standing in a long line and invading your Thanksgiving greetings, with family and friends, opt to take part in the Cyber Monday activities instead. You’ll find that clicking, in the comfort of your own area, is a comfortable way to check off your Christmas list and spend more time with your loved ones.

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