Brittany D. McClure
The Valdosta Daily Times
Like me, I’m sure most of you are totally zonked out from Black Friday. However, though we may have won the battle, we have not yet won the war because now, we are on the eve of Cyber Monday.
Cyber Monday is quickly eclipsing Black Friday in popularity and sales. For some, it is a reason to stay out of the crowded big box stores but for people like me, it’s just another reason to show off that budgeteer dazzle.
If you think I’m crazy on Black Friday, you should see me in the comfort of my own home when nobody is watching me. I’m not going to lie, it gets pretty weird.
For some of you, this may be your first Cyber Monday, but this isn’t my first rodeo. I have been to the depths of the technological beyond and back and I have to tell you, it’s not pretty.
Web pages freeze, strangers steal the items right out from under you in a matter of seconds and despite how hard you try, sometimes your little finger just can’t click fast enough.
I’ve lost many a mouse to the emotions of Cyber Monday and even a keyboard, but don’t tell my renters insurance about that one. I had no idea how it got through my office window, and under pressure, I will sing you out like a canary. Do you know where you were Cyber Monday 2011? I do, try me.
Despite the elevated heart rate and the fits of sweating, you can make out like a bandit.
So, if you dare to participate, here are a few friendly tips.
1. Shop stores that offer low or free shipping.
Make sure you familiarize yourself today with stores offering special shipping deals because that cost can add up.
To qualify for free shipping with most stores, you must meet the minimum purchase, so it’s always good to plan out what you need from which sites so you can see if meeting the minimum will help or hurt your budget.
Here are some retailers offering shipping deals:
• Toys R’ Us will have site wide free shipping offers.
• Macy’s offers free shipping on purchases starting at $99 through Dec. 31.
• Best Buy will have free shipping on all cameras, camcorders, DSLR cameras, select computing products including laptops and tablets.
• Overstock.com is offering free shipping on your entire order.
Several other retailers will announce shipping days late Sunday or on Cyber Monday, so just make sure you pay attention to deals and exclusions.
2. Seek out coupon codes.
Websites such as couponcodes4u.com, cybermonday.com, retailmenot.com, cybermonday2012.com and more will have special promo codes to use to save money on your online purchases.
Also, be sure to visit your favorite retailer’s websites on Sunday and check their exclusive promo codes.
For example, Macy’s has tons of special discounts under the “deals & promotions” tab and several other retailers are doing the same.
Bonus Tip: Bookmark retailmenot.com. The next time your shopping online, just click on the link and it will display all of the coupons for the site that you’re on. It’s bargain shopping made easy!
3. Visit your favorite retailers’ sites on Sunday evening to see if they are previewing special deals so you can get an idea what you need to go for.
Toys R’ Us is even jumpstarting their Cyber Monday sales on Sunday at 6 p.m. You can view particular specials on their website.
4. Utilize social media. “Like” your retailers and sites on Facebook and follow them on Twitter for special insider deals. You won’t believe how many businesses are actually doing this. I have seen several that are even giving away gift cards. It only takes a minute and the reward is definitely worth it.
5. Compare prices. Sites such as pricegrabber.com are a great way to make sure you are getting the lowest purchase price. You can search a product or go through their already organized tab and compare prices between all the online retailers that offer your product.
6. Don’t lose track of your spending. When all you’re doing is clicking and hitting “buy,” it can be easy to lose track of how much you’re spending. Keep a running total on a note pad next to your computer. Write down what you purchased, where you purchased it from and how much.
Also, always click that you want an email confirmation so you can track your order.
7. Download a Cyber Monday app on your smartphone. TGI Cyber Monday and Best Cyber Monday Deals are two top free apps. You can also buy TGI Cyber Monday Pro for just 99 cents.
All right, my little cyborg budgeteers, may the force be with you ... and not against your computer because no matter how angry you get, you actually need it to make purchases.
Don’t forget to like me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BrittanysBudgetDiary and follow me on Twitter @VDT_Brittany.