Sunday, March 18, 2012

Cyber Monday Shopping Tips and Tricks

cyber monday

While online shopping during cyber week isn’t quite as dangerous as Black Friday shopping seems to be, there are still things to look out for to make the shopping successful. While I know this isn’t the normal kind of article that we feature here on GPSTracklog, with all of the upcoming holiday deals on otherwise expensive units, I thought I’d share with you some of my secrets for getting the most out of Cyber Monday sales:

1. Set a Budget

With all of the phenomenal deals on cyber Monday and cyber week, it is easy to overspend by adding a few sale items here and there in between your actual Christmas shopping. If you are guilty of this, then try using something like PayPal, where you can load a select amount of money and use it like cash–when it’s gone, it’s gone.

2. Make a List

Shopping online can sometimes be even more overwhelming than shopping in an actual brick and mortar store, because the inventory can seem exhaustive. Be prepared and have a list of the things you want to purchase before you log on. Don’t get distracted by ‘limited time’ or ‘while supplies last’ fire sales.

3. Scout out Deals Ahead of Time

A lot of websites allow you to create and save a shopping cart, so on the actual day of the sale, you can check out with a few clicks and be done. Doing all of your research ahead of time on various sites can help you make the most out of the doorbuster and limited time sales and let you get back to your day.

4. Set up an Account

If you know you want to purchase an item from a particular website, set up an account with all of your information the day before. This way you can either save a shopping cart or create a wish list to find all of your items easily on the bit day.

5. Use Familiar Websites

Online scams are extremely common during the holidays, so be careful on sites you aren’t familiar with. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Before entering any information, be sure to double check the URL to make sure that the address is correct for the company and ends with a .com instead of anything else. If you’re entering financial information, make sure the site is secure.

6. Shop Early

A lot of websites will have ‘doorbuster’ deals at 12:01 a.m. on Monday, with a select number of items deeply discounted and others going on sale at specific times. (Amazon is the king of this tactic.) Be sure you’re logged on and ready to go if you want to take advantage of one of these sales and remember that online inventory isn’t endless.

7. Shop Securely

Before entering any credit, financial or personal information on a checkout screen, make sure that the URL reads ‘https’ or has a secure connection. How it will look will depend on your browser. If it doesn’t look secure, then head to a different site. Identity theft is highest around the holidays, and saving a few extra dollars is not worth the risk.

8. Read Return Policies

Make sure you read through the shipping and return policies before purchasing anything. Know what the deadline to return items is, and if possible, try and find somewhere that will pay for the return postage should the item be broken, defective or simply not what your recipient wanted. If the return date expires before Christmas, try to sneakily open the package to make sure it isn’t broken before wrapping it. Your recipient will understand.

9. Keep Receipts

Print off and retain all of the receipt pages for your online shopping items so you can keep track of what is in the mail and double-check orders when the package arrives. You might even consider taking a screen shot of your shopping cart as well. Be sure you hide the list so your recipient doesn’t find it on accident!

10. Check Shipping Dates

With Christmas so far away, this probably isn’t something that most people will consider, but be sure to leave yourself plenty of time before the big day to return incorrect or defective items. Some websites will offer free shipping during cyber week, so be sure to take advantage of that if you can!

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