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Make Out Like a Bandit on Cyber Monday With These 4 Tips

Originally posted November 18, 2013 by Miles Young on http://www.dumblittleman.com

Nipping the heels of Black Friday as the second busiest sales day of the holiday shopping season, this year’s 2013 Cyber Monday is set to rake in more than $1 billion.

There’s just something about sitting at home in your pajamas after a long weekend of binge eating and jolly family fun and shopping from your living room couch.

The online shopping phenomenon has been gaining speed as more and more people turn to the Internet to do the majority of their holiday shopping. But online shopping sprees that promise mega discounts can be more confusing than brick-and-mortar sales. Here are some tips to follow to keep from being virtually trampled, and make out like a bandit.

Start Early, Compare, and Save

Many companies will do their absolute best to make a regular price look like a bargain, or promote their items that were already on sale as “Cyber Monday” specials. If you start early, you’ll be more equipped to recognize a stellar sale when you see it once the clock rolls around to midnight.

You’ll want to compare regular prices from the vendor, as well as competitor prices. Many times, you’ll be able to find the same item being offered at various prices across the web. Perhaps marketers are banking on you being so flustered by the one-day sale that you won’t notice. But you’re more clever than that, aren’t you?

Compile a Wish List

A bargain is only a bargain when the item is something you actually need or want, and it’s something that you can actually afford. Avoid being blinded by good deals by putting together a “perfect world wish list.”

In other words, in a perfect world, which items would you like to find this season? Keep in mind any items you’ve been wanting for your home or any gifts that would be perfect for the people in your life that you hold dear.

Protect Yourself

Don’t get caught up in cyber scams this year. Since online shopping has become sort of a way of life for many of us, we tend to forget the dangers of purchasing goods online. One purchase on an unsecured or hacked website could send your personal information all willy-nilly into the hands of crooks and identity thieves.

Stick to sites you’ve used in the past and pay close attention to any uncharacteristic changes. Make sure you have adequate, updated antivirus and anti-spyware software on your computer, and never, ever, ever, use your debit card for online purchases.

The reason for the doomsday warning is that credit cards are protected against fraud. If there’s a case of verifiable unauthorized purchases with your card, you will not be held responsible for the charges. Bank-issued debit cards don’t typically have that protection.

Read the Fine Print

As with any sale event, there are often strings attached. First, find out ahead of time exactly when the sale starts. Some sales will begin at precisely midnight, others at various times throughout the day. Don’t sit around on your computer waiting for the clock to strike midnight if you don’t have to. Also, if you can figure out how many items will be available for sale.

Lots of vendors — both traditional and online — have begun to highly promote an item that’s radically marked down, only to have a limited supply. They do it to get people in the store to see the other sales they plan to offer. If the supply is extremely limited, you might be better off focusing on other points on your wish list.

Participating in Cyber Monday is a great way to pick up holiday gifts, and find bargains you won’t be able to find elsewhere. The convenience factor is a nice plus as well. You don’t even have to put pants on unless you really want to. Just remember to plan ahead, be cautious with your information, and read the fine print before diving in this year.