Lauren Cobello » Budgeting » Frugal Living » How to get the most Bang for your Buck on Cyber Monday
If you’re like most people, you’ll be looking to take advantage of the many Cyber Monday deals. But with so many sales and discounts available, it can be hard to know where to start. Never fear – this post is here to help! We’ll show you how to get the most bang for your buck on Cyber Monday, without spending hours online or sacrificing quality. So read on, and start planning your shopping strategy today!
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I am honest about being a recovering spender… you may have even seen my post about stopping online impulse purchases. I have a passion for helping busy moms stay within their budgets and find creative ways to save money and make extra cash through side hustles. Five years ago I created a challenge to help called the 30 Days to a Debt-Free Christmas Challenge. Part of the goal of my 30 days to a debt-free Christmas Challenge, is to help people to have the holiday they want and can enjoy without breaking the bank.
I’m not going to lie, Cyber Monday is a hard day. It combines some of the biggest pitfalls for holiday spenders. There are lots of choices and lots of sales. and if you’re not careful, lots of money comes out of your wallet.
You need to proceed with caution. Am I telling you NOT to shop on Cyber Monday? Absolutely not. Cyber Monday is an amazing day to get some really great deals on gifts!
Make sure you check out my article on Black Friday shopping to find out more money-saving tips. Alright – let’s get into the Cyber Monday Savings!
First things first – why is Cyber Monday so ‘risky’ for us as budget-focused people?
Okay, so now that we’ve been forewarned about some of the things we need to watch out for with Cyber Monday, we can plan our strategy for making the most of these deals!
Obviously, window shopping and deal hunting is the most fun. But there is some prep work you can and should do in order to take advantage of these deals.
1.) Set a budget – Boo! If only we had unlimited money to spend on all these goodies! Be sure to set yourself a spending cap and budget. Chances are you have already done some shopping or will need to do more shopping after this. So set yourself a reasonable limit. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you can’t get everything on your wish list! Grab my free budget pack to help you get started here.
2.) Set up a wishlist – Come up with some goals or wishlist items. Personally, I like to look for items that I most likely will not be able to afford any other way than through a Cyber Monday deal. This helps you know what to look for. Read my post about how to use an Amazon Wishlist to save you hundreds this Christmas.
3.) Research Non-sale prices – Sometimes the deals on Cyber Monday aren’t quite as sensational as stores would like us to think they are. I am not saying the deals aren’t worth it, but there may be better ways to get better deals or the same deal at a time that is better for your finances. So look up the non-sale prices so you can get an idea of how much items run normally.
4.) Specs/Stats – Even though we may have our eye on a particular brand and model of a product, chances are good that the one we want isn’t the exact one that will go on sale. For your must-have items, make yourself a cheat sheet of the specifications that your ideal product has. Ex. For a laptop make a note of the screen size, RAM, Processor, ports, battery life, and other important things. This way even if the one laptop you were eyeing doesn’t come up on sale you can easily compare the ones that do.
5.) Look up Cyber Monday ads – Some stores release their Cyber Monday ads in advance, others do not. Check out the Flipp app for ads ahead of time. Do a little digging and see if your favorite stores are giving out the information early. This can help you plan. Keep in mind there are often many more items available on sale than just those mentioned in the advertisements.
6.) Make a store list – I tend to be forgetful sometimes, so it really helps if I make a list of the prime stores I want to check out. If you’re not sure if a company participates, don’t be afraid to Google it. You might be surprised how many stores take part in Cyber Monday.
7.) Timing – See if you can find out what time the Cyber Monday sales get posted. For example, American Girl has a Cyber Monday sale, but it does not typically go live at midnight EST, but rather midnight CST. This can make a big difference if you’re planning on staying up late or getting up early!
The better your prep work, hopefully, the more successful you’ll find your Cyber Monday shopping! The more focused you are the less likely you are to be distracted by unnecessary and unwanted purchases also!
Prior to the sales going live, make sure your computer is running smoothly. If need be, restart it, make sure your internet connection is working, etc. If you are choosing to camp out on the computer or laptop make sure you’re comfortable.
Be sure that you have your debit card handy or even a prepaid debit card. Bring a notepad and pencils, just in case you need to jot anything down.
1.) Qube Money App – Use the Qube Money App to set your budget – this is my favorite way to budget! Use the coupon code LAUREN and get 2 months for free by using this link.
2.) Swagbucks – Get cash back by shopping online through Swagbucks.com. Get a Free $10 gift card by signing up today here.
3.) CamelCamelCamel – This is a free Amazon price tracker that monitors millions of products and alerts you when prices drop, helping you decide when the best time to buy is.
4.) HoneyApp – The Honey app is a free browser extension that takes the work out of finding coupon codes. Once you download the extension to your computer, Honey’s smart shopping assistant will find the best coupon codes for the retailer you’re shopping with and automatically apply the discount on your behalf.
5.) FetchRewards App – Fetch Rewards is an app that lets you earn points for uploading pictures of your receipts. You trade the points for free gift cards from some of your favorite stores. This applies to Amazon receipts and any other online purchases. So make sure you don’t miss out on those points from your online purchases! You can sign up for the Fetch Rewards App for free here.
Some things to keep in mind:
You may well find yourself making purchases very quickly. Be sure to watch what you are buying to make sure they are the actual items you want! Also, either keep a running tally on a notepad or check your email invoices periodically to monitor your spending. Believe me, I know how quickly all those purchases can add up!
Don’t be afraid to give yourself SOME discretionary funds for extra purchases. This is definitely a tricky matter because it depends on whether or not you can hold yourself accountable. Sometimes items will pop up for great deals on Cyber Monday that you had never considered. Sometimes they might not even be Christmas gifts, but rather items you need, or items that could be put away for a future birthday.
It’s not wrong to want to make the most of these deals as they come up. You just need to make sure you stay within your means. However, if you do not HAVE any extra room in your budget for discretionary purchases, it might be for the best to simply look only for the items on your list.
It’s okay to stop shopping!
Don’t be a slave to the computer just for a deal. If you are not having much luck with the items you want, don’t beat yourself up. Take a break, and check back later (some stores update their sales periodically throughout the day).
Once you have reached your spending cap, STOP WINDOW SHOPPING. It can be so hard to stop looking but do yourself a favor. Turn off the computer and relax. If you got some good deals consider yourself fortunate. After all, you won’t be doing yourself any favors if you blow your budget!
I hope that you can put some of these strategies into play and have a very successful and budget-friendly Cyber Monday! Let me know how you do and if this article helped about How to get the most bang for your buck on Cyber Monday!