Cyber Monday shopping is serious business. Sure, scoring the best bargains won’t require you to leave home so there’s no need to worry about parking lot beatdowns and Walmart riots, but when it comes to your shopping list the stakes are just as high. With so many stores competing for the attention of shoppers, it can be hard to find the best bargains and even harder to know when to walk away (because let’s be honest — how many pairs of khaki slacks does Uncle Jimmy really need?) So how can you be sure you get the best Cyber Monday deals on the gifts you want before store sell out? We asked experts for some unique ideas. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Hire an Assistant. We’re guessing your holiday shopping would be a lot different if you could afford a personal assistant. Most of us can’t, but we can simulate the experience with the help of handy apps. Samantha Hauser, an associate of Inner Circle Labs, told us about one app that we’re excited to try this shopping season — EasilyDo.
“It is possible to save money while simultaneously pleasing everyone on your list, but it takes some serious organization to make the most of holiday offers without being totally consumed by them!” says Hauser. That’s where EasilyDo comes in. Like most great assistants, EasilyDo is a great multitasker and can perform lots of functions like filing your receipts from online purchases, backing up your Christmas list, clearing our expired deals from your inbox and even helping you track your packages. This is one app that definitely makes Cyber Monday shopping easier!
2. Pick a Card. If your wallet is stuffed with more cards than a Hallmark store, you know it can be tough to keep them all straight. Slip up during your Cyber Monday shopping and use the wrong card and you could end up paying late charges and overdraft fees. What’s more, you may miss out on earning cash back and other rewards that you can redeem for future purchases.
To choose the card that’ll maximize your savings and give you the best kickbacks, Karen Cordaway of MoneySavingEnthusiast recommends using the pick2pay app. This app compares the available rewards for each purchase and helps you choose which of your cards will help you get the best Cyber Monday deals. Download it today and play around with the features so you’ll be ready to roll on Monday.
3. Create a Deals Feed. Charlie Cohn, Senior Director of Content Strategy at CouponPal.com, came up with a Cyber Monday shopping tip that’s pretty genius — creating your own deals feed on Hootsuite. For those of you who may not do as much tweeting as we do, Hootsuite is an app that makes using Twitter fun and easy. With Hootsuite, you can set up a “stream” that constantly updates you on the latest deals and sales.
Simply create streams for hashtags like “CyberMonday” “sale” or “deals” then watch your tweets to get info on Cyber Monday deals as they happen. “Remember the more relevant Twitter accounts you follow, the greater chance you have of finding a deal,” says Cohn. “You also might want to set up multiple streams for the different products or stores you plan to shop for – it helps reduce the “noise” for each item and allows you to focus in on finding the best price when something goes on sale.” For more detailed instructions, check out Charlie’s guide on CouponPal.
4. Buddy Up. Jennifer Martin is a Business Coach and owner of Zest Business Consulting. She advises using the buddy system to make sure you don’t miss out on the best Cyber Monday deals.
“Imagine there are only 100 of a certain item or two that you can’t live without this year,” says Jennifer. “That’s a problem if you’re still using a dial-up internet provider or have a slow connection and you can’t get in line fast enough at the cyber sale. This is a great time to call in backup from a friend to help you race to the front of the line (by plugging away at their own computer, of course). The first one to the finish line closes the deal.” If you met up at Starbucks over a few holiday-spiced lattes, we think this idea would be a lot more fun than surfing for cute gift ideas alone.
5. Stick to a Spreadsheet. “After my first Cyber Monday experience a few years ago, I bought nothing because I was so overwhelmed,” admits Kate from BostonOnBudget. Luckily, Kate developed a system that’s helped her be more prepared.
“Every year, I create a spreadsheet of everyone I need to shop for, my budget for each person, and a few ideas I may already have as well as their interests,” says Kate. While doing her Cyber Monday shopping, Kate keeps her spreadsheet open and double-checks to make sure she’s buying the gifts she needs and not just the ones that seem like a great idea because they’re so cheap. Try using Google Drive to create your own spreadsheet before your Cyber Monday shopping this year.
Of course no list of Cyber Monday shopping tips would be complete without a mention of Find.com’s helpful search tools. We’re a great resource if you’re looking for the best Cyber Monday deals — simply search for the product, brand or category of gift you’re after and we’ll show you a wide range of items from all the best online retailers. Click on the item that catches your eye and you can even use our price comparison tool to see which site is offering the best price. It’s fast, fun and a great way to take the stress out of Cyber Monday.