If you missed the weekend rush but still want to save some money on your holiday shopping, you might consider shopping on Cyber Monday - the online equivalent of Black Friday. Kelli Grant, Senior Consumer Reporter for SmartMoney.com, explains.
Thanks to the recession, there won't be as many holiday shopping deals as last year. In 2008, retailers over-ordered their holiday stock because very few people saw the recession coming. This overstock lead to deep discounts for the holidays.
This year, however, retailers were prepared. There won't be as much extra stock as last year, which means there will still be discounts, but they won't be as drastic.
In the same respect, Grant suggests shopping early this year. Because stores have ordered less merchandise, they're more likely to run out of the item you want more quickly. "A lot of the Cyber Monday deals have actually been in place since Sunday morning," says Grant. Many people choose to do their Cyber Monday shopping while they're at work, but if you can shop earlier, you're more likely to get better deals.
The deals are still out there, though. If you're interested in shopping on Cyber Monday, but aren't sure what deals are out there, visit www.CyberMonday.com. "It's a partnership with the retailers and the National Retail Federation," says Grant. "They've got pretty much all the deals there." Don't forget to sift through your email, too. If you ever gave a retailer your email address, chances are, they'll send you an email with deals for Cyber Monday.
Grant also suggests looking for sites that offer free shipping, which most retailers do on Cyber Monday. This helps to compete with the deals offered in stores. "The sales are pretty good in stores, and you're not going to find a comparable deal on line unless free shipping is really part of that," says Grant. If your store of choice isn't offering free shipping, visit sites like www.RetailMeNot.com or www.CouponShack.com.
Hanging on to your receipts can also save you some money. Just like the rest of the year, many stores will honor price adjustments and competitor's prices if you have proof. "From here, retailers kind of know what their sales are looking like and the deals are only going to get better from here," says Grant. "It's entirely likely that something you bought this weekend is going to have a better price tag in the next week or two." You won't be able to get that price adjustment without your receipt, though.
Finally, stay organized and honor your budget. Be sure to include costs other than gifts, such as decorations, travel and party items. Make a list of who you have to buy for and possible gift ideas for each person. Once you buy something, cross if off the list. If you can help it, keep gifts in one location in your home so you don't risk misplacing something. Do your best to stay on track because it can really add up and, "It can be a little shocking," says Grant.
For more information on Cyber Monday and trimming your holiday budget, click here to visit www.SmartMoney.com.
By Erin Petrun
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