Cyber Monday is upon us, and I for one love taking part in this fairly new tradition. Black Friday has me running for the hills. After being unable to find a parking spot at 11 a.m. at one of the largest outlet centers on the East Coast one Black Friday, I have never returned to the stores, regardless of how big the deals are. But searching the Internet for steals from the comfort of my home takes the bah-humbug out of the holiday shopping adventure. I did, however, learn a few tricks early this morning as I shopped my way through the Internet for gifts for my husband, son, and some other relatives. Here are my new rules for Cyber Monday (which might come in handy later today or next year):
1. Don't wait until later in the day. The hottest deals go fast, and the stores do run out. You can get rain checks in some cases, but you might not get the gifts you want in time for the holidays. Frankly, that just doesn't work for me. I want to be able to wrap up a nice package and put it under my tree, especially for my husband and son.
2. Only shop at stores that offer free shipping. So many of the stores offer free shipping that it is silly to waste time and money making purchases at stores that don't. You can find something just as good at a store that flips the bill for mailing it. (Some stores offer free ship to store and then you pick up your package at your local store, which is a great idea, too, if you often find yourself in the area of that store.)
3. Take time to really look at what's available. Shopping on the Internet is not the same as shopping at a store, where you can walk in, see what catches your eye or head to the sales rack. While some sales are front and center on Cyber Monday, you have to search for what you want. Use search terms or click through the categories that most stores make available to you. Click on the "Sale, Clearance, and Final Sale" links that many stores have.
4. Don't get hung up on all the gift craziness. When shopping for loved ones, especially your husband or wife, be thoughtful. Seek out meaningful presents and don't feel as though you have to spend your life savings. After all, the free gifts - kisses, hugs, support, a shoulder to lean on, love are far more precious than anything you can buy.