Cyber Monday 2012 is here. It’s expected to be the biggest online shopping day of the year with Americans spending $1.5 billion, with a b, on this day alone.
All day we’re here to help you save money as you shop online. We’ll post the most noteworthy deals on our website and Twitter. We’ll take personal requests on our Facebook page of things you’d like to find a deal on.
Here’s a quick Cyber Monday primer to get you ready for this biggest online shopping day of the year. I welcome your questions and ideas in the comment section at the end of this article.
How Will Cyber Monday Compare to Black Friday?
Yes, there are always a few unbeatable prices on Black Friday, but we’ll see lots of noteworthy deals on Monday 11/26 as well. The discounts might not be quite as deep in some cases, but they will still be some of the best of the season.
Why Online Shopping? It’s Cheaper.
I prefer shopping online because it is usually cheaper. At a store I can get a sale and maybe combine that with a coupon. When I’m at home on my computer, I can combine all these discounts:
- Coupon code
- Shop through a cash back site
- Pay with discounted e-gift card (limit your search to e-codes)
Shipping Doesn’t Have to Kill the Deal
I’ve talked extensively in times past about how to get free shipping. Those ideas remain. Yes, you can use a coupon code, opt to have something sent from the retailer’s website to their store, or you can use a site’s membership benefit.
Amazon Prime gives you free 2-day shipping from Amazon.com with no minimum purchase, but it costs $79/year or $7.99/month. Students can get a free account via Amazon Student. Anyone who’s not had a Prime account in the last 13 months can get a free 1-month Prime trial (be sure to deselect the auto-renew option as soon as you join to avoid being charged).
Similarly, if you have a Target REDCard (I prefer the debit card over the credit card), then you get free shipping from Target.com.
Online Shopping Security Tips
I take my personal online security and yours very seriously. There are a number of things you can do to protect your personal and financial information when you shop online.
- Avoid shopping from public wifi. Coffee shops, libraries and other public places are easy prey for internet bad guys to place malware. The malware they can inject into a public network allows them to monitor and record the activity happening over that public connection. Your best bet is to shop from home, but work can be a second alternative.
- Shop secure sites. Be sure that whatever site you are on has an “s” after the “http” part of the website address. For instance httpS:// (emphasis added) indicates that the information is transferred securely.
- Get a 1-time use credit card number. Most credit card issuers will provide you with a one-time use number. You enter that number when you shop online, but should anyone attempt to use it a second time and the charge will be declined.
- Use a prepaid card. You’ll pay an upfront fee to get a prepaid debit card, but this is a very secure alternative. The American Express Prepaid Card is one of the best prepaid cards on the market because it has minimal fees. I’ve owned two prepaid cards in my life – an Amex and a Visa (I won them both in contests) and used them exclusively to shop online. I have found that some smaller retailers don’t accept prepaid cards as a form of payment (AmEx or otherwise). I’ve not had an issue using one at any large retailer.
What’s on your shopping list today? How can we help you save the most money this holiday season?