This year, Cyber Monday falls on November 30—but the best online shopping deals are likely to start as early as mid-November. Why? Two reasons. First, online shopping has taken over a larger and larger percentage of the holiday shopping season. In 2019, for example, both Black Friday and Cyber Monday set new online shopping records, with CNBC reporting that Black Friday online sales were up by 22.3 percent and Cyber Monday sales were up by 19.7 percent.
The other reason that Cyber Monday online sales may begin well in advance of November 30 is related to 2020’s coronavirus pandemic. With more people working (and parenting and teaching) from home, retailers are creating deals designed to help people shop without leaving the house. Many retailers are also trying to avoid in-person shopping events that might lead to the unnecessary spread of COVID-19, such as Black Friday doorbusters.
This means that if you want to take advantage of the best Cyber Monday deals, you have to plan ahead and be ready to start shopping well before Thanksgiving. Although some retailers may save their best online deals for November 30, it’s just as likely that you’ll see significant discounts on tech, appliances, clothing, toys and more well before Cyber Monday begins.
Knowing what you want to buy, how much you can afford to spend and how to spot a good deal will help you make savvy shopping choices—and starting your holiday shopping early might even help you save a little money.
Want to know how to save on Cyber Monday? Here are four tips to help you stick to your budget, identify the best Cyber Monday deals, take advantage of the entire Black Friday season and earn rewards on everything you buy.
1. Make a plan before you shop
How much can you save on Cyber Monday? A lot—if you don’t end up spending more than you can afford. One of the reasons retailers like Amazon and Walmart offer Cyber Monday sales is because these kinds of deals make people more inclined to say yes to impulse buys and other types of emotional spending. If you’re not careful, you could end up spending a lot more money on Cyber Monday than you planned—and you might run the risk of going into credit card debt. That’s why it’s a good idea to make a plan before you start making purchases:
Create a holiday shopping budget that includes not only gifts for family and friends but also any Cyber Monday deals that you hope to snag for yourself.
Divide your shopping list into “must buy” and “maybe buy,” so you know which purchases to prioritize.
Put a few alternate items on your list, just in case there aren’t any good Cyber Monday sales for some of the gifts you plan to buy (or in case the sales are so good that the item sells out).
Decide exactly how much money you want to spend during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping season, and try to avoid going over that amount.
Remember to include a little wiggle room in your holiday shopping budget so you can grab one or two Cyber Monday deals that aren’t on your list.
2. Compare retailers to get the best Cyber Monday deals
A lot of retailers will be offering Cyber Monday sales—but how do you know which retailers have the best Cyber Monday deals? If you want to make sure you’re getting the best price for every item on your Cyber Monday list, take the time to comparison-shop.
Before you add any items to your cart, visit all of the major retailers—Walmart, Amazon, Target, Best Buy and so on—to see which outlet is offering the best price. You might be surprised to learn which online store actually has the best deals on televisions, appliances or toys.
If you want to speed up your comparison-shopping, check out the annual Cyber Monday deals lists created by reputable news sites such as CNN, CNET or Money.com. These kinds of lists can help you learn which retailers are offering the best Cyber Monday discounts—which can save you both time and money during your Cyber Monday shopping spree.
3. Don’t ignore Black Friday sales
Do you save more on Black Friday or Cyber Monday? This year, the answer might be both—especially for people who plan to do the bulk of their holiday shopping online. The coronavirus pandemic has prompted many retailers to rethink their Black Friday sales strategies to accommodate social distancing guidelines and give people the opportunity to make more of their purchases from home.
What does this mean for you? Instead of a single day of doorbusters and crowded stores, 2020 holiday shoppers can expect a longer Black Friday shopping season with many more online deals. Although some retailers may still reserve their best online deals for Cyber Monday, it’s a good idea to begin comparison-shopping and deal-hunting as soon as the Black Friday sales begin. That way, you can buy when the price is right—whether that’s on Black Friday, Cyber Monday or several days before Thanksgiving.
4. Earn rewards on your purchases
Want to know how to save on Cyber Monday? First, use our tips to make sure you’re getting the best Cyber Monday deals. Then, make sure you earn rewards on everything you buy.
There are many ways to earn credit card rewards on your Cyber Monday purchases. If you use a top cash back rewards card, for example, you can earn cash back on everything you buy—but you might also want to consider one of the best credit cards for online shopping.
The Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card offers 5 percent cash back for purchases made at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Market, which means you could earn rewards on both your Cyber Monday shopping and your Thanksgiving dinner. If you plan on doing most of your shopping at Walmart or Target, consider applying for the Capital One Walmart RewardsTM Card or the Target REDcard. Having the right retail credit card in your wallet is just one more way to save during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday shopping season.