Saving Money

5 Saving Strategies for Cyber Monday

Getting ready to do some of your holiday shopping on Cyber Monday? Assuming you’ve established a budget and know what gifts you’re after, here’s what you can expect as the biggest online spending day of the year, for the 4th year running, rapidly approaches:

Minimal Leaks

Unlike Black Friday, where the deals get leaked about a week (if not weeks) in advance, Cyber Monday is ultra-secretive, says Brad Wilson, founder of Bradsdeals.com and CyberMonday2014.com. “Retailers take a more reactionary approach.  It’s much more data-driven than it is on Black Friday; retailers essentially wait and see how the weekend went and that dictates just how aggressive they are with their promotions. For the most part, it’s on the fly.”

A Three-day Extravaganza

As you know, the holiday shopping period creeps up earlier each year: Black Friday now starts on Thursday, and Cyber Monday now starts on Sunday (when one in four shoppers plan to start shopping)! But did you know that Cyber Monday extends to Tuesday as well? “Retailers are going to make Tuesday the day to ‘Look Again,’” says Brent Shelton, an online shopping expert with FatWallet.com, which compares all the hottest deals (and enhances them by adding cash back from retailers like Walmart, Best Buy, Target and Kohl’s). “They’re going to make Tuesday extra special by throwing in new things that shoppers didn’t see on Cyber Monday.”

New Set of Deals & Carry-overs

Retailers need to keep things fresh and interesting, but they also need to move merchandise and clear out inventory.  Therefore, anything that doesn’t sell out over the Black Friday weekend will carry over into Cyber Monday, and a fresh new set of deals will entice shoppers to spend on what is projected to be a $2.5 billion-dollar day.

Storewide Discounts

Remember last year’s Cyber Monday sales when we saw amazing storewide online discounts, like 40% off everything at Gap and Banana Republic? A whopping 50% off everything at The Body Shop? Expect similar storewide discounts again this Cyber Monday, says Shelton.  We’re talking 20-60% off everything in a variety of categories, from clothing, shoes, home items, tools, and more. This makes it an excellent day to stock up/buy multiple items at your favorite retailers, particularly if you need to reach spending thresholds in order to qualify for free shipping.

Double cash back

Shop on Ebates.com on Cyber Monday, and you’ll get double cash back at many of its retail partners — Sears, JC Penney, Macy’s, Amazon, Land’s End and hundreds more.  The system is simple: stores pay Ebates a sales commission for sending shoppers their way, and Ebates uses the commission to pay you cash back. There are no codes to enter, no points to redeem, no fees, no catches – it’s just an easy way both save and earn. You get your rebate, which usually comes in the form of a mailed check or PayPal payment, in about 90 days.

Vera Gibbons, Mint Contributor and Personal Finance expert