Cyber Monday shopping strategies for nabbing great deals

RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH
Prior to doing any shopping, research. Search for leaked ads online, promo codes, sign up for retailers' newsletters, follow favorite retailers on social media and download tools.
There are many great resources out there, including a new browser extension called PriceWaiter, which works behind the scenes (literally) to ensure you get get the best deals virtually anywhere you shop online. Bonus: It’s easy to use.
You just shop for what you want on the sites you normally shop on—including Amazon Best Buy and Walmart and even brand sites—and when you land on a page with a product where PriceWaiter can negotiate a better deal, a “Make an Offer” banner automatically appears. You then simply enter your offer for the item and PriceWaiter does the negotiating for you, often instantly.
It’s a good tool for shoppers who don’t have the time or the inclination to compare shop prices or use coupons, as that can get tedious.
ACT QUICKLY
Cyber Monday deals tend to be both limited time and limited supply. Last year, the steepest discounts were in the morning, but you have to keep your eye on the ball because often times the deals are staggered.
It’s really important that you understand the rules of the site and when the offers are valid. You also should be prepared to pounce, so be sure to check your internet speed and connection. This is a high-volume day and you don’t want to lose out because of an internet issue.
WATCH THE SELF-GIFTING
Gas prices are down, the nation’s jobless rate is at a near 50-year low, and consumer confidence is up to an 18-year high, so people are feeling good this year -- perhaps too good, as we’re seeing more impulse buys and more self-gifting. The easiest place to do this? Online.
Lessen the blow by taking stock of what you currently have and consider doing some selling online prior to buying, whether on eBay, Craigslist or more targeted sites for specific items like decluttr.com, where you can sell your cell phones, CDs, DVDs, game consoles and books. It’s easy, fast, and the payouts are great.
PAY WITH THE RIGHT CARD 
What perks does your credit card offer? If you buy something tomorrow and the price drops a few weeks later, does it offer price protection? What about purchase security if you receive something that’s damaged, lost or stolen? What about guaranteed returns if you need to send something back and the retailers won’t take it back? Extended warranty?
About half of consumers are unaware of the perks their card or cards offer, and it’s really important to know this - especially if you’re making large purchases.
Figuring out what your card covers is as simple as calling the toll-free number on the back of your card and asking.
If you do go overboard this holiday season (as many Americans likely will) and you need help managing your credit, or are even wondering about transferring your debt to a 0% APR card, creditsesame.com is an ideal resource, and one you should take advantage of.

American consumers are about to click their way into the record books.
Cyber Monday is expected to generate $7.8 billion in sales, up nearly 18% on last year, which would make it the biggest online shopping day in the U.S., according to Adobe Analytics.
That’s more than the $6.2 billion in online sales for Black Friday, up nearly 24% on last year. But it still pales in comparison to China’s $30.8 billion in spending on Alibaba Singles Day last month.
Some stores started their Cyber Monday sales early. Macy’s  has been offering “cyber week” deals until Wednesday.
Bed, Bath & Beyond  unveiled online discounts on Sunday and Amazon   also let Prime members get a head start on Sunday.
Electronics tend to take the spotlight on Cyber Monday, said Sarah Hollenbeck, a shopping and retail expert at BlackFriday.com.
Stores offer better deals on laptops, desktops and gaming computers on Cyber Monday than Black Friday, and also lower prices for accessories, she said.
Some products, including smartphones, jewelry, toys, may be cheaper at other times of year (Valentine’s Day for diamonds and New Year’s Day for exercise equipment).
Experts warn against buying older or discontinued smart-home device models because they may lack customer support and security updates.
Consumer advocates also advise consumers to stick to a strict budget, avoid add-ons, and use price-comparison tools like Shopify and PriceGrabber.
To avoid retailers targeting you with products in the days and weeks after Cyber Monday, experts suggest clearing your cache.
Cyber Monday is now giving Black Friday a run for its money in terms of consumer interest, but that doesn’t mean the deals are worth shopping.
This year, Americans plan to spend $803 on average between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, an increase from $743 last year, according to a survey conducted by deals website RetailMeNot.
And nearly as many consumers plan to shop for holiday gifts at online-only retailers (60%) as department stores (67%), making the web-based bargains from Cyber Monday an even bigger draw.
But not all sales are created equal. Here is what experts suggest consumers avoid buying on Cyber Monday:
Smartphones
Small electronics, including smartphones, were No. 1 for the majority of holiday wish lists, according to RetailMeNot. But consumers hunting for a bargain on a new smartphone should either plan to shop the Black Friday sales or wait until December, said Brent Shelton, online shipping expert with PR firm Bospar.
“Generally speaking, the incentivized deals for smartphones we see on Black Friday do not carry over” to Cyber Monday, he said. Consumers may benefit from holding off until the first weekend in December, when carriers begin their final holiday sales push. Apple   doesn’t discount new iPhones, but wireless companies offer deals.
Electronics
Door-buster prices on 4K TVs and streaming devices are more likely to be found on Black Friday, Shelton said. But any sales that do come around on Cyber Monday won’t last long.
Smart-home devices may see major deals on Cyber Monday, but experts say consumers should still steer clear.
“While some older versions of connected home devices will be sale-priced on Cyber Monday, buyers should keep in mind that more dated models, particularly from less established brands, may be subject to a lack of customer support and security updates in the coming years,” said Harold Li, vice president at ExpressVPN.com, a company that offers a virtual private network services.
“This is especially important for devices where security is critical, like smart speakers, smart locks, and internet-connected cameras,” he added.
Winter clothing
As with Black Friday, discounts for winter coats and sweaters will abound on Cyber Monday. But that doesn’t mean the deals are worth buying. The best time to buy winter clothing is in January, when retailers will reduce prices in an effort to clear shelves for the new spring clothing lines, said Phillip Dengler, co-owner of savings website BestBlackFriday.com.
Jewelry
The sales on jewelry will be less sterling than clothing discounts, said Sara Skirboll, shopping and trends expert at RetailMeNot. In fact, consumers should hold off on buying those diamond earrings until the New Year. “Everything gets deeply discounted in time for Valentine’s Day, so January is going to be when you find all of those big bargains,” Skirboll said.
Toys
Retailers often run out of the most popular toys and video gaming systems of the season — such as Hatchimals and the Nintendo Switch — so consumers may not be able to get these at a discount if they’re must-have. The best time to buy most toys though is mid-December, when stores are looking to unload remaining inventory ahead of Christmas, Dengler said. “Do not wait too long, however,” he said. “You will see great prices after Dec. 17, but the inventory and selection may no longer be desirable.”
Furniture and kitchen appliances
Retailers like to hype their sales on home furnishings and d├ęcor this time of year. But chances are the deals aren’t all that special. As BlackFriday.com notes, these items go on sale regularly throughout the year. So unless consumers have their heart set on a particular item, they won’t miss out on much by prioritizing other purchases come Cyber Monday.
Meanwhile, big-box retailers and department stores like Target    or Sears  are likely to run promotions on Black Friday for kitchen items such as stand-mixers and waffle irons. But those deals are likely to be one-day-only affairs, Shelton said.
Athletic apparel and gym equipment
Your friend or family member may be mulling that New Year’s resolution to get in shape — but you’re better off waiting until January to buy them that new set of weights. People really decide to follow through on their New Year’s resolutions in January even if they have forgotten them by February. “Retailers understand that, so that’s when they’re offering their big promotions to compete and drive traffic to their stores,” Skirboll said.