Cyber Monday: How To Avoid Online Shopping Pitfalls

By Trista
Cyber Monday: How To Avoid Online Shopping Pitfalls

Move over Black Friday, as Cyber Monday is right behind you on becoming the biggest shopping day of the year. It’s not surprising that many people are beginning to look forward to Cyber Monday over Black Friday. After all, you can shop for some of the best deals of the year on Amazon or your favorite online store without dealing with hundreds – or even thousands – of curmudgeonly people. 

Cyber Monday allows you to shop from the comfort of your bed, couch, or anywhere in your home. Once you pay for the items, the stores will ship them directly to your door. Cyber Monday is known to eliminate a lot of hassle that Black Friday brings. However, capturing the best deals takes work, and you still need to ensure you are safe from identity theft and computer fraud. Once you make the decision to get your holiday shopping done online, there are a few aspects to consider. We broke down the best tips to make your online Cyber Monday experience go smoothly, and the list begins here.

People love to shop on Amazon on Cyber Monday. Unsplash.

40. Use Social Media To Follow Your Favorite Retailers

Most businesses have at least one social media account. You can find their account through a search, asking them, or they might have a link on their website. If you have a social media account, check out your favorite retailers and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media platform. 

If you are a visual shopper, you definitely want to check out Instagram or Pinterest. Facebook is excellent for anyone who is looking for relevant information on sales. Twitter is the best platform when it comes to time-sensitive deals. 

Staying organized can help you breeze through your Cyber Monday experience. Pixabay.

39. Create A Spreadsheet With Sales Information

Know your organizational system when you start looking at Cyber Monday deals. Once you notice a sale for an item on your list, place this item into a spreadsheet on your computer with a link. 

Through your spreadsheet, you can run through the items you are getting on Cyber Monday quickly. Many stores will only have specific deals for so long, such as four to six hours, or there is a limited number of items for sale. You’ll want to make sure to note this information so you know when to purchase these items.

Set your alarm if you don’t stay up late the night before to do your shopping. Pexels.

38. Rise Early On Cyber Monday

Just because you can shop on your phone or computer doesn’t mean you don’t need to pay attention to the time. Most retail stores will have their Cyber Monday deals for 24 hours, and you might feel this gives you a lot of time. 

Many people treat Cyber Monday like Black Friday. They will go on the website as soon as the sale starts and purchase all the items they need quickly. Stores will only have a certain number of items and waiting until 11:00 A.M. because you wanted to sleep in might mean you lose out on good sales.

Avoid shopping on a public computer such as one at a library, especially when entering credit card information. Pixabay.

37. Shop In Private Mode As Anonymously As Possible

While setting your browser in private mode, using gift cards, and following other safety procedures is not a foolproof way to secure your identity, all the measures you take will help. Using private mode can also help hide your shopping history from several people. 

You will be amazed at what retail stores know about people who shop online with them. You might not want anyone to see this information, and private mode will help with this. It can also help you if you need to do a little shopping while you are supposed to work. 

Add-ons will push you out of your budget quickly. Pexels.

36. Resist Add-Ons

That extra set of nail polish for your niece or the game for an additional $5 off if you add it to your cart sounds excellent. However, hitting “add to cart” for add-ons can make you go over your budget quickly. You always need to remember to stick to your budget. 

Retails stores have more add-on specials on Cyber Monday as they make more money this way. It takes a lot of self-discipline to become a successful Cyber Monday shopper, but this is what you want to do to ensure you don’t go over your budget.

Free shipping on Cyber Monday can help you save money. Pixabay.

35. Research Shipping Fees

The majority of retailers will offer free shipping on all orders through Cyber Monday (somedays earlier), as this will bring more people into their store. Because there are so many stores that offer free shipping, it’s advised you stay away from retail businesses that have you pay for shipping. 

If you do feel that you want or need an item and the store does not offer free shipping, look at how much you will pay for shipping. Ask yourself if it is feasible or if you should look for the same item at a store that offers free shipping.

Patience is essential so you can find the best deals. Pexels.

34. Stay Patient

When we shop, especially when our time is limited, we tend to throw our patience out the window. We want the items on our shipping list now because they are the best deals we will find, right? Wrong. You might find a better deal if you continue to have patience. 

When you feel the need to “hurry up,” take a breath and make sure you are looking at every detail of the item and the sale. Take a step back and analyze how much you really need the item, especially if it’s not on your list.

Small businesses might have better deals, so don’t forget to check them out! Pixabay.

33. Remember The Smaller Stores

Cyber Monday deals used to be for the bigger stores. Part of the reason for this is because many smaller retail stores did not have a website established for their business. However, now, most companies have some type of online store and will take advantage of Cyber Monday. 

Look beyond your regular online stores and think of other local stores. Do a bit of research and keep your options open when it comes to looking at new stores. Compare prices, items, and note what type of quality the store displays. Sometimes, you can save money by shopping at small stores. 

Researching before Cyber Monday will help you find the best prices. Pexels.

32. Do Research Before Cyber Monday 

The research might take time, but it will help you in the long run. You can go to your favorite retail websites to check out their deals, or browse several websites that will do most of the research of the work for you and let you know the results, such as what sales are online for you and when. 

One mistake many Cyber Monday shoppers make is ignoring the Back Friday websites for deals because they don’t think the sites have Cyber Monday deals, but they do. Digitaltrends.com and techradar.com are a couple of great Cyber Monday websites. 

Loyalty programs are another great way to find deals and save money. Unsplash.

31. Loyalty Programs Give You Great Deals

Loyalty programs are available to members of a retail store. One of the great benefits of loyalty programs is you will get information about deals before anyone else. Sometimes, you can even shop before other customers. 

Loyalty programs will also give members exclusive deals, such as another 5% off your total purchase or a particular item. You might get extra coupons, a monthly sales list, and any other benefits the store feels necessary. Loyalty programs are a great way to stay up-to-date on the happenings of your favorite retail store. 

Keep your searching safe and use the retailer websites. Pixabay.

30. Don’t Use A Search Engine For Your Shopping Research

Sometimes shoppers don’t know exactly where to look to find the best deals for an item, so they will do a quick Google search to find the best deals. However, hackers and scammers know their way around the primary search engines and you can quickly become a target. 

Instead of using Google, think about what retail stores, such as Walmart, Target, and Best Buy, would have your item and search within the store’s website. It is harder for people to scam or hack into these types of sites because they have strong security.

Security needs to be your first priority when you are shopping on Cyber Monday. Pixabay.

29. Purchase Items From Sites With Good Security

You might find it frustrating when you need to enter your password multiple times before completing a purchase or have to go through other security measures, but this is a lot better than someone stealing your identity. 

You can also use a web browser if you don’t already, which will alert you of a website that doesn’t have active security measures. This tip will allow you to know what sites are compromised, which increases your chances of identity theft. If you shop on your phone, check to see if your favorite retailer has an app.

Never reuse your passwords or use the same password for multiple sites as this will increase your chances of identity theft. Pixabay.

28. If You Need To Create An Account, Use A Unique Password

You’ve heard this before and you’ll hear it again, but creating a unique password will help keep you protected from hackers, especially if you need to set up your account around Cyber Monday. While it is a pain to remember all your passwords, it is less of a pain than dealing with identity theft. 

There are many passwords that you can use, and it’s never a bad idea to create a list of passwords. You can use the names of your animals or a mix of letters and numbers. There are also password manager apps that can help you. 

Always type any link directly into the URL to see if a suspicious deal is real or fake. Unsplash.

27. Throw Any Email Attachments About Cyber Monday In The Virtual Trash

You might have already received a large number of emails about Cyber Monday deals. Most of these contain malware and are from scammers or hackers looking for a quick payday. The best step to take with any email that talks about Cyber Monday, unless it is from your trusted store, is to delete them. 

The attachments that have PDF or Microsoft Word documents are highly suspicious. Every email from a store should have a link to their website. But you don’t want to click the link. Instead, you want to type it directly into your URL. 

You can save money on small and more significant items during Cyber Monday. Pixabay.

26. Look At All Of The Items On Your List

People often think that Cyber Monday is the best day to buy some of the more essential items you or someone else needs, such as a new dishwasher or television. These items are relatively cheap on Cyber Monday, and you don’t have to pay for shipping, which saves you even more money. 

It is important to remember that stores place several items on their Cyber Monday list. You might find that the little jewelry box your cousin wants is 50% off. Look closely at all the items so you don’t miss something smaller than you need.

Coupons can help you save even more money. Pexels.

25. Don’t Forget About Coupon Tools

There are many apps that you can download to your phone that will allow you to save extra money on your Cyber Monday purchases. All you need to do is make sure that the retail store will accept the coupon code during their Cyber Monday deals. 

Another benefit of the coupon tools is the apps will let you compare prices without going from retailer to retailer. This online shopping tip can cut down on your research time and allow you to focus on getting organized. Not only do you want to check out the store’s app, but also Flipp, ShopKick, and ShopSavvy.

A newsletter is a great email marketing tool that allows retailers to spread the word about their best sales.

24. Sign Up For Your Favorite Retailer’s Newsletter

You might not believe that stores still have newsletters, but most do. Retailers will usually place their deals before they start in their newsletters. To sign up for most retailers, all you need to do is submit your email to them, and you are good to go. It takes about 5 seconds and is free. 

Newsletters will not only give you the best sales for the Cyber Monday but the holiday season. Some retailers will provide you with links to take you directly to the item on sale. This idea helps when it comes to searching for the best Christmas presents. 

Only give out information if it makes sense for your shopping experience and is typical to give out when it comes to retail stores. Pixabay.

23. Never Give Out Extra Information

No retail store needs to know your social security number or your security questions and answers. If you are on a website and they start asking for information that most retail sites do not, you are most likely on a scammers website and need to get out immediately. 

Think about how functional the information you are giving pertains to the website. Once you are on the scammer’s website, it is easy for them to get into your information. No one needs to know or should be asking about any of your contacts or if you have a camera. 

An Apple Watch has different versions, and knowing what you need can make or break a deal for you. Pixabay.

22. Know Your Deal Breakers

There are many items on your list that have more than one version. For example, if you have a fit bit on your list, you can choose one that has all the features or one that has the features you need. Knowing what you need and what you can do without it is essential when you are shopping. 

If you find that you need to have the best, you will get the latest version and save very little money. However, if you only need half of the features, you might get the version released two years ago and save money.

Checking your list twice will not help you find out who is naughty or nice, but it will help ease your Cyber Monday shopping experience. Unsplash.

21. Check Your Shopping List Twice

You have already created your list and went over it. You might even know where some of the best deals are for your items. But what you haven’t done is what we tell kids Santa does and check your list twice. 

Checking your list twice is like preparing for your online shopping adventure. You can go from site-to-site and look for the item. Take time to read about the item again, including all the small print and make sure you have found the return policies just in case.

Make sure you find the best prices during Cyber Monday by comparing rates. Pexels.

20. Compare Prices Before You Buy

It’s easy to fall into the trap of saving money. You see that the item you need is 25% off at one store, so you buy it. You then go to your next online shipping retail store and see the same item is 30% off. 

Keep yourself from this frustrating experience by doing your research and compare prices before Cyber Monday. Stores will usually give you plenty of time to look over their deals, which allows you to price compare and note which store holds the best deal. 


Leaving your shopping cart with some items in it for a few hours will sometimes give you exclusive deals. Pixabay.

19. Sometimes Abandoning Your Cart Helps Get More Deals

You will be amazed at how many retail stores pay attention to, especially when it comes to customers. Through their websites, stores can pay attention to what type of items are selling the most, and when people abandon their carts. 

Place a few items into your cart and then close your browser for a few hours. You might find an email from the store with the subject heading, “We see you forgot something in your cart.” Store want to ensure you use them for your buying needs so that this email can include a code for an extra 10% off.

Hold on to your credit card for a few days after Cyber Monday for the other deals. Pexels.

18. Don’t Forget About Tuesday or Wednesday 

Some people feel that Cyber Monday is limited to one day, but it isn’t necessarily true. Some stores will start earlier, close to a week early. Other stores will have different deals after Cyber Monday as they want to get rid of some items for good. 

Take some time on Tuesday, Wednesday, and the rest of the week to continue your shopping. Don’t be surprised if you find that some items are cheaper now compared to Cyber Monday. This notion happens, especially when retail stores need to get rid of extra items.

Make sure you are protected from hackers when it comes to Cyber Monday. Pixabay.

17. Shop From A Secure Computer Or Your Phone

One of the biggest concerns for online shoppers on Cyber Monday is hackers and identity theft. There is a good reason for this because hackers are prepared when it comes to Cyber Monday. They know there are a lot of unsuspecting people, and hackers are ready to attack. 

Hackers can be anywhere from snooping around a library looking for someone putting in their card information to working remotely. One of the best steps you can take is to shop from a secure computer. This idea might mean you don’t meet your friend in a public place to Cyber Monday shop together. 

Price alerts can help you during your research process and keep you up-to-date on any price changes. Unsplash.

16. Set Up Price Alerts

No matter how much you want to be on your phone or computer all day researching the best deals, it is not possible. You have a job, a family, errands to run, etc. Like most people, you are incredibly busy and might not have time to check prices or do your daily research at the end of the day. 

If it is an option, sign up for price alerts. You will automatically receive notification through email or text message if there is a change in price. One of the best and secure sites for price alerts is SlickDeals. 

A shopping list can help you stay organized and keep to your budget. Pixabay.

15. Start Your Holiday Shopping List Early

You might already do this, especially if you start your holiday shopping early. But many people wait until the last minute to begin putting their list together. Starting your holiday shopping list early can help you stay on budget, get an early start, and know precisely what you need during Cyber Monday. 

Most retail stores will start advertising their Cyber Monday deals at least a couple of weeks before the big day. This idea will allow you to compare prices and give you a chance to find alternatives for the popular items on your list. 

Don’t stop looking at discounts when you find the retail store’s deal; look at other trusted apps and browser extensions to save even more. Pixabay.

14. Always Look For Other Discounts

There are discounts, no matter where you go when it comes to Cyber Monday deals. People prepare a lot of discounts from a decrease in prices to additional coupons and other services as businesses will make more money when their customers save more money. 

One of the best tools to help you find other discounts is a browser extension known as Rakuten. It will let you know when there are other deals when you visit a website. All you need to do to activate the deal is to click it and you are good to go.

Some deals are too good to be true, and you need to watch out for them to protect yourself from scammers. Pixabay.

13. Watch Out For The Too-Good-To-Be-True Deal

Unfortunately, some Cyber Monday deals are too good to be true. They are also easy deals to fall for, leaving you in a direct path of a scammer. Cybercriminals know that Cyber Monday is a huge day and they can get away with a lot of money. 

The most significant things you want to watch out for are emails, pop-up advertisements, and text messages. The main targets are social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, as people are used to pop-up ads that are real. Be aware of clicking any links as they can lead you to harmful websites. 

Every store has different return policies, so do your research before you buy it. Pixabay.

12. Know Return and Exchange Policies

Every store is different when it comes to their return and exchange policies. The store might have different policies for Cyber Monday, which means you need to know what you are getting yourself into before you purchase any item. 

You can find the return and exchange policy information directly on the website or by calling the store. To keep them close by, you can include the news in your spreadsheet. This Cyber Monday tip will allow you quick access and keep you from confusing one store’s policy with another store. 

Prepare your check out process through a secure app or by getting your cart ready for Cyber Monday. Unsplash.

11. Prepare Your Checkout Process Ahead Of Time

While adding the items into your cart might not be an option, you can always do what you can to prepare your check out. If you are using gift cards or another card to make your purchases, you can place the numbers into your account to make the process quicker. 

You can also use a tool to help make the check out process more secure. One device is known as Token, which generates a one-time use number when you shop. It can connect to pretty much any bank account in the United States and is easily accessible with Chrome Extension. 

Bookmark any potential retail sites that you might use during Cyber Monday to keep you organized and get to the sales quickly. Pexels.

10. Bookmark Your Favorite Retail Websites 

You should start researching for Cyber Monday deals a couple of weeks before the big day. This online shopping tip will allow you to find the best deals and even new retail stores. If you haven’t shopped at a store before, but discover something on your list, bookmark that website so you can quickly go back to it. 

You might decide to not shop at that store for several reasons, but having each retail site bookmarked will allow you to compare prices and deals so you can save the most money and remain in your budget. 

Improve your shopping experience every year by using the previous experience as guidance. Pexels.

9. Use Past Years As Sales Guidance

Even if this is your first-year Cyber Monday shopping, you can use your shopping past as guidance to give you the best shopping experience. You may also research previous Cyber Monday deals from retail stores through a quick Google search. 

Look at past years and see if you can find a cycle or pattern within the retail store. Most stores will have different deals every year because people are more likely to come back with different deals. However, many retail stores will stick to a certain percentage off or similar sales. 

Bonus incentives can help you save money in the long run. Unsplash.

8. Don’t Forget About Bonus Incentives

Retail stores will do anything they can to get the best out of Cyber Monday. They might look like they are putting themselves in debt, but they tend to make more money the weekend after Thanksgiving than any other day of the year because of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.

Retail stores also want you to come back and shop with them again. Therefore, many of them will offer specific incentives, such as a free gift card of $5 when you purchase so much or because you are a first-time customer.

Have a little fun with Cyber Monday shopping by budgeting some money on your list for a fun treat. Pixabay.

7. Don’t Stress Out Over Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday can bring a lot of stress, especially when you are on a tight budget and trying to get the best deals. Plus, you need to make sure that you are using a secure site and browsing in private mode to up your security. 

However, Cyber Monday is meant to be a fun shopping experience and give you a little breather when it comes to your Christmas shopping list or getting good deals on items you need around your home. Don’t keep it all business. Save a little money for yourself and get something nice.

Gift cards allow you to store your money for Cyber Monday and safely pay for your items online. Pexels.

6. Get As Many Discounted Gift Cards As Possible

Security is always a factor when you are shopping online. Gift cards are a great alternative to your debit or credit cards as there is limited access to any personal information. Stock up on discounted gift cards early as this will help you save money in the long run. 

Before you purchase a gift card, look at the fine print. Make sure you can use the gift card for exclusive deals as some retail stores will limit the card’s use. Online clearinghouses such as Deals Plus and Cardcash are great places to look for discounted gift cards.

Avoid installing any new software because you will regret using that space later. Pexels.

5. Don’t Install Software From A Link Or Code Onto Your Mobile Device

It doesn’t matter if you are using your phone or iPad; you do not want to install software onto your device that comes from a website link or code. Your best bet to find any app of your favorite retail store is to use Apple iTunes App or Google Play Store. 

You want to make sure that the way you are shopping is linked to the retail store, and it is official. Anyone can create a website, create a link, and make you believe that it is attached to Cyber Monday deals and your favorite store. 

Monitoring your bank account will make you notice any suspicious activity immediately. Pixabay.

4. Monitor Your Bank Account For Suspicious Activity

While you should always get in the habit of carefully watching your bank account to make sure you don’t have suspicious activity, this is incredibly important after Cyber Monday. There are a lot of people who know this is one of the biggest online shopping days of the year, and they are ready to find a card number to steal. 

Sign in to your bank account online every day and note what has come through to your bank account. Take careful note of everything you have purchased and marked it down once it comes through your bank. 

Cashback helps you save even more money during Cyber Monday. Pixabay.

3. Use A Cashback App Or Reward Credit Cards

Cyber Monday is a great day to get the best out of your reward cards or cashback app. This online shopping tip will allow you to save more money in the long run. Some people are allowed to keep these rewards or cash for a year, so they use them for their next Cyber Monday experience. 

Flat-rate cash back credit cards offered by Chase or Citi are a couple of the best for Cyber Monday deals. If you don’t care for credit cards or you don’t have the best credit, then you want to look at cashback apps. 

Don’t forget about the walk-in stores as they might have good deals on Cyber Monday, especially if their Black Friday sales are lower than expected. Pixabay.

2. Don’t Ignore Walk-In Stores

You might shop online for local stores, but you can still take time on Cyber Monday to walk into a store. Even walk-in stores will have exclusive deals on Cyber Monday. You can also save on shipping by picking up your items at the store. 

One of the biggest benefits of shopping at a store during Cyber Monday is that the Black Friday crowd will be gone. They have what they want, so there won’t be a lot of people in the store. This shopping tip also allows you to pick up any items that you might have forgotten online.

Setting a budget will help you stay out of debt. Pixabay.

1. Set A Budget And Stick With It

It is easy to lose track of how much money you are really spending when you don’t pay attention to your budget. You might see the items you need at 25% and 50% off, but the money still adds up faster than you think.

Even though it might seem like a great deal two buy something that is not on your list or notices a price is higher than you planned, you need to stick to your budget. This option is the best way to ensure you don’t find yourself in debt during the holidays. 

Sources:

“Top 17 Cyber Monday Shopping Tips to Score the Best Deals.” Brian Martucci, Money Crashers. November 2019

https://www.moneycrashers.com/cyber-monday-shopping-tips/

“7 Tips For Cyber Monday Shopping.” Money tips. 

https://www.moneytips.com/7-tips-for-cyber-monday-shopping

“Cyber Monday 2019 – 6 Tips for Shopping On a Budget.” Joseph Sibony, Money Under 30. November 2019. 

https://www.moneyunder30.com/cyber-monday-shopping-tips-on-a-budget

“9 Tips to Help You Shop Safely on Cyber Monday.” Sue Marquette Poremba, Tom’s Guide. November 2019. 

https://www.tomsguide.com/us/cyber-monday-safety-tips,review-1956.html

“Top 10 Cyber Monday Shopping Tips for 2018.” James K. Willcox, Consumer Reports. November 2018. 

https://www.consumerreports.org/shopping-retail/top-10-cyber-monday-shopping-tips/

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