Talk about clickbait! For weeks Cyber Monday ads have been flashing all around, tempting us to simply click to reveal an offer. As the countdown to Cyber Monday intensifies, so too does the pressure to spend, spend, spend. It’s no wonder that approximately 140 million Americans plan to shop the pre-holiday sales including Cyber Monday in 2022 — and spend roughly $51 billion in the process, according to Finder.com.
“It’s easy to overspend on Cyber Monday because it’s so easy to shop on the holiday,” said Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst with DealNews.com. “And given the huge focus on it being online deals, it’s easy to add a ton of products to your virtual shopping cart without really grasping how much you’re purchasing. If you’re shopping in person, you can feel how much you’re carrying or see how much your physical cart is filling up; online, that’s just not the case.”
Impulse buys are also a huge problem on online holidays like Cyber Monday.
“Some people think that shopping online means being less inclined to give in to impulse purchases, but that’s not necessarily the case either,” Ramhold said. “Retailers have related items on product pages and they may even go so far as to suggest additional purchases at ‘special rates’ during the checkout process, all of which provide a temptation to get even more than you already planned to.”
Shop With a List
“Not only will this streamline your shopping, but it can help you to avoid spending more than you want,” Ramhold said. “It also helps to note which stores you want to shop at (including backups) so that you aren’t scrambling to find the items if they sell out at one place. This can also help you to avoid impulse buys, as if it’s not on your list, it can make it easier to skip.”
Go In With a Clear Head
“More than a fifth of Americans admit to shopping under the influence, which can lead to lots of unnecessary purchases and regret,” said Laura Adams, MBA, a personal finance expert with Finder.com. “So be sure you’re thinking clearly before browsing any sales.”
Join Loyalty Programs
“If you haven’t joined loyalty programs for your favorite stores, do so before you start shopping, especially if they’re free,” Ramhold said. “Sometimes it can mean early access to a sale, which means you can jump on items faster before they have a chance to sell out, but even if you don’t get something like that, you can typically still get perks like earning points toward future purchases, receiving free shipping or bagging a free gift.”
Use Cash-Back Browser Extensions
“Extensions like Rakuten are a must-have for shopping all year round, but especially on holidays like Cyber Monday,” Ramhold said. “Stores tend to increase their cashback rates for these holidays, so it’s especially worth making sure you have the extension before you start shopping as the cash back can really add up. By the end of the season you may end up with a significant check to deposit.”
Look For Free Shipping and Promo Codes
“Another way to ensure shoppers don’t overspend this holiday season, is to look for free shipping and promo codes during the holiday shopping season,” said Mackenzie Shand, BlackFriday.com shopping expert.
“RetailMeNot features hundreds of cash-back deals that shoppers can stack on top of the sales to earn cash back in their wallet for future purchases. With such cash back deals, shoppers can get up to 20% cash back in their wallet on purchases from their favorite stores for future purchases and last-minute gifting — in just 45 days.”
Sign Up for Email Newsletters
“Very often retailers will offer extra savings for newsletter subscribers, even if it’s just for the first purchase you make,” Ramhold said. “If you haven’t signed up for newsletters for retailers you’re planning to shop, consider doing so before placing your order as you could end up saving 15% or more.”
Use a Rewards Credit Card
“Use a credit card that earns rewards if you can afford to make planned purchases,” Adams said. “That’s an excellent way to make the most of every dollar you spend.”
Look For Gift Card Deals
“Whether to gift someone else or to use on purchases for yourself, finding Cyber Monday deals on gift cards is like putting money into your wallet,” Shand said.
Wait It Out
“If you get tempted to buy something you don’t genuinely need, wait at least a few hours before hitting the buy button,” said Adams. “Often, your buying impulse will cool off, and you realize you don’t need an item after all.”
Remember Your Long-Term Financial Goals
“Reaching long-term financial goals often means making short-term sacrifices,” Adams said. “Remembering what you want to accomplish — such as investing regularly for retirement, staying out of debt and saving for emergencies — can motivate you to resist impulse spending during sales.”
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