After my little misstep a few weeks ago, our Thanksgiving plans have changed a little bit. I always host Thanksgiving. And the past few years Dan and I have had a turkey cookoff and a stuffing challenge, that is always fun. But since I can’t walk, cooking a big meal and entertaining is just not in the cards. Even though it’s a lot of work, I love hosting Thanksgiving and I will miss it tremendously, especially how good the house smells. There is nothing like a turkey roasting in the oven to get you salivating.
Not having to cook will free me up for some serious Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping though. You gotta look on the bright side of things, right?
I am not one of those wake up at 3 a.m. to go stand in the cold outside of Best Buy or Walmart to get one of 10 ipads or tvs. Really, even if I wanted to this year, I couldn’t. I did that once. ONCE! And I will never brave those crowds again. There is no deal worth the stress and aggravation that I encountered that one time I went out on Black Friday.
If you’re with me, then maybe Cyber Monday is more your speed. Sitting at your desk in your comfiest pajamas and fuzzy slippers, sipping a steaming cup of joe. Now that’s what I’m talking about!
If you want to make the most out of Black Friday and/or Cyber Monday, you have to plan ahead. Here are some tips to help you grab the great deals and keep your sanity at the same time.
- Make your list and check it twice: Who are you shopping for? What are you shopping for and where? Be specific and stick to your list or you may end up getting sucked in by sales and end up buying things you don’t need and spending more money than you planned.
- Set a budget: Speaking of spending more money than you planned, you need to establish a budget. That deal isn’t so great if you are putting it on a high interest credit card. Your budget is an essential part of your list.
- Do your homework: There are great BFCM deals going on all week that you can take advantage of and with a little preparation, you can start crossing stuff off your list and get in on the savings. Check out blackfriday.com, Cybermonday.com and Retailmenot.com for up to date sales from your favorite retailers. If you are hitting the stores at the crack of dawn or even after dinner, you may want to scope them out a few days before to get the lay of land, so you know right where you’re heading when the doors open. Click here to see the list of stores that are closed on Thanksgiving Day.
- Skip the cart: Bring your own reusable canvas bags. Unless you know you are planning on a big, heavy purchase, skip the cart. They are hard to maneuver in all the chaos, where a bag is easy to throw things into and make your way around quicker. The quicker you are, the more deals you can get to! You may also want to leave the “dead weight” at home. Kids and those that don’t want to be there (a.k.a. uninterested significant others) will only hold you back.
- Be polite!: Black Friday shoppers can be KUH-RAY-ZEE! No deal is worth someone getting hurt over. Use your manners, be patient and dig deep to ignore those who don’t do the same. Remember the spirit of the holidays.
Cyber Monday shopping is much like any other day of online shopping and the same tips apply.
- Use Ebates: you’ll get a $10 bonus just for signing up! Check out some early Ebates sales here and get started! I love, love, love, Ebates! Getting money back for stuff I’m buying anyway. Yes please! Just log in, visit stores (load the Ebates button on your toolbar), click and cash in!
- Use coupon codes: Many times you can stack Ebates cash and coupon codes. Make sure you type in the coupon code instead of using the click to reveal type coupon codes (because these will override your Ebates cash back).
- Use cash back credit cards: You can get back up to 5% cash back in addition to the above savings and also many cards come with extended warranties and protection plans.
- Update computer protection: Make sure online security software is updated and anti-virus, firewall and anti-spyware is all set.
- Don’t trust email links: Go directly to a store’s website. Even if you think an email came from a mailing list you are signed up for, type in the URL directly. Visit stores websites ahead of time and bookmark them for easy access on the big day.Don’t send personal information via email: Reputable banks and retailers won’t ask for this type of information to be emailed. Don’t enter any personal info into a site you linked to from an email. That includes, social security, logins, passwords, etc.
- Log off properly: make sure you completely sign out of your account, clear your cookies and close the window.
Here’s to successful shopping adventures!