Cyber Monday is just around the corner, so I thought I would gather up some advice to make sure that you get your online shopping done in the most convenient, financially wise and safe manner. The dreaded shopping hangover? Not this year, folks.
Let’s dive in!
Shop with a plan
Whoever you’re shopping for this year, make sure you make a list of all the things you need to buy before you start spending, and — I cannot stress this enough — make a budget! These two simple things will allow you to curb unnecessary spending, which tends to skyrocket during this time of year.
Get online early and beat the (cyber) rush
Beating the rush on Cyber Monday looks a whole lot different than on Black Friday; you can stay in pyjamas and be planted on the couch with a cuppa. Brands usually start their online sales on the weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So get online on Saturday or Sunday, rather than on Monday itself, to make sure what you want is still in stock through the rush.
Be mindful of your impact on the planet and others
This also goes for any other day of the year, but it’s good to reevaluate this notion with increased spending. Make sure to keep in mind the stuff you already own and try not to over-accumulate in order to limit your ecological footprint. Do also take a second to reflect on the values of the company you are buying from. Would you be supporting this company if it weren’t for the deal?
Spread out your shopping between Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Remember that list I mentioned earlier? Go through that list and spread out your purchasing between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. You might get better deals on one day or the other.
A good rule of thumb is this: big-ticket items, such as large appliances and electronics, usually have better deals on Black Friday. Apparel, small appliances, toys, and online-only brands usually have the best deals on Cyber Monday.
Get excited and spend recklessly
Don’t forget: nearly everything is on sale during Cyber Monday, so don’t fall for good deals on things you do not need. Your financial goals do not just disappear during this time of year, so be careful not to get too excited and spend recklessly.
Before you hit the “place order” button, ask yourself this: “would I be buying this item if it wasn’t on sale?”
Buy from untrusted websites, or those without secure payment method options
Don’t take this lightly! Shopping scams are on the rise. A recent study by Mortar Research and Barclays found that there was a 17% increase in the number of people reporting shopping scams after 2020’s holiday shopping season, with an average loss of £538.
Make sure to only buy from websites that you trust, and never put your card information on a site without a secure payment option. If you have a gut feeling that something may be a scam, whether it’s a SMS promotion or a deal that just seems too good to be true (an Xbox will cost you more than £30, even on Cyber Monday!), please do more research before entering your information.
Buy using a debit card
Instead, use a credit card when making your Cyber Monday purchases. Programs such as Visa’s Zero Liability Policy protect card users from paying out of pocket for unauthorised transactions, which can make sure that you have an extra layer of protection if something goes wrong.
Spend more than you can pay back
Speaking of credit cards… Although they are a safer method of spending money online, it’s easier to spend more on them than you may intend. Make sure to only spend as much as you can pay back and save yourself from consumer debt that you might regret once the holidays are over.
Assume you are safe from scams after you receive your packages
Scammers don’t sleep. Remain vigilant against impersonation scams even after Cyber Monday, as scammers may pretend to be calling from your bank or credit card company regarding your recent purchases. If you have doubts about a phone call, hang up and dial the official number of the bank yourself. If it wasn’t in fact them, make sure to let your bank know about the details of the attempted scam so that you can remain protected in the future.
In short, budgeting, planning ahead of time, and taking precautions to shield yourself from fraud will go a long way to make sure that you avoid a shopping hangover. I hope this helps. Happy shopping!
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