It's easy to get caught up in the wave of Black Friday promotional ads, doorbuster deals, and the feeling that if you're not shopping the day after Thanksgiving, then you're missing out on all of the savings.
But don't be fooled; bargain shoppers have more options than ever before. Cyber Monday has grown into an equally good day to find great deals -- and sometimes even better ones. It also throws in the added benefit of being able to shop from the comfort of your own home, or work (we won't tell).
If you think that retailers don't care as much about Cyber Monday and, therefore, don't offer as many good deals on that day, think again. Cyber Monday sales hit $3.4 billion last year, surpassing Black Friday sales of $3.3 billion. That gives retailers lots of incentive to offer deals on Cyber Monday, and it means you should consider ditching the antiquated Black Friday rush and click around for deals instead. Here are a few reasons why.
Some deals are simply better online
OK sure, you're not as likely to find the eye-popping doorbuster deals online as you are in a physical store. That's because retailers are using those deeply discounted items to get shoppers through their doors and then entice them with lots of other products to buy.
But those doorbusters are almost always offered in very low quantities anyway, so the chances of getting your hands on one is pretty low.
Aside from limited store inventory, some items are actually cheaper on Cyber Monday. A report by DealNews found that shoppers will generally find better deals on small kitchen appliances, shoes, and laptops on Cyber Monday, compared to Black Friday. Also, remember that you can search for coupon codes online and use discount-finding browser plugins to ensure you're getting the best deal.
Comparative shopping is just a click away
When it comes to comparative shopping, nothing beats the Internet. You can skip from Target to Wal-Mart, and jump from Best Buy to Costco in a matter of seconds to see which retailer has the best deal.
Forget the days of jumping in the car and slogging through traffic to see if (hopefully!) the store still has the one item you really need to get. When you shop on Cyber Monday, you'll see whether or not the item you want is still available without having to warm up the car or brave the crowds.
As an added benefit, you can easily search for customer reviews online as well. That can add a little peace of mind to your holiday shopping experience that Black Friday simply can't compete with. Sure, you could look up product reviews on your phone in the store, but how likely are you to do that when the sale signs are screaming out 50% off and the person next to you is eyeing the same item?
You may have to buy it online anyway
If you have a very specific list of gifts you're shopping for, the chances that something on your list will be sold out in the stores is pretty high. After all, 115 million people are expected to shop on Black Friday, and they're likely hunting for many of the same deals you are. So why not save some time -- and frustration -- and just wait until Monday to buy your gifts online?
If you're worried about busting your holiday budget, then Cyber Monday may be the better shopping day as well. Lots of shoppers get caught up in the hype of Black Friday and get too focused on maximizing their deals. Contrast that with buying products online, which removes much of the shopping emotions. It might not seem like as much fun as Black Friday, but removing the in-store hysteria could translate into sticking with your original gift list and keeping your budget largely intact.