What's? Cynical answer: One happens on a Friday, the other happens three days later. Because, let's face it, Cyber Monday is really just Black Friday, part 2. It's an extension of the latter, the capper to weeks and weeks of Thanksgiving-season sales. (Next up: Weeks and weeks of Christmas-season sales.)
So, if you're looking for Cyber Monday shopping strategies, start with this: Don't wait for Cyber Monday if there's already a good sale on something you want. Although there may be a smattering of exclusive, Cyber Monday-only discounts on the actual day, chances are good all the best deals will happen on Black Friday and in the weeks leading up to it.
Here are a few other recommendations -- and if they sound familiar, it's because they're similar to the recommendations I've routinely shared regarding Black Friday. (Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products or services from the links featured on this page.)
Shop with a cash-back service
Services like BeFrugal, Rakuten (formerly Ebates), Mr. Rebates and TopCashback offer added savings from many, if not most, online stores -- often with increased percentages before and during the big post-Thanksgiving weekend. For example, 3% might become 6%, 8% might become 12% and so on.
Cooler still, you get that bonus even when those devices are on sale. So if something is discounted and you get bonus cashback on top of it, that's like a double-dip win. (The triple-dip, of course, is using your cash-back credit card. You still get that savings as well; a cash-back service doesn't interfere with it. And for a quadruple-dip, throw a coupon-code into the mix. It's rare, but not impossible.)
Read more: Cashback services: Do they really work?
Check price histories
Sure, every store says its Cyber Monday deals are "the best prices of the year," but are they really? In some cases you can find out by using Honey, a free browser plug-in that shows you the price histories for individual products at stores like Amazon, Best Buy, Kohl's and Walmart. If you're shopping Amazon, use CamelCamelCamel.
What's the point of getting that information? Simple: If a product has ever been priced lower than you're seeing right now, chances are good it will be again. For example, in the run-up to Prime Day, Amazon was selling its full-size second-gen Echo smart speaker for $70. But a few weeks before that, it had dropped to $65. If you peeked at Camel, you'd know that -- and know that you have the option of waiting for it to hit that price (or better) again.
Comparison-shop while you shop
There's another browser add-on that I recommend, called PriceBlink. In addition to finding coupon codes for you while you shop, it will also compare prices at other stores. So if you're shopping for, say, a Fitbit Versa 2 at Amazon, PriceBlink will alert you if that same product is available for less elsewhere. Alas, it's currently available only for Chrome.
Honey, PriceBlink and Camel also have wish-list features, meaning if Cyber Monday isn't producing the price you want for a particular item, you can set up an alert and they'll notify you if and when a price cut occurs.
As you've probably guessed by now, these tips and tools aren't specific to Cyber Monday (or any other sale day). You can, and should, use them year-round.
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