You’re one of the many shopping on Cyber Monday. But chances are you’re going about it the wrong way.
Don’t just spot a deal and put it in your cart. There’s so much more to do before that part.
We put together a list of some of the most common shopping mistakes. Plus, here’s how to fix them — if you still choose to partake.
(Don’t worry, we didn’t rhyme all of our tips. But seeing as it’s the holiday season, a song-like rhythm seemed to fit.)
1. You’re missing out on coupons
Cyber Monday is meant to be shopped online. So search coupon sites before you buy — it’ll only take a little bit of your time.
Don’t just settle for the Cyber Monday sale prices you see online. Chances are you can stack a coupon (or two or three) on top of those sales, according to Jenny Martin, the writer behind frugal-living website Southern Savers.
“With all of the online deals that are running, look for websites that are always going to let you stack multiple offers together,” Martin says. “If they’re not, I’d almost consider moving on.”
Keep an eye out for percent-off coupon codes, free shipping codes and loyalty member discounts. For example, do you have Kohl’s Cash you can redeem along with a Kohl’s coupon? Victoria’s Secret is another example of a retailer that allows multiple codes for online shoppers.
2. You’re forgetting about Black Friday
Look back at Black Friday prices to remind yourself of the deals that were. And if Cyber Monday sales don’t beat them, hold out a little while longer.
It’s easy to assume everything is a great price on Cyber Monday, but not so fast. Look back at a retailer’s Black Friday ad to see how the deals compare.
You may find that a deal isn’t so great in comparison. If that’s the case, consider skipping Cyber Monday and waiting for last-minute sales before Christmas.
Or, you may find that the deals are exactly the same as Black Friday’s offers, Martin says. That can be a good reminder that limited-time deals aren’t always as limited as they may seem.
After looking back, compare current prices. Apps like ShopSavvy make it easy to cross-check Cyber Monday prices at multiple stores to see where an item is cheapest, says John S. Boyd, CEO of Monolith Technologies Inc., which acquired the ShopSavvy assets.
This price comparison tool has a keyword search feature. Download the app, then type in a product you want to buy. The results combine the best of the web’s sales and deals.
3. You’re limiting yourself
Cyber Monday sales don’t just happen at websites like Walmart, Best Buy and Target. In fact, cyber deals extend to products like hotels, plane tickets and even carpet.
Keep your shopping options open on Cyber Monday. Chances are you’ll come across plenty of deals beyond electronics and toys.
Travel is a prime example, says Sarah Schlichter, senior editor at online travel magazine SmarterTravel. That includes hotel, airfare and tours as well as travel products like shoes, clothing and luggage.
Shop around for a vacation like you would anything else. For example, consult a hotel’s own website as well as hotel search engine sites such as Hotels.com and Trivago.
In addition to Christmas presents and trips, you can also act on cyber sales to better yourself, says Kara Stevens, founder of The Frugal Feminista. Think of a discount on a music class or a discounted education course. After all, cyber sales are just about everywhere.
4. You’re skipping a step
Gift cards aren’t just for gifting to friends and family. In fact, you can buy yourself a gift card on Cyber Monday — and spend it strategically.
Before you find a product, load it in your cart and hit checkout, take one step back and consider purchasing a gift card that you can use as your payment method when you shop.
At gift card marketplaces like Raise, you can buy a gift card for less than face value, then turn around and purchase discounted Cyber Monday products with it. It’s like an added layer of savings.
At the time of this writing, we spotted Macy’s gift cards for up to 5% off, Petco gift cards for up to 6% off and Ulta gift cards for up to 14.4% off at Raise.
There’s also an option to buy a gift card for the exact amount of your Cyber Monday shopping cart, says Raise’s CEO Jay Klauminzer. For some brands, you don’t have to buy a $50 gift card to cover a $42 present. Look for “Exact Pay” on the Raise app.
5. You’re feeling pressured
Much like Black Friday, Cyber Monday has become a weeklong affair. So keep checking back over the next few days for more deals on appliances, electronics or even furniture, like a chair.
There will be plenty of opportunities for sales, even after Cyber Monday is over. So don’t feel compelled to shop now. If a deal isn’t quite right, it’s OK to hold off.
Perhaps most importantly, set a Cyber Monday spending limit before you start clicking around websites. Hold yourself to this budget so you don’t buy things just because Monday is a major shopping event.
“Maybe you got a good deal on those items, but if it’s outside your budget, you didn’t actually save anything,” Schlichter says.