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While I’m not one to stand outside a store at 4:00 am for Black Friday bargains, I definitely get excited about “Cyber Monday.” Why? Because I can get great prices from the comfort of my home by shopping online!
Cyber Monday has become so popular and a part of our Christmas shopping lexicon that it’s even in Wikipedia now. The term Cyber Monday refers to the Monday immediately following Black Friday. Whereas Black Friday is associated with traditional brick and mortar stores, Cyber Monday symbolizes a busy day for online retailers. The premise was that consumers would return to their offices after the Black Friday weekend, making purchases online that they were not able to make in stores.
Each year www.walmart.com offers some of the best bargains and this year they’re in a price war with www.amazon.com I love that! Some of the common discounts include free shipping and percentages off the sales price. While I love going inside a real store and being able to touch the merchandise and get my picture taken with Santa, I REALLY love being able to stay home and shop in my pajamas!
Below are some really great web sites where you can see at a glance which retailers are offering discounts this year:
One of the great advantages to shopping online is that you can ship directly to your gift recipient, saving you hours of packaging presents, driving in crazy traffic to the post office, and standing in long lines during the busy holiday season! Some stores will even allow you to “double dip” which means you can stack discounts. Before you purchase anything online, remember to do an online search of the name of the store you’re interested in buying from, along with the words “discount code” and you’ll be pointed towards sites that give you special codes to use in the shopping cart to save even more money!
Some of my favorite discount code web sites are:
Each year consumers spend more than $80 billion shopping on the Internet. It’s fast. It’s easy. No crowds. No searching for parking spaces. And who doesn’t love shopping in their pajamas? Unfortunately, one out of ten adults reported being victimized by online fraud in 2011, so you definitely need to be careful. Computer security experts have come up with some shopping tips to help protect you from cyber crime.
1. Investigate the vendor. Check the site for refund policies and contact information. It only takes a minute to review a company’s track record at www.bbb.org (Better Business Bureau).
2. Protect your private information by never giving financial information by email.
3. Start a paper trail. Print online receipts, product information and email confirmations.
4. Choose carefully where you shop. Only shop online at sites that provide password protection and encryption. When you see “https” you know the site is secure.
5. Protect your computer with antivirus software and firewalls.
The Internet has also made the world a much smaller place. There might be a company in Wisconsin who has exactly what your son’s school needs but can’t afford. www.throwplace.com is a great resource where charities, businesses, and individuals donate items and can get free items in return! Be sure to sign up your kids’ schools or your church!
The holidays are a busy time to be sure. Remember to pause and reflect on what’s truly important. Toss the guilt if you can’t buy the expensive gift for others that you wish you could. There is no shame in writing up some of those hand-made gift coupons, good for one back rub or car wash. People on their death bed never say they wish they had that gadget; rather, they often express regret for not having spent more time loving and serving others.