Saturday, November 29, 2014

Is Cyber Monday Worth It


Each year Americans accumulate the largest amount of debt during the holiday season start on Black Friday. If you don't have money to buy holidays gifts be honest with yourself, don’t go into debt to please someone else. Americans accumulate the largest amount of debt during the holiday season.  January and February have the highest number of bankruptcies and divorces filed.

Being in debt is no fun and makes you feel lousy.  If you go into debt every year during the holidays – now is the time to stop.  Repeating the same mistake over and over again and expecting a different result is "insanity".  Don't let the media, advertisements or other make you feel guilty for not buying a gift or for buying an inexpensive gift. 

The holidays are not about how much money you spend or about giving gifts, it is about celebrating the spending time with family and friends.  Most times people buy holiday gifts for someone they don’t like or buy gifts that are returned. Many shoppers wait until Cyber Monday to shop online and find bargains. However, use Cyber Monday with caution. Here are some things to consider when shopping on Cyber Monday.

Cyber Monday Good for Budgets
  1. The best bargains are for electronics and large items such as TV’s and computers. 
  2. Ability to purchase items online which offers you more time to comparison shop.

Cyber Monday Bad for Budgets
  1. The worst bargains are for toys, HDTV’s, jewelry, clothing and luxury items.
  2. The online sales use gimmicks, marked up prices and false advertisements.
  3. Layaway is debt – 5% of total price, cancellation fee, and 5-10% price markups.

Here are 15 tips to help you when shipping on Cyber Monday.
  1. Do research.  Buy your local newspaper, watch your local news to hear about store sales and specials or watch social media websites for deals.
  2. Make a list.  Make a list of what you are going to buy and from what store.  You can get overwhelmed by all the sales and end up spending money you don't have.
  3. Pay with cash.  Don't buy items with credit cards.  Purchase items with cash, check or debit cards.  Make sure you don't go over your limit with your debit card and end up overdrawing your account.
  4. Rain check.  If an item is out of stock ask for a rain check and be sure that you can get the item for the same price.  Find out if an out of stock item will arrive to the store before Christmas.
  5. Store gimmicks. If the store says "Limited Supply" it usually means there are 4-6 items in stock. If an item is out of stock be sure to get a rain check and go after the New Year to buy the item at the discounted price.
  6. Free shipping.  Many companies offer free shopping starting on Black Friday through the holiday season.
  7. Stock.  There are more items in stock online that in the actual stores.
  8. Clearance. Shop clearance racks or clearance bins.  Most people will overlook these and focus on buying electronics and big ticket items.
  9. Use Credit Card Rewards. Use credit card rewards such as cash back or points to buy holiday gifts. I earn points on my credit card and at the end of every year they expire. I use the points to buy gifts for the holiday.
  10. Comparison Shop. Go to at least 3 stores to get price quotes to help you find the best deal. Some stores offer better deals during the Christmas holiday.
  11. Online. Shop online to find better deals.
  12. Price match. Ask about price match guarantees that honor competitor prices.
  13. Returns. Verify the store return policy.
  14. Early. Shop early to beat the crowd.
  15. Save money. Look for items that have rebates or use coupons to save even more money. Follow companies on social media for alerts about discounts and specials.