Avoid these 10 online shopping mistakes on Cyber Monday

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SAN ANSELMO, CA – NOVEMBER 27: In this photo illustration, a Cyber Monday ad is displayed on a laptop computer on November 27, 2017 in San Anselmo, California. Cyber Monday will likely be the biggest shopping day in U.S. e-commerce history with an expected $6.6 billion in sales. (Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Once the turkey settles from Thanksgiving on Thursday, many families prepare for the deals stores offer on Black Friday.

For many of those stores, those sales extend through the weekend into another shopping holiday: Cyber Monday. However, every year, many online shoppers misstep on their way to savings.

To help prevent that from happening to you, MyBankTracker.com compiled a list of 10 mistakes people commonly make on Cyber Monday:

1. Don’t believe Cyber Monday is the holy grail for shopping online: Because of the pandemic, many retail stores are offering deals right now.

2. Be prepared: Do the homework, check for second-hand items in good condition at better prices and don’t forget to download reputable apps. Many retailers offer secret deals just for app users. 

3. Don’t be shy: Many retailers allow for price matching, so have the comparison from the other store ready and call the retailer’s customer service number or use the online chat feature to ask.

4. Don’t bite on gimmicky sites: Don’t fall under the spell of slick websites that most have never heard of. If they are offering a deal you can’t refuse and you want to look into them, check out the online reviews or the Better Business Bureau for online complaints before making the purchase.

5. Stick to your list: Make a list and check it twice. That little step will protect you (and your wallet) against unnecessary purchases so you can stay within budget.

6. Don’t go to the store without establishing a budget first: Don’t max out your credit card. That bill will arrive, and the interest you accumulate when it does could quickly wipe out any saving you may have earned on Cyber Monday.

7. Aim for free shipping or buy from the same store: Many people will celebrate the holidays virtually this year, so think about shipping. Consider buying all of your gifts from one retailer at one time to take advantage of free shipping. This is an effective strategy because that may save more money than buying an item or two somewhere else where the prices are cheaper but shipping isn’t included.

8. Don’t buy toys on Cyber Monday: The name is the hint. Cyber Monday is geared toward savings on electronics and clothing. Most toys will go on sale about two weeks before Christmas Day.

9. Use online cash back shopping portals: There are a lot of cash back sites available now, such as Rakuten and BeFrugal. Thus, there is no good reason to shop online without using a cash back site. If you go through these secure portals to make purchases, you can earn cash back.

10. Don’t forget about the return and exchange policies: Some items you purchase may not be returnable or have a limited timeframe for returns, so any savings from your shopping can be wiped out if you are stuck with something you don’t want or worse: broken.

Bonus tip: Avoid getting scammed: Millions of people shopping online at once means cyber scammers will be trying to redirect your money into their own pockets. How can you fix this? Shop using a private, password-protected Wi-Fi network and only move to checkout if the URL in your address bar starts with “https.” This will help reduce the risk of credit card fraud.

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