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Don't Let Cyber Monday Overwhelm You! Just Follow These Tips

If all those Cyber Monday deals sound overwhelming, we’ve got key tips for you to make the most of this online shopping holiday.
Workers walk along aisles of goods stored inside an fulfillment center in Hemel Hempstead, north of London, on November 25, 2015. ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP - Getty Images

Cyber Monday is expected to be the largest online shopping day of all time, generating $3.36 billion in sales, according to data from Adobe.

Sound overwhelming? Don’t worry — we’ve got key tips for you to make the most of this online shopping holiday. Read on.

Make a List. Seriously!

“Without a list, you’re lost,” said Jane Thomas, marketing professor at Winthrop University. She’s right — we get so overwhelmed due to the sheer breadth of choices we’re offered that we don’t always make the most of our money.

So, before you even go online and start looking for deals, make a list of what you need — by category. After all, a sale isn’t saving you any money if you weren’t already planning on buying the item in the first place.

Know Where to Look

Another reason planning ahead is key? “If it’s not on sale on Black Friday, it’ll probably be on sale on Cyber Monday,” said Rebecca Lehmann, manager of content marketing at Brad’s Deals. You can usually find more on-sale apparel on Cyber Monday, at stores like Express, Gap, Kohl’s and Macy’s.

And if you’re into travel, keep an eye on sites like Hotwire, Travelzoo, Travelocity, and Southwest Vacations for prime deals.

Related: Black Friday is Also a Great Day for a Travel Steal

Be sure to also watch online stores without any (or many) brick-and-mortar locations, like and B&H Photo Video. And after you’ve done it, one app to check out is Flipp — it gives you digital copies of your favorite retailers’ circulars. Choose your stores and sign up for notifications when they have sales.

Get Rewarded for Shopping

Before buying on Cyber Monday, read the fine print of your credit card rewards rules by Googling the cards’ names, or use an app like Wallaby to figure out which is best to use for each purchase. Some increase your warranty protection. Others offer price protection so that if the price sinks in the next 30 days (typically) you capture the savings. Note: You have to have purchased your item on that particular credit card.

Related: How to Keep Your Spending in Check this Holiday Season

For more rewards, look into using eBates, an app for electronic rebates with upwards of 2,000 participating retailers. The offer is usually 2 to 6 percent cash back, but that can be significant for high-ticket items, says Thomas. You can also get points to use with another retailer.

Shop Safe

When it’s offered, use sites like PayPal to check out instead of checking out as a guest on the site — the former is more secure. Also, credit takes preference over debit. Although both have zero liability policies, it's more of a hassle to recoup your funds if your debit card-latched account is breached. With credit, you're already shopping with someone else's money.

Another thing to keep in mind? As technology progresses, so do hackers, so it’s important to keep an eye on your credit card statements. You can elect to receive statements electronically and sign in several times over the course of the month to make sure everything’s as it should be.

With Hayden Field