LIFESTYLE

Tips for Making the Most of Cyber Monday

FILE - In this file photo taken Nov. 27, 2009, shoppers line up to pay for their purchases at a Kohl's store in Omaha, Neb., on Black Friday, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. Black Friday is a day die-hard shoppers dream of, but if they don't plan out their shopping and get overwhelmed by the stress, they could miss the bargains..(AP Photo/Nati Harnik. file)

FILE - In this file photo taken Nov. 27, 2009, shoppers line up to pay for their purchases at a Kohl's store in Omaha, Neb., on Black Friday, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season. Black Friday is a day die-hard shoppers dream of, but if they don't plan out their shopping and get overwhelmed by the stress, they could miss the bargains..(AP Photo/Nati Harnik. file)  (0)

Cyber Monday—the Monday after Thanksgiving—has officially replaced Black Friday—the day after Thanksgiving—as the heaviest day of holiday shopping, according to research company ComScore.com. No wonder: Shopping online means you no longer have to stand on-line for hours and risk being stampeded by energized shoppers when the stores doors open.

Want to make the most of your online time? Here are some Cyber Monday tips you might want to consider before checking out.

Sign up
Most website have not posted their sales yet, but if you subscribe to your favorite retailers e-mail alerts, you will be among the first to know about sales. Also, check out their Facebook and Twitter pages for some up-to-date info.

Research, Research, Research
Always compare prices before you hit “check out.” Extrabux is great site for this: All you have to do is enter the name of the item and the site will list its price of different retailers.

Run to the stores
It’s a good idea go to the store and test-drive certain items, such as a camera or laptop, even you intend to buy online. You’ll also want to be sure of your size if you’re buying clothes. A picture doesn’t necessarily speak a thousand words.

Free shipping & taxes
Websites like Walmart and BestBuy offer free shipping for certain items, so make sure to take that into account. Some items might look to be as much as $100 less on a website, but end up costing a lot more when you add in shipping costs and taxes.

Coupons Codes
Looking for coupons is no longer a senior citizen hobby; it’s a reality if you want to save a buck! Sites like couponcabin, retailmenot and coupon chief offer coupon codes and discounts for over 65,000 online stores.

Use a credit card
When buying online, you are faced with three payment options: debit, credit or Paypal. According to the Better Business Bureau, it’s best to use a credit card, just in case you need to dispute charges. Many cards offer “zero liability” policies under which you’ll pay nothing if the deal goes wrong.

Return Policy
It’s better to squint and read the little letters than to lose some money. Before you buy, make sure to check out the store’s return policy. If you are buying a gift for your mother-in-law and she doesn’t like it, make sure she CAN return the gift. Does she have to include the receipt in the package when returning it? When is the expiration dates for returns? Are good questions you should answer before you buy.

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