Almost every online retailer has Cyber Monday sales. PHOTO BY CHLOE GRINBERG/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

I, like many people, am a fan of online shopping. There’s more variety, it takes less time and most importantly, I don’t actually have to put on shoes and go outside. So every year after Thanksgiving, after everyone has packed up their leftovers and said their goodbyes, I don’t get excited about Black Friday. I look forward to Cyber Monday, which happens to be today. It’s essentially the online version of Black Friday, just with a different name. Over the years, I’ve come up with a few strategies for the shopping holiday. By no means would I call myself a seasoned or experienced shopper, but I do have a few tips.


  1. Compare prices between different websites.

If you’re eyeing an item with a great price, check the prices of other retailers before making a purchase. Twenty percent off might seem like a steal, but you don’t want to go to checkout if the same thing is 40 percent off somewhere else. This tip is especially relevant to appliances and technology because the same product is more likely to be sold at multiple retailers, unlike a cute blouse.


  1. Go in with a general idea of what you want.

I’ll admit it, I’ve fallen victim to a good sale. I might head to ASOS to do some window shopping and then end up with two new sweaters. But hey, they were 50 percent off plus the 10 percent student discount, and I wasn’t just going to close the tab. Nevertheless, a good way to avoid this curse is to go in knowing what you’re looking for, or better yet, write up a list. That way you can feel satisfied without also looking at your bank account with despair.


  1. Check if the website offers free shipping or returns.

Personally, I don’t buy something unless it comes with free shipping and returns. When purchasing items online there’s always the risk that it’s going to arrive looking different than the picture. That’s when free returns come in handy — you just stick on the label and send it back. Free shipping is nice, too, because at least I didn’t pay any money for something I didn’t end up keeping. If you really want something and the only place that’s selling it doesn’t offer free shipping/returns, I would check to see if it’s available anywhere else. If not, then go with your gut, but in my opinion, free delivery is always the safest bet.