If you are anything like me, Black Friday is not the big shopping day of the year. It's three days later, when lazy people get deals through mouse clicks.
Cyber Monday is a relatively new phenomenon -- it was born in 2005, a product of marketing companies trying to encourage online shopping.
But it has grown by leaps and bounds. In 2012, an estimated 147 million people clicked their way to good deals, according to the National Retail Federation. This year, 140 million are expected to do the same.
"Retailers are prepared to pull out all the stops for their online and store shoppers, including offering sweepstakes with cash prizes, free gifts with purchase and even exclusive opportunities to score top gift items before everyone else," said NRF President Matthew Shay, in a statement.
Here are tips to keep in mind as you surf the web after Thanksgiving, digging for deals.
- Make a list. Check it twice. Know which deals are better on Black Friday and which ones are better on Cyber Monday.
- Retailer newsletters are one of the best ways to find out about deals from the stores you like the most. You give them your email address; they send you their best deals.
- Shop at home -- on the security of your own Wi-Fi network. Don't do your shopping at the local cafe, where your credit card information is less secure.
- Look for websites that offer free shipping. Or spend enough to qualify for it. This year, Amazon requires a minimum purchase of $35 to qualify for Super Saver Shipping.
- Check for coupon codes. Websites like RetailMeNot often have online codes that can be used to garner additional savings.
- Comparison shop. Look at the prices for various products at different sites. CostHelper has pages on some of this year's hottest selling items, including PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, so you know what the MSRP is and how good of a deal you are getting.
- When you are shopping online, you are often required to set up an account. Use different passwords on each site to make your accounts infinitely less hackable.
- Make sure you are aware of the delivery details -- most orders placed on Cyber Monday should be deliverable by Christmas, but check the delivery window just in case.
Have fun shopping Cyber Monday. You don't even have to get out of bed or get dressed.