10 tips for a budget-friendly Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday, which takes place on the Monday after Thanksgiving, is a chance to score online deals on everything from apparel to electronics. Read on for the best tips for a budget-friendly Cyber Monday.

Start early.

Start shopping first thing in the morning for the best chance at scoring limited items. In fact, you should consider shopping a few days before Cyber Monday since many retailers are rolling out online sales on Black Friday — or earlier.

Use a secure site.

Ensure that you’re not falling for scammers and identity thieves by making online purchases on a secure site. Look for “https” instead of “http” in the web address bar. Or look for a padlock symbol, typically in the right-hand corner of your screen.

Skip shopping at the office.

Don’t let your deal-seeking jeopardize your job. Limit online shopping to after hours or your lunch break.

Don’t blow your budget on Black Friday.

Make sure that you stick to your holiday shopping budget. If you have your eyes set on some Cyber Monday sales, rein in your Black Friday shopping.

Avoid shopping on public Wi-Fi.

Entering your financial information on a public network leaves you open to hackers and online thieves. Shop on a trusted wireless connection, like the one you have at home.

Factor in shipping costs.

Shipping fees may add to the cost of your Cyber Monday shopping spree. Look into whether you can score free shipping by having your items sent to a nearby store instead of your doorstep. If not, free shipping day is on Dec. 16 this year.

Use your credit card.

Opt to shop with your credit card, not your debit card. It’s typically more straightforward to contest fraudulent charges on a credit card. Of course, it’s always better to repay your entire bill in order to avoid incurring interest charges.

Anticipate product shortages.

If you’ve got your heart set on a specific item, don’t be surprised if it sells out early. Product shortages may peak around Cyber Monday.

Avoid fishy-looking sites.

If a site looks suspicious, or a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is. Steer clear of fishy-looking sites by shopping on your computer. It can be tougher to spot red flags on your smartphone.

Review your statements after your spree is finished.

Once the shopping frenzy has ended, check your credit card statement online to ensure that nothing fishy was charged to your card. If you find something off, contest it with your bank or card issuer as soon as possible.

More from U.S. News

10 Black Friday Facts

10 Ways to Protect Yourself From Online Fraud

10 Creative Ways to Cut Costs This Winter

10 Tips for a Budget-Friendly Cyber Monday originally appeared on usnews.com

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