How to save more on Cyber Monday

If you want to get the most for your money on Cyber Monday, it helps to have a strategy, WTOP's Liz Anderson reports.

Get ready now for the online sales that will be available on Nov. 27, 2023, better known as Cyber Monday. The National Retail Federation started Cyber Monday in 2005 after recognizing that this thing called e-commerce wasn’t going away. The idea quickly caught on, and now every Monday after Thanksgiving, online deals abound.

While you can just jump on a company’s website and begin to shop, you can save even more money with a strategy. Here’s how:

Visit Retailers’ Websites and Social Media Accounts

Almost all stores and brands have already started to announce Cyber Monday deals on their websites and social media platforms.

“Not only is it a good idea to plan what you’re going to buy before you do, retailers are benefitting from telling consumers what will be on sale,” says Arpan Podduturi, vice president of product for Shopify.

Social media is not just a place to discover, it’s increasingly becoming a main avenue for shoppers. A recent Shopify survey found that 33% of consumers would be likely to shop directly from Instagram. For Facebook, the number was 31% and for TikTok it was 28%.

Explore Coupons and Promo Codes

When you shop online, one of the most exciting things you can do is add another discount on top of what you’re already getting for Cyber Monday. Check out all the coupons and promo codes that are available for retailers, products and services. Some are applied to specific items, while others are for everything in the store.

All you need to do is click the “get offer” button to claim the additional discount and add it to your cart at checkout.

Focus on What You Want to Buy, Not Just What’s On Sale

Know in advance what you want to buy, then search specifically for those items. It’s easy to get sidelined by especially good discounts on other things.

According to Anne Lester, author of the forthcoming book “Your Best Financial Life,” Cyber Monday can be a recipe for overspending if you’re not careful because the deals you can’t pass up on impulse purchases can nullify the savings on the intended items.

[READ: Shopping Tricks to Keep You Under Budget]

Give yourself a budget and stick to it,” Lester says. “All shopping, whether in-store or online, is designed to encourage you to spend more than you want to.”

A good approach, she says, is to be flexible. If the coat you love is 50% off on Cyber Monday but it’s $50 more than what you promised yourself you would spend, find a way to make up that money in another spending category.

Take a Break to Prevent Visual Exhaustion

Online shopping is convenient, but when you’re sitting in front of a screen for too long everything can start to blend together. You just may hit the “buy” button to get it over with, without checking to see if it’s really the best price.

“Take a break and create space so you’re not just clicking and buying,” Lester says.

“After a while your ‘I want it now brain’ will override logic. Stand up and stretch. Go to the bathroom. It’s amazing how stepping away and moving your body can reset your brain,” she adds.

Once you’ve taken a breather, you can sit back down and shop with a clearer mind, ready to find the deals you’re after.

When in Doubt, Purchase Gift Cards

Gift cards can also be on sale on Cyber Monday. Visit your favorite retailer’s website to see if they’re advertising a discount.

For example, you may score a $100 gift card for just $75, or a $50 gift card for $40. They can be a great way to stock up on gifts, too, since you won’t have to face the pressure of buying specific items on sale. And they’re certainly popular.

You may be surprised by who appreciates gift cards, Podduturi says. “Seniors are big fans of gift cards.”

And recent data from the Shopify-Gallup Holiday Shopping Pulse shows that 60% of people aged 65 and older say their top gift category is gift cards.

[Related:Sites to Cash in on Unused Gift Cards]

Make Sure Shipping Is Included

That deal won’t be so fabulous if you have to pay for it to ship.

“When you can, order everything (or at least as much as you can) from online retailers that are offering free shipping,” says Tanya Peterson, vice president of brand at the digital personal finance company Achieve. “You’ll save time and minimize shipping costs as well as the environmental impact of shipping.”

There should be a statement on the website indicating that shipping is included or waived, but if not, add the item to your cart. At that stage you’ll see a list of surcharges, if there are any, then you can decide whether or not it makes sense to go through with the purchase.

Also, very important: regular shipping may be free on Cyber Monday, but if you want the item before a certain date, such as December 24, you may have to pay extra to have it expedited.

Compare and Contrast Prices

One of the benefits of online shopping is the ability to toggle between different retailers to see which has the lowest price on what you want.

The easiest way is to type in what you want into a search engine like Google Shopping and see what it costs at a variety of major retailers.

Maybe you want to buy a specific pair of noise-canceling headphones. Plug the information in and you’ll get prices from different stores. This is a wise thing to do any time you want to shop online.

Understand the Return Policy

Some items, like electronics, will be the same no matter where you buy them. Others, like apparel and fragrance, often need to be experienced in person. The zeal you may feel when shopping on Cyber Monday can quickly wane when the item falls short of your expectations upon arrival.

Knowing that, always read the terms of the purchase, paying special attention to the return policy. An item you buy at a 25% discount will be a waste if you hate it and can’t send it back for a refund — or are forced into a credit at a store you don’t plan on shopping in later.

Expand to Experiences

This is also a perfect opportunity to think beyond things, says Christina Bennett, consumer travel expert for Priceline. Shopping on Cyber Monday can feel overwhelming because there are so many great sales, but don’t forget to prioritize nontangible items, especially if you have an upcoming trip in mind.

“Cyber Monday is a great time to look for deals on experiences or travel as brands offer some of their biggest deals of the year,” Bennett says, explaining that the travel-booking company is offering exclusive price cuts on that day this year. “Keep an eye out for flash sales and app-only deals, where you may find some of the steepest discounts or limited time add-ons.”

Lower Your Taxes by Giving to Charity

Yet another strategy to save on Cyber Monday is with charitable giving, says Karla Dennis, a certified public accountant based in La Palma, California.

“If you plan to donate any goods, electronics or perhaps clothes to your favorite charitable organization, why not save money on the purchase you were willing to make by buying on Cyber Monday?” Dennis says. “Not only will you be saving on taxes, you will also be paying less and your money will go further for the organization you choose to support.”

Just remember to keep your receipts and present them at tax time (if you itemize your deductions) as proof of the amount of your donation, along with the receipt from the organization where you placed the donation.

Always Be Mindful of Your Budget

Any kind of this-day-only discount can be overly enticing. Stay mindful of how much you have to spend and what you want to purchase. Temptations abound, so keep your financial parameters at the forefront of your mind.

“I advise people to not enter a store unless you know you need something from it,” says Lester. “That includes online, too. Cyber Monday deals can suck you in.”

More from U.S. News

The Best Time to Buy Everything

What Stores are Open (and Closed) on Black Friday?

Mint Is Shutting Down: Here Are the 5 Best Free Budgeting Apps to Use Instead

How to Save More on Cyber Monday originally appeared on

Update 11/22/23: This story was published at an earlier date and has been updated with new information.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up