As holiday shopping season approaches, we know you’ll put your WiFi to work, scanning for the best deals and loading pages and pages of inventory. Whether you’re planning to buy a brand new smart TV for yourself or Christmas presents for your family, we’ve got some tips on how to shop smart this Black Friday and Cyber Monday from the experts on the internet.

Sign up for promotional emails

Retailers have been planning for this peak season for most of the year. They’re already dropping hints about what’s going on sale - or how much you’ll be able to save. Plan your shopping in advance by signing up for promotional emails from your favorite stores. They’ll communicate the launch of all their sales through email and sometimes hook you up with a promo code for signing up.

Pro Tip: create an email account exclusively for those promotions to avoid clogging up your primary inbox.

Keep your information safe with a password manager

Keeping your financial information safe as you shop should be a top priority. Not only should you be keeping an eye out for secure sites (e.g. all urls should start with “https”), you should lock up your information with a password manager. We’re partial to 1password. It’ll help you save all passwords in one place, it keeps them secure with (you guessed it) one password to access them all. Most importantly, you can save credit cards and addresses and fill them in your browser when you’re shopping online. Which brings us to...

Plan ahead by bookmarking items you want

If you already know which items you want to purchase from particular stores, bookmark them to you can easily check to see if they’re on sale on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. That way you won’t need to scroll through tons of inventory and you can probably snag a shiny new TV, fancy boots or KitchenAid stand mixer before they sell out.

Streamline payment during check out

The WORST part of shopping online is inputting your credit card information, just to realize you typed in your expiration date wrong. A lot of retailers will accept Paypal as a payment method and it makes the checkout process that much easier.

Set reminders to cancel recurring orders

If you have commitment issues with that subscription you just wanted to try, schedule a calendar reminder when you need to cancel it. That way you won’t have a recurring charge and a recurring box at your doorstep every month.

Use DuckDuckGo to stay incognito

Yes, we love marketing as much as the next business, but we know that it can get...creepy. Make DuckDuckGo your default browser and search away without worrying that Google will cater your results to what you’ve searched previously, your location, ads you’ve clicked on, etc. This gets especially important when you’re shopping for presents on a shared computer--don’t let ads spoil Santa!

Give your computer a break with a tab suspender

If you’re shopping on ten different websites at one time and keep opening new tabs to view products and add them to your cart, you’re going to be giving your computer a lot to handle. Download an add-on that suspends tabs (basically freezes them) and you can re-engage whenever you need to. If you’re in Chrome, the Great Suspender will free up a bunch of RAM so your machine can keep your shopping going.

Leaked Deals

Retailers have a tendency to leak their “doorbuster” deals before Black Friday actually arrives. Here’s what we already know:

Smart TVs

Best Buy is boasting prices as low as $100 and offering some smart TV bundles with Fire TV or a Sling TV subscription. Walmart is undercutting the competition by about $20-30 on various smart TVs, mostly from VIZIO, Philips and Samsung. You can expect Amazon to have similar prices as brick-and-mortar stores. So far, Target has the largest selection of on-sale TVs but you do have to go in-store to get some of the deals.

Laptops

eBay seems to be the spot to go for discounted Apple products, with some sites predicting up to 65% off Macbooks, Airpods and other accessories. Sam’s Club and Walmart will have good laptop sales as well--make sure you pick out what computer you want ahead of time to ease the process.

Gaming Consoles

Pro Tip: don’t pay more than $199 for an Xbox One this holiday season. And look out for bundles with free games. Almost every retailer that sells Xbox should be featuring that price point or below. Same goes for Playstation 4. While this isn’t a console, give your family a Pacman arcade table with gaming stools from Sam’s Club for a hot $399. It’s fun for the whole family.

A note: yes, Black Friday is traditionally an in-store bonanza. In recent years, almost all Black Friday deals were also available online (yay!). Cyber Monday basically starts on Sunday, so you can stick to your computer Friday, Sunday and Monday--but don’t forget to get out of the house and hit up local stores for Small Business Saturday.

For updates on these deals and more, keep an eye on bestblackfriday.com or blackfriday.com. Happy Shopping!


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