Personal Finance

I Spent $150 on Cyber Monday — but Saved $150

A person in a holiday sweater holding a credit card while typing on a laptop.

Image source: Getty Images

All told, I’d say Cyber Monday was a win for me.

Key points

  • My strategy for Cyber Monday was to stick to one specific retailer to avoid overspending or getting overwhelmed.
  • In the end, I scored a number of holiday buys at 50% off their original price.
  • You, too, may find success at big shopping events by planning ahead and sticking to one retailer.

Some people love Cyber Monday and look forward to it for months. But like other major shopping events like Black Friday and Prime Day, Cyber Monday tends to stress me out big time.

For one thing, I really don’t like the pressure to buy something while the deals are hopping. What if I’m not in the mood to shop that day? What if I’m busy at work and can’t really take the time to browse through offers to hand-pick discounts?

I also tend to find the sheer number of discounts on Cyber Monday to be overwhelming. And that alone is a turnoff.

This year, however, I had a specific strategy going into Cyber Monday. And it helped me save a nice chunk of money without falling victim to any impulse buys.

Some advanced planning actually paid off

My strategy for Cyber Monday shopping was simple: I would be shopping for one specific category of item on one specific site.

I knew going into Cyber Monday that I needed some toys to give my nieces as holiday gifts, as well as toys for local toy drives and holiday parties my kids hope to participate in. And I also figured there would be plenty of toys on sale on Cyber Monday. So I made a list of the number of toys I wanted to buy and the types I was looking for, and then decided I’d do all of my Cyber Monday toy shopping on Amazon.

As a Prime member, I get free two-day shipping on my purchases. And since a lot of retailers are already experiencing shipping backlogs due to the holiday rush, I wanted the security of knowing I’d get expedited shipping without having to incur higher costs. (As it is, some of my items were mildly delayed, but had I gone with regular shipping, I’d probably still be waiting for them.)

Once Amazon’s Cyber Monday deals hit, I got busy scrolling through the pages specifically dedicated to toys. And in under 30 minutes, I managed to cross every item I was looking for off my list.

Just as importantly, I was able to find all of the toys I wanted at 50% off. So while I racked up a $150 credit card tab in the course of my Cyber Monday shopping, I also basically saved myself $150.

Not only am I happy with my savings from Cyber Monday, but I’m also relieved that I got such a large chunk of my holiday shopping done in late November. That gives me one less thing to worry about in December.

I tend to come away from shopping events like Cyber Monday feeling frustrated or guilty that I went over budget. But this time around, I really think I got it right.

I’m glad I mapped out a strategy and decided to limit myself to one retail site. It helped me stay focused and avoid falling victim to impulse purchases I probably would’ve regretted after the fact.

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