Cyber Monday: A Digital Bank’s Take on the Shopping Extravaganza
Cyber Monday may help you get the best deals on holiday gifts.
Looking to grab holiday gifts at a more affordable price? Cyber Monday is one of the most popular shopping events of the year. It happens after Black Friday and helps you find great gifts for yourself and loved ones.
Before you start hunting for deals, make sure you’re prepared for the holiday shopping season.
Cyber Monday is a major online shopping event that happens on the Monday after Thanksgiving and some retailers extend sales for the entire week.
Shoppers may find steeper discounts on some products than they’d find during Black Friday.
Cyber Monday often sees an increase in cybercrime and identity theft. Shoppers should take precautions by buying from secure websites and using two-factor authentication to protect payment information.
History of Cyber Monday and Cyber Week
The National Retail Federation created the term “Cyber Monday” in 2005 to describe the increase in online sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving.¹ Previously, most holiday sales happened on Black Friday in brick-and-mortar locations.
Now stores offer similar deals online, appealing to people who don’t want to wait in lines for marked-down items. Some retailers have begun extending their Cyber Monday throughout the week after Thanksgiving, creating Cyber Week.
As e-commerce grew throughout the early 2000s, Cyber Monday sales grew steadily. The shopping holiday saw the greatest increase during the COVID-19 pandemic, with Cyber Monday 2020 becoming the largest online shopping day in US history.³
Cyber Monday vs Black Friday
As we mentioned earlier, the main difference between Cyber Monday and Black Friday is how the sales happen. Black Friday shopping events tend to only offer discounts in stores, whereas Cyber Monday events are almost exclusively online.⁴
That said, more people tend to shop on Black Friday each year, but people tend to spend more on Cyber Monday with sales in 2022 reaching $11.3 billion.⁵
But each year the lines between the two shopping days are blurring more and more. In fact, many retailers are merging Black Friday offers with Cyber Monday specials, creating a new phenomenon known as Black Friday/Cyber Monday or BFCM sales.
Create a Cyber Week Budget
If you’re planning to shop during Cyber Week, plan ahead and create a clear budget now. Here are a few tips to help you create a budget that works.
Create a Shopping List: Identify the products you’re looking for and any gift items you want to buy.
Set Spending Limits: Based on your list, create a holiday shopping budget with spending limits so you’re less tempted by impulse purchases.
Open a Dedicated Savings Account: A dedicated savings account for your holiday savings may make it easier to cover your purchases. Choose an account that earns a competitive rate and
compound interest to help your money grow on its own, increasing your overall savings.
Top Cyber Week Deals 2023
Most years, Cyber Monday sales include discounts on televisions, computers, smartphones, and more.⁶ Keep in mind that the exact sales you’ll find depend on the retailer you’re shopping with.
As we approach the holiday season, consider signing up for email newsletters with the retailers you’re hoping to buy from. These newsletters help you stay in the loop and could give you early access to the list of sales and deals you’ll find (and maybe even a discount code or two!)
Paying for Cyber Week Purchases
If you’re worried about overspending on Cyber Monday, there are several options available to help pay for your purchases.
Layaway Programs: Layaway programs let you set items aside and pay for them over time and the terms vary from store to store. As long as you make payments on time and pay off the full cost of the item by the end of your layaway period, you get the item. These programs are typically interest-free.⁷
Your Savings: The best way to avoid going into debt is to use your holiday savings to pay for your Cyber Week purchases. By limiting your spending to what you’ve saved up, you may be able to avoid relying on credit cards to pay for items.
Credit Cards: If you’re confident in your ability to pay off what you charge to your credit card, using your card may be a good option, especially if you have a rewards card, since you earn points or rewards on what you charge.
Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL): Buy now, pay later programs let you effectively finance the purchase of your items. You make an initial upfront payment when you make your purchase. The remaining amount is be billed to your credit card or automatically withdrawn from your checking account. Some programs charge interest and fees, so make sure you understand the terms before you sign up.
Shop Safely During Cyber Week
Shopping online exposes you to different types of threats and security risks and nearly 36% of shoppers have fallen victim to a holiday shopping scam, resulting in an average loss of $387 per incident.⁸ But there are ways to protect yourself from cybercriminals.
Look for Security Certificates: Look for URLs that use the “https://” before the rest of their web address. And if your browser tells you that a site isn’t secure, don’t proceed to the page.⁹
Use Two-Factor Authentication: especially those that store your payment information. This makes it harder for cybercriminals and hackers to intercept your data and steal your identity.¹⁰ You may also use a third-party payment service like PayPal or Apple Wallet to make purchases without giving websites your credit card information.¹¹
Watch for Phishing Scams: If you receive an email from an address, you don’t know or receive an email from your bank, credit card company, or other service provider asking you to verify your personal information, don’t. Contact the organization directly via their customer service line and make sure the request came from them.
Use Strong Passwords: If you set up an account when making a purchase or to take advantage of store loyalty programs, use strong passwords with upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols to help protect your information.
When in doubt, trust your instincts. If a site or email seems fishy or not legit, don’t provide the site with your personal information.¹²
Post-Cyber Monday Money Management Tips
After your Cyber Monday and Cyber Week shopping is done, you want to make sure your finances are still in good shape. That means keeping track of what you’ve spent and maintaining receipts for each purchase you make. Those receipts can also come in handy if you need to return or exchange any of your purchases.
Make sure to keep track of payment due dates, whether they’re for items on layaway or on a buy now, pay later program. Remember, if you miss a payment, you could end up having to pay fees or interest on the purchase.
If you find your holiday spending exceeded your budget, try to pay down your balance before any high interest kicks in. Two approaches that may help you tackle your debt include the debt avalanche and debt snowball method. You may also consider consolidating your holiday debt with a personal loan as these loans tend to have lower rates than credit cards.
Cyber Monday is one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Though it means you may be able to snag great deals on amazing products, you still want to keep your budget in mind and if you start saving ahead of time, you may be better able to make those purchases without stretching your budget or relying on credit cards.
Check out our guide on choosing the right savings account to prepare yourself for Cyber Monday.