I love a great deal as much as the next mama, but I also love to purchase thoughtful holiday gifts for my friends and family. This holiday season I will not be braving the crowds for Black Friday. One, it totally stresses me out. Two, bringing a toddler along for the holiday shopping madness is a recipe for disaster. Three, I can find equally great deals online. The bonus is that I get shop in my pajamas without receiving any strange looks!
I have done it before. The whole waking up in the middle of the night and heading out into the freezing cold to try to get the best deals. However, I am impatient and hate standing in lines. I am also rather timid and am easily pushed around. The whole Black Friday thing is just not for me.
Now, Cyber Monday is something that I can get behind. As a work-from-home mom, I do most of my shopping online anyway. It is more convenient and more efficient than trying to shop while simultaneously attempting to wrangle a rambunctious toddler. The waking up early is something I already do (not by choice). Instead of packing my purse with snacks, I just pour a little coffee down my gullet and grab my laptop. Voila! Ready to shop!
In my quest to kick-start my holiday shopping and save a few bucks, I have developed a plan for Cyber Monday. This plan is designed to be both thrifty and time efficient.
Step One: Make Your List and Check It Twice
Just like Santa, you need to make a list of all the people you need to buy gifts for. Anyone on the naughty list, just go ahead and delete. I like to create categories to make shopping easier. This way, I can formulate my plan of attack. Here is an example of my holiday shopping list. You can download your own copy below for FREE!
By dividing my list into categories, I get a better idea of what I am looking for. Also, many of the recipients on my list will receive the same gift. Especially if I can get the item for a bargain!
For example, for my daughter and the kids of my friends, I will be looking for toys, books, and games. For my hubby, I look for electronics and clothing. The grandparents on both sides of the family have varied interests, but generally love books, kitchen gadgets, and homemade crafts from the grand baby. For my friends and co-workers, I look for beauty products and items related to our mutual love of coffee.
Once I have made my list and checked it twice, I am ready to shop!
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Step Two: Scope Out the Best Online Retailers
For both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I went straight to Amazon. They have a little something for everyone on my list! But, Amazon also likes to release certain deals at certain times, so you have to be strategic with your shopping as a consumer.
Amazon already has a link to their Cyber Monday deals here for you to check out. However, Amazon likes to update their deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday often. As often as every five minutes! I do not have the time or energy to stare at one site all day, so I like to place the items I am looking for into my cart. This way sometimes Amazon will notify you instead of having to constantly check the site if there is a price drop!
What I Bought Last Year:
*The following contains affiliate links. There is no cost to you to use my links, but I may receive a small commission.
For my husband’s birthday in October, I bought him the brand new Echo Dot to go with our Amazon Echo. If you are not familiar with Alexa and The Echo, it has a hands free device that can do everything from stream music and control your household devices like your lights and furniture. These devices make you feel like Iron Man with Jarvis. Seriously, it is so cool.
We have had the original Echo for a year, but I bought the Echo Dot to go upstairs. Now we can stream music while my daughter takes a bath and turn the thermostat up or down without leaving our comfy bed (by using Nest Learning Thermostat.) On Black Friday, I bought the WeMo Switch Smart Plug for my hubby for Christmas. With this device, we can ask Alexa to control our lights!
The best part is that these awesome devices went on sale for Cyber Monday. Great technology at great prices! Keep checking back right here and I will update you on any sales to help you get Alexa in your house for a discounted price!
For my daughter who is obsessed with all thing princess, I bought her the Fisher-Price Little People Disney Princess Musical Dancing Palace last year for Christmas. We have spent countless hours playing princesses throughout the year. The sizes of the dolls are perfect for toddlers. There are not too many small parts and do not beg to be placed in tiny mouths! Your little one will “have a ball” right along with the little figures! Plus the palace is on sale for a great price!
I also scored Rapunzel’s Tower. It went on sale on Cyber Monday for $5 off and every dollar saved at this castle is a win!
Step Three: Earn Cash Back for Shopping!
What is better than shopping from the comfort of your home? Earning cash back for shopping, of course! I recently discovered Ebates and I cannot believe it took me so long to get on the bandwagon! Here is how it works:
Sign up on Ebates (you can click my referral code below and earn $10!)
Use their site or app to shop at your favorite stores (Ebates will also tell you all of that store’s current coupon codes and promotional codes!)
Earn cash back for every purchase you make! (I have earned $73 so far!)
What I Bought Last Year:
I took advantage of Gap’s Black Friday 50% off promotion to buy my toddler some new shoes. What is up with toddler feet growing so fast and their shoes being so dang expensive? Last weekend, I brought my daughter into several shoe stores to try on shoes before buying. Then, I pounced on the sale Black Friday! My daughter will be gifted two pairs of shoes and their new Olaf leggings because…she is seriously crazy about Olaf. Thus, I could not resist! I earned 8% back for these purchases!
For my girlfriends and co-workers, I am a big fan of buying holiday gift sets and then giving pieces of the set to multiple people. Every year, I buy Philosophy’s Gingerbread House Set that comes with four shower gels and four lip glosses. I LOVE Philosophy and this set is perfect to divvy up. I can put a pair in a coffee cup for my coffee-loving friend or in a box with a beautiful scarf for my fashion-loving friend. Through Ebates, I can earn an additional 4% back by shopping through their site and buying through Sephora!
I am also a big fan of giving the gift of an experience and sites like Groupon and LivingSocial are great places to search for deals. Ebates usually offers 10% cash back on Groupon purchases and 6% cash back for Living Social! Groupon is how I bought my hubby a lesson with a Golf Pro one year (read more about the gifts to give the guy who has everything here). This year, I’m looking at spa treatments and manicures/pedicures to gift the grandmas!
Ebates is definitely one of my stops this Cyber Monday! Click their “hot deals” tab to see that best deals both online and in stores.
Bonus Tip: Keep Your Ear to the Ground!
To keep my eyes on the prize for the best deals, I am keeping my ear to the ground. I have been scouring the internet and polling my mom friends to see where everyone is going on Cyber Monday. Here is what I discovered so far:
Cyber Monday might be the time to book your next vacation! Click here to check for the latest deals and discounts on travel packages.
Target usually has some awesome deals on Black Friday, but word on the street is that their Cyber Monday deals might be even better!
10 Stores with the best Cyber Monday deals can be found here. Get Crocs for the whole family at a drastic discount!