Image from Wikimedia Commons.

The day after Thanksgiving some people hit the mall at 4 a.m., while others stayed in bed eating leftover turkey, gravy, stuffing and green bean casserole. For these sleepy shoppers, Black Friday only occurred to them as a distant afterthought.

If you’re one of those couch potatoes who couldn’t find the motivation to join a mob of mall shoppers on Friday or make small talk with local business owners on Small Business Saturday, then the clear solution for your holiday shopping plan is Cyber Monday.

This day of consumption is basically the lazy love child of Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, because it never happens on purpose but sleepy shoppers can’t quite resist. According to Adobe’s Digital Index, Cyber Monday sales are expected to hit the $3 billion mark for the first time in the United States.

What could be more appealing than the thought of finding the perfect ugly christmas sweater, marked 75 percent off, while calmly relaxing on the living room sofa or goofing off at your desk job?

In order to be entirely prepared for this antisocial day of online shopping, consider the following tips:

1. Avoid Scams

Go directly to each store’s website rather than using a search engine. It is all too easy for scammers to create fake advertisements leading shoppers to invite malware and viruses onto their computer, instead of a genuine 95 percent off coupon. Also, take spam email and pop-up coupons with a grain of salt. It’s probably a good idea to update your security systems as well.

2. Delete Tracking Cookies

One of the most common dilemmas that shoppers face online is picking up a handful of noxious tracking cookies from various online retail stores. While cookies are usually benign and will not unload harmful software onto your computer, they can cause you to make poor shopping decisions. One visit to will create a constant pop up ad for those leather wedge booties you were trying not to buy until your shopping judgement will slowly wear down and you end up with an overpriced pair of leather boots.

3. Set a Spending Limit

Don’t let Cyber Monday dip into your savings account. Pick a limited range of money that you intend to spend and stick to it. Self control is key. Don’t fool yourself into thinking it is your sole responsibility to create an uptick in the economy this winter.

4.  Recognize Which Stores Have the Best Bargains

Make a list of your favorite sellers and visit those first. However, a few stores that you can’t possibly forget about are Amazon, Target and Walmart. Even if you try, it’s almost impossible to miss these bargain stores.

5. Load Up on Coffee

You’re going to be sitting by your computer for a long time on Monday. Persistence, patience and caffeine. These are the keys to your success as a shopper.

A small cup of coffee. Photo courtesy of Julius Schorzman from Wikimedia Commons.
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