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Cyber Monday Checklist: How to Prep for Your Haul Ahead of Time

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Cyber Monday only rolls around once a year and the potential to save and score during the short holiday has no bounds. That should pique the interest of any online shopping devotee and it’s well worth the time and effort to properly prepare ahead of time for the big event.

The online shopping celebration takes place the first Monday after Thanksgiving and this year it falls on Nov. 28. Below is your handy-dandy checklist for Cyber Monday 2016. Take a gander now: Whether you decide to go all in on it or not, giving it a read will ensure that you can max out your relaxation time during the long holiday weekend.

Step 1: Make a Master Wish List

In the days leading up to Cyber Monday, compile a list of dream products and retailers. Things to consider: What high-ticket items do you desire? Are you a longtime fan of certain brands? Should you plan to stock up on certain goods by purchasing in bulk? What sort of gifts are you planning for the holidays? Jot down everything that comes to mind.

Step 2: Research Specific Sales–Times, Deals, Shipping Costs

The goal here is to narrow down your shopping list in order to target retailers that will actually have online sales worth your time and can check items off your wish list. Start hunting and gathering for sales—here’s a good place to start—though note that many retailers do not announce specific deal details until after Black Friday. 

If you’re a spreadsheet geek, go the Excel or Google Doc route and break your research up into columns such as store, website URL, discount rate, coupon code, shipping policy, and time. (With a Gmail or Google account, you can make a copy of this template by clicking here.)

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Step 3: Set Up Calendar Reminders

Create individual calendar reminders so you will have a one-stop place to tell you when to access each website. As far as organization goes, frontload the early morning with sites that have products that are more likely to sell out quickly. (Note: This would be a good time to decide whether you need to take the day off or if you can get away with making these purchases during the workday.)

Step 4: Prime Your Credit Card(s)

Look up your credit card rewards to ensure you’ll be using the one that’ll give you the best benefits for those purchases. This is also the opportunity to confirm that you’ve paid it off enough to make new purchases. Bonus tip: Create a temporary document or digital note on your computer and type out your card information for easy copying and pasting when it becomes go-time. Just remember to delete it when you’re done.

Step 5: Clear and Clean Up Your Battle Station

The last thing you need is for clutter, loose wires, or unnecessary distractions to get in your way. KonMari the area around your computer beforehand for smooth sailing.

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Step 6 (on Cyber Monday Morning): Get Ready for Action

Prior to the start of the first sale on your list, confirm that your Internet connection is A-OK, gather some hunger-pang-stifling snacks, and have your topped off mug of coffee at the ready. Good luck and good deals!

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