Cyber Monday: 7 Ways to Increase Your Online Shopping IQ


Well hello there beauties,

I hope everyone has started their week off on a productive note, as this weekend is going to be quite a wild one for both my American friends and my credit card. Yep, Black Friday is 2 days away and Cyber Monday will follow shortly after. While our neighbours tend to get the ‘bigger’ discounts and access to more brands (due to shipping restrictions, terrible exchange rates, and wild shipping costs, to name a few…), I will aways prefer a thousand ‘sorrys’ and polite ‘excuse-mes’ over fist fights and potential pepper-spray (Sorry not sorry). Better yet, this year I will be shopping only on Cyber Monday in my sweats, with white wine in my hand, as I am working all weekend long anyway. Lastly, I have curated a list of helpful online shopping tips for beginners that are applicable to any holiday sale, not just to the ones happening this weekend.

1. Prep Time:

As with anything that involves spending money, I tend to prepare for holiday sales with lists, lists, and more lists. I think it’s because they help me feel more organized and less overwhelmed, as well as less likely to overspend or buy something that I will later regret. For example, I take full advantage of wish lists and shopping carts to keep a list of items that I like, but can’t justify the purchase of or can’t agree with the price tag. I let the items sit there and check back throughout the day or week, adding more as new arrivals are posted or removing as my interests and preferences shift. Similarly, in preparation for expected sales, I save the links to specific brands or items on my phone and desktop, as to make it easier and less distracting to revisit them when the time rolls around. Lastly, technological advantages (ahem, Apps) makes this important step an easy one, so everybody got time for that.

2. Subscription: 

It’s hard to know what is happening with the brand and its events if you aren’t consistently informed of their promos and sales. This step can be considered to be an extension of ‘Prep Time,’ as without it you can expect to waste time on research and get discouraged all together. For example, my personal email is registered with my go-to brands and stores (e.g. Aritzia), as well as online brands that I haven’t explored yet (e.g. Misguided), but look for excuses to do so (aka sale). Similarly, brands and stores already do most of the work for you, sending you emails of events and promotions, their dates, and details. Lastly, Google email automatically moves these emails to ‘Promotions,’ leaving your important emails uncluttered and your brand subscriptions organized. Win-win.

3. Budget:

Oddly enough, I find it easier to make decisions when budgets are involved. Budgets, according to my brain, come in forms of generalized: “I will spend $300 this Cyber Monday;” specific: “I will only buy knits and leggings;” and strict: “I will buy this jacket only if it’s 40% off.” In hindsight, I feel like I am selling a self-help book via an infomercial that will only get aired at 4 a.m. on a Tuesday. In all seriousness, while budgeting is a skill that develops overtime, it is an aspect that will help you keep your closet full of loves (not just likes) and your financial goals in check.

4. Needs vs Wants:

Aren’t those the same? Kidding. While it is important to invest in items that you will use more often (e.g. warm winter coat) than those that are for one-time wear (e.g. sparkly silver over-the-knee boots). But, and this ‘but’ is to be used with caution, what better time is it to buy something that you want, for whatever reason it may be, than during a sale. For example, this season, I tend to gravitate towards grey knits, while putting that green velvet dress on the back burner. So this Cyber Monday, I would probably get the dress, at a discount of course, before another grey knit, as I would be able to dress it up and down for holiday parties and brunch dates, respectively. You get the picture. I encourage you to divide your shopping bag into a list of wants and a list of needs, and let your creativity, budget, and a touch of internal arguments guide your decision-making.

5. Fine Print:

By that, I do not mean go and drown yourself in terms and conditions, and legal documents provided on every brand’s website (I totally think we should take the time and read those, but, come on, who has actually read them?). What I am talking about here, is educating yourself on the brand’s or company’s shipping and return policies, as well as their details. For example, as an online consumer, I make sure that a brand ships to Canada, their shipping cost is low ($20 is my limit) or free, their return dates are reasonable (14 days to a month), and their return cost is free (with a printed label). While these well-researched and experience-based guidelines may be limiting, your risk will be too. Just thinking about ordering a $27.90 clothing item that I have doubts about and their return cost is not covered, having to pay $22.40 via Canada Post, is giving me a stomach ache. Lastly, if ever unsure, take full advantage of their customer service department before you click ‘buy,’ to avoid a potentially negative interaction with them in the future.

6. Size Guide:

Have you ever walked into Zara and a size ‘whatever’ fit you so perfectly, but then you make your way into H&M and your size has magically doubled? I mean, that extra caramel drizzle in my Caramel Macchiato should not be completely discounted, but that’s besides the point. I highly encourage you to take advantage every brand’s size guide, their pictured model’s measurements, and reviews. For example, while Urban Outfitters has pre-paid returns and a wide selection of brands (already A+ in my books), they also allow customers to review items and recommend them (or not) to potential buyers. So, if the perfect graphic tee is rated low due to it fitting larger than expected, I will opt for a size smaller, and so on. Just something to be mindful of.

7. Points. Points Everywhere:

Last, but not least, earn points while you shop online (or in store, if that’s your thing). While I haven’t completed my research on money-back tools, such as Ebates (online only), I do urge you to consider looking into a credit card that suits your needs. For example, my shopping habits, during a sale or not, allow me to accumulate TD points that I can use for travel or cash credit to my account. These said points have paid for half of our plane tickets to Thailand and pay for our hotel stays during stay-cations (Expedia is a partner), and, best of all, travel insurance is included for the cardholder. As a traveller, I find this convenient and useful, but your own needs should be addressed and matched with appropriate credit cards, memberships, and online tools. So, definitely look into it.


Now for the deets…


What I am shopping for and where:

Aritzia: Knits, Denim, and Activewear. Currently, due to my subscription, I am able to put items in my Wishlist to prepare for the Black Fiveday sale (Up to %50 off) that starts Nov 22. As per website, EVERYTHING will be on sale. Excited? Me? Not at all…

Urban Outfitters: Graphic tees, Apartment needs (e.g. Throw Blankets), Beauty (e.g. Sigma brush cleaner) and potential SS jumpsuits. While nobody has yet confirmed the details of the sale, it is expected that they will continue their sale approach with “spend more, save more” ($15 off $75+, $50 off $150+). Gift shopping is encouraged.

ASOS: Corset belts. I find their items to be relatively affordable already, so a 30% off everything is not bad (Code: THANKFUL30).

Levi’s: 721 Skinnys. They are expected to offer 40% off everything.

Misguided: Velvet Blazer and Barbie merch (don’t ask, it’s a ‘want’). While no confirmation has surfaced, I am expecting a %30 off everything. Fingers crossed.

H&M: Basics (e.g. Tee’s, lounge wear). They have already started their “Winter Deal,” offering %60 off.

T3: Really dreaming about the full set. Might have to ask Santa (ahem J), as it is an unforgiving $550 CAD, even after the 20% discount (Code: FRIDAY17).

While that’s my ‘focus’ list, I found the lists provided by Global News and The Kit to be more general, extensive, and informative. Let me know where you’ll be shopping this Cyber Monday.

Happy Shopping!






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