Did you hit the stores for Black Friday? Not me. Just reading the newspaper accounts of the incidents that occurred at stores across the country — robberies, assaults, pepper spraying — terrified me. That kind of aggressive shopping is so not for me, but Cyber Monday ... shopping in my pjs from the safety of my own home? That's right up my alley.

 

What started in 2005 as a quick and easy way for the shopping-averse to get a deal for the holidays has grown quite a following.  Last year, with more than $1 billion in online sales, Cyber Monday was the largest retail sales day on record. As you can imagine, online retailers have ramped it up to make this year's deals bigger and better. Here's how to surf smart for Cyber Monday:

  • Shop early. Grab your morning coffee and start clicking. The online deals are already up and running, so don't wait until your lunch hour when deals might be gone.
  • Stick to your list. My email inbox was already flooded this morning with Cyber Monday offers. Some are tempting, until I realized that I don't really need those items at all — even as holiday gifts. Thirty percent off is a great deal if you need the item, but it's still a waste of money if you don't.
  • Get the app for that. DealNews app and CyberMonday Deals 2011 are two helpful apps that show you sales info from a number of stores. Perfect if you're looking for the best deal on a specific item.
  • Sign up for daily deal sites. Today is the day to check out sites such as Groupon or Living Social. Normally, these sites send out one or two offers for discounted items per day. This morning, my email from LivingSocial had 15 bargains, one of which was on my shopping list.  Score!

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