The holiday season is filled with special shopping days: Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and now Cyber Monday. Online retailers are posting some amazing deals today, but if you’re not careful you can easily bust your entire holiday season budget in a single day. Skip the stress and regret of spending too much by avoiding these five budget-busting Cyber Monday mistakes.


1. Shipping and handling fees

While many sites will be offering free shipping and handling, this may come with some caveats. For example, a site may be offering free shipping if you spend $100. Here’s a scenario to avoid: you do your shopping and look at your cart and realize you only need to spend an additional $10 to meet this threshold, so off you go to add another item to your cart. What you didn’t see is that the flat rate shipping is only $2.95. That means you essentially wasted $7.05 to take advantage of a gimmicky free shipping offer.


2. Return policies

Don’t get burned post-holiday with a subpar return policy. Before you buy an item from any site, check to see what the return policy is. How many days will you have to return the item? Who is responsible for shipping? Can you get a refund or only a store credit? Not understanding the company’s return policy could be your biggest Cyber Monday budget buster.


3. Straying from your list

Santa makes a list and checks it twice and so should you before you log on to take advantage of the bevy of Cyber Monday deals. Know who you are buying for and how much you’re willing to spend. Going into the day without these two items written down can leave you with a surprise when your credit or debit card statement comes next month.


4. Getting caught up in the excitement of the click

Click, click, click – this is a sound you don’t want to hear coming from your mouse today. Online deals are typically presented in an eye-catching and exciting way, causing you to feel the need to click away. Try to avoid the flashy marketing and take the time to research a product before you add it to your cart. If you make sure that the product is exactly what you expect, you’ll avoid the hassle of a post-holiday return.


5. Not shopping around

That fancy iPod dock that is on sale for $149.95 on your favorite site may be $139.95 with free shipping on another site. If you do the bulk of your holiday shopping today and find nine other deals with similar savings, you’ve saved $100 by just spending a few minutes shopping around.


What other budget-busting Cyber Monday mistakes should shoppers avoid?


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5 budget-busting Cyber Monday mistakes
Don't make one of these common holiday shopping season mistakes.