Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, gets more and more difficult to shop every year. Although many retailers have made significant strides in crowd control, it’s not uncommon to see people fighting over the last hot toy in the mall. Many people are even finding that, unless they need a new television or washer and dryer, there’s no reason to go out and fight the crowds on Black Friday.

Stay Home and Save

Staying home on Black Friday doesn’t mean you’ll have to pay full price for all of your holiday gifts. In fact, just three days later, retailers around the globe offer incredible discounts to Internet-savvy bargain hunters. These Cyber Monday shopping tips will help you navigate the sales, so you don’t miss out on the perfect gift for yourself or a loved one.

Here are 7 Cyber Monday shopping tips to help you get the most out of your holiday shopping this year.

1) Set a Budget

Going shopping without a budget is a recipe for disaster. Before you start shopping, decide how much you want to spend on each person or item. This will help you stay within your predefined dollar amount and avoid maxing out your credit cards or spending your December mortgage payment on holiday gifts.

2) Plan in Advance

Most stores advertise their sales in advance. While they may have additional deals on Cyber Monday, they usually highlight their best deals at least a week in advance. Searching the Internet for these deals only takes a few clicks, but it’s worth it to do it early, especially if some of the deals are time-sensitive.

Nearly all major retailers have mailing lists they use to transmit deals to their valued customers. The Cyber Monday specials are almost certainly going to be sent this way. When you join a mailing list in advance, you can count on the best deals to be delivered right to your inbox. Be sure to join the lists early. Mid-October or early-November are great times to join to ensure you get these important messages.

The most popular items and those with the deepest discounts sell out quickly. It’s important not to get your heart set on any particular product because you might be disappointed. Planning ahead by having the addresses of your gift recipients at your fingertips might give you a better chance of grabbing one of those hot holiday gifts before everyone else.

3) Set up Accounts

If you know you will be shopping with particular retailers, set up an account on their site before Cyber Monday hits. With an account, instead of inputting your name, shipping address, and credit card information, you can simply log in and check out. Time can be of the essence when it comes to getting in on the special prices on limited quantities, so any seconds you can save will benefit you.

4) Scan the Deal Blogs

The most popular bloggers like TheKrazyCouponLady get advance notifications of sales so they can share them with their followers. This helps companies reach people who may have never shopped with them before and excite their current customers. Checking shopping blogs regularly is the best way to be among the first to know about the discounts being offered on Cyber Monday.

5) Compare Prices

The fact an item is on sale with one retailer on Cyber Monday doesn’t mean it isn’t provided for a lower price elsewhere. Instead of getting caught up in the excitement of shopping, take a moment to compare prices. Sites like make this easy and fast so you won’t miss a great sale. Shipping costs may also vary by retailer. Some stores allow customers to pick up the items they buy online in the store for free. Other stores offer discounted or free shipping for customers who purchase a certain dollar amount in products. Knowing these options in advance will help you get the best discounts when you are ready to make a purchase.

6) Use a Rewards Site

Sites like Swagbucks, MyPoints, and Ebates¬†pay customers for their online activities. These sites get paid a percentage of all sales that go through their affiliate links, and they share that profit with their members. By using one or more of these sites on Cyber Monday, you can get money back in the form of gift cards to your favorite stores or even cash in your Paypal account. It doesn’t cost anything to join, and these well-established companies have a strong reputation in the online community.

7) Seek Out Coupon Codes

As you are planning your Cyber Monday shopping trip, visit the shopping carts of the stores you plan on buying from on Monday morning. In addition to scanning them for ease of use, check to see if they have a promo code box. These boxes are used to get additional discounts. Shoppers can find coupons on sites like Dealhack, RetailMeNot, and Groupon that may allow them to save even more money. Some of the promo codes won’t be valid on Cyber Monday, but a few of them might and, for every code that works, you’ll save additional money. Stacking codes with sales is a tactic savvy shoppers use throughout the year. Stores that allow this on Cyber Monday offer additional advantages to customers.

It All Adds Up To Savings

The offers available on Cyber Monday are only seen once a year. By setting a budget, researching all the sales and strategically planning your Cyber Monday morning, you’ll have the best chance of getting exactly what you want for the best price available. Don’t forget to use coupon codes when you shop to stack your discounts whenever possible. The retailers are counting on you to come prepared to spend your money and make the holidays special for your family.