How to Prep for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2012 in Canada

Make a plan for the biggest savings on Cyber MondayThink you’re a savvy shopper? Are you ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2012? That’s right - the two biggest calendar retail events in Canada are coming up quick – November 23rd and 26th. Originally strictly American, these shopping holidays are now favoured by Canadian deal hunters wanting their cut of slashed prices and steep savings.

Savings for Canadians on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

While participating in Black Friday used to require a border crossing, many Canadian retailers, especially those with American sister stores, have wised up and offer deep discounts on tech, household goods, clothing and more. However, jumping into the hysterical shopping fray is not for everyone – expect tight crowds, flaring tempers, and longer-than-life lineups. Fortunately, Cyber Monday, the online counterpart to this shopping free-for-all, offers much more comfortable access to savings.

Getting the most out of Cyber Monday, though, takes a lot more than a few casual clicks. You’re going up against the most hardened of deal shoppers – and it’s going to take some preparation and research to really get in on the goods.

Fire up those shopping carts! Here are a few steps to take now to save big later.

Step 1: Create a Safety Strategy

Click with caution: The hoopla created by so many deals makes for the perfect spammer or phisher disguise. They’ll cloak their information-lifting efforts as deal links, in the hopes you’ll fall for the ruse. One rule of thumb is to never click on a shopping link that pops up unwarranted in your inbox. Instead, try finding that same deal through a Google search – if you can’t find it without much trouble, it’s likely a scam. Also be sure to browse pages protected by Secure Socket Layer Protocol – the page will say https in the browser bar – and from the safety of your secured home network.

Stick with big brands: It’s also good practice to go with retailers you’re familiar with. If you’re tempted by an obscure brand, check their rating on the  Better Business Bureau before buying.

Use credit and credit/debit cards: When shopping online, it’s best to stay under the safety umbrella of a certified credit card network. Credit cards offer purchase protection, meaning you can call in some help should anything go awry with your buy. Credit Debit cards also run under this network, and are a better option than just plain debit, which takes the money out of your account instantly – you could be drained for days while you try to sort your purchase out.

Step 2: Pre-plan your Purchases

Make a list: Cyber Monday is definitely not a time to employ random strategy. As you would with a trip to the mall, arming yourself with a wish list will help you divide and conquer. Hoping to score a great deal on a new TV, or spruce up your wardrobe for less? Identify the retailers on your hit list now, and keep an eye out for their flyers or coupons.

Become an insider: Once you’ve identified which retailers you’re likely to check out, sign up for any newsletters or deal alerts they may offer. Many retailers leak their deals a week or two before the big day – so you can sharpen your focus. If the website requires that you be a signed-up member in order to shop, get this out of the way now – nothing’s worse than being held up at checkout by a registration form, and potentially missing out on your deal.

Step 3: Go On a Bookmarking Spree

There are tons of deal sites out there that specialize in rounding up Cyber Monday participating retailers and bargains.

The Best Cyber Monday Sites for Canadians (2012):

Redflagdeals.com: Probably the most comprehensive Cyber Monday and Black Friday resource, RFD creates a whole separate site for these deals, organized by brand. Check out the forums to see what other savvy shoppers have to say!

Smartcanucks.ca: Check out coupon codes, freebies and more on this site’s dedicated Cyber Monday section.

Crossbordershopping.ca: This cross-border pickup service offers a U.S. shipping address for shoppers in need, and cheap package holding and pickup – as long as you’re willing to trek across the border! They also offer an extensive directory of available deals to Canadians, sorted by category and retailer.

Bargainmoose.ca: A great resource for hot deals, coupons and freebies, with a  dedicated Cyber Monday forum.

Canadianfreestuff.com: Find both Cyber Monday shopping leads, and coupon codes to save even more!

Mrsjanuary.com: Chock full of stylish frugal living tips, this site features the latest roundup of all deals, including Cyber Monday specials.

Dealcarrot.com: Read the forums for an ongoing update of store deals.

Awesome Retailer Deals!

Best Buy Shop Early Save BIG Sale: (Nov.16-17): Score huge savings on home electronics and get free shopping on everything!

Walmart BIG Pre-Black Friday Event: (Until Nov. 21) Slashed prices for toys, clothing, home goods, electronics, and more, all with free shipping. PS: Check out the entire Walmart Black Friday Flyer here.

Sears Cyber Monday: (Nov. 26) The flyer is out for Sears’ online offerings – steals on everything from clothing, cookware, outdoor equipment and more. Psst: Their Black Friday flyer has just been released – check it out here.

Vaughn Mill Black Friday Extravaganza! (Nov. 23): Ontario-area shoppers will cash in with this mall-wide savings spree.

Scarborough Town Centre: (Nov. 23) East-ender Torontonians are advised to check out the mall on November 23 – swing by Customer Service for participating retailers.

Cross Iron Mills: (Nov. 23) Hey Albertans – don’t get left out of the savings fun! Head on over to Balzac for steep mall-wide savings.

Amazon.ca: The countdown is on to Black Friday, with new deals announced every day!

Dell Black Friday Presale: If you’ve been considering a new laptop, now’s the time to scoop one up, with prices under $500 for some of Dell’s most popular models.

EB Games: (Nov. 22 – 26) Gamers rejoice – here are steep bargains on your most coveted games.

The Body Shop: Fans of these enviro-friendly bath and beauty products can save big all week with Black Friday count down sales.

Staples: (Nov. 23) Score big in-store on all your office needs with these huge savings.

 Laurentian Bank: (Nov. 23 and 26) Looking to make a smart investment? Laurentian Bank is offering a Black Friday/Cyber Monday deal with a limited time 2.4 per cent GIC with a minimum $500 account balance.

We’ll keep updating this list as sales start to pop up, so keep checking back!

Got a fave Cyber Monday shopping site? Spill the goods and we’ll add it to the list. Shoot us a comment, or drop us a hint on Facebook and Twitter.

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