Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving Day, is not only one of the most important retail days of the year: It’s also become something of a national sport. Shoppers form lines early, brave all kinds of weather and, on occasion, tolerate the aggressive behavior of other shoppers in hopes of scoring supposedly huge discounts. So is Cyber Monday comparable, or better?

Aside from also bringing big sales, Cyber Monday is the exact opposite of Black Friday. Shoppers still often prepare their shopping list, but then fire up their phones or computers from the comfort of their home and cruise over to their favorite online retailers hoping to snag great deals.

While your Cyber Monday strategy may or may not land you a huge discount, where’s the case for waiting for the delights of Cyber Monday.

Some Black Friday Doorbusters Are a Myth

It’s key to be realistic about your potential Black Friday haul. Unless you are one of the very first shoppers in the store, your chances of getting anything at a huge discount may be slim.

The word “doorbuster” is a euphemism for “loss leader” and stores will only go so far to get you in the door. In USA Today, money expert Matt Granite suggests that many of these deals may be too good to be true, saying that, in most cases, “these stores may have no more than a half dozen or so of their big sale items for the hundreds of people who lined up for them.”

Even on Black Friday, You Might Still Overpay

You’re inside the store, and everyone around you has this determined look on their faces. Regardless of whether you’ve managed to grab your doorbuster or not, you don’t want it to be over — you did stand in line for so long and your day is just getting started.

At this moment, there are two problems with your state of mind. First, the Black Friday sale doesn’t mean that everything in the store is on sale. Second, when you see a big discount, you may be tempted to buy — whether you need the item or not. The lure of a bargain can be irresistible, and you can easily be swayed into buying something you don’t need.

What is Your Time Worth?

Standing in line to get in the door is just part of the equation. You have to drive there, fight the crowds, brave long checkout lines and then drive back home. Are the savings going to be worth it? Be sure to think through what you might be giving up on the day you’re out shopping if there are other events and gatherings with family and friends.

Why Cyber Monday is a Great Alternative

Here are just a few reasons why waiting until Cyber Monday can be great:

  • No crowds, no lines, no driving.
  • Big stores often sell the same inventory online.
  • You still get to save money with special sales and discounts.
  • You can easily check the specs, read customer reviews and compare prices.
  • Many large retailers offer free shipping.
  • Using shopping portals can offer extra discounts and cash back.

Of Course, Cyber Monday Has its Cons, Too

  • The website of your favorite store might become slow or unresponsive,as thousands of people shop at the same retailer at the same time.
  • You can’t see or touch the items you’re considering.
  • You have to wait until the item arrives, which can take days.
  • While Black Friday tends to be a day off, Cyber Monday isn’t, and you may have to time up your shopping for before or after the work day.

What can you do to alleviate these problems?

  • Know exactly what you want, and read online reviews or go to the store on a normal day beforehand to check out the merchandise.
  • If you can’t wait to get your hands on your new purchase, it’s often possible to pay a little extra to get expedited shipping.

This year, try Cyber Monday and see if the time and drama you’ll save isn’t worth your while.

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