7 On Your Side: Cyber Monday tips to big savings

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Cyber Monday has become cyber weekend, and during the five-day stretch in 2015, more than $11 billion was spent online. So instead of packing your tent to wait overnight for a door buster, there are some cyber strategies to help you save big bucks without ever leaving your home.

While you're shopping this year, forget the full-contact sport of shopping over the holiday weekend. Experts say many Cyber Monday deals persist online all month, but catching the best ones can be tricky.

"On Cyber Monday, beware of lightning," DealNews.com's Ben Glaser said. "These are the deals that strike quickly and disappear just as quickly."

Glaser said the best way to unlock these deals is by getting social on Facebook, Instragram and Twitter. The stores you follow will then strike you with deals not being offered to the general public through push notifications. Just make sure you allow them to pop up.

"That way, you'll get immediate notification when these deals go live," Glaser said.

Make sure you research promo codes for discounts. We used codes to save almost $30 at Gap and Banana Republic factory stores offered through RetailMeNot.

"The average discount our users report is almost $15 dollars per transaction," RetailMeNot's shopping expert Sara Skirboll said.

The coupon website and app distributes discounts to 50,000 stores, and Skirboll advises getting strategic for Cyber Monday in advance.

The first step is to delete your browsing history. Clearing the history will eliminate any tracking that may only be showing you higher prices.

"They know you're looking," Skirboll said. "They know you want to buy, and they're going to continue to increase the price."

Another way to save is to buy gift cards being sold at a discount online.

"You can buy a discount gift card worth $100 for $90," she said. "That's free money."

Once you've got your discounts cards and coupons lined up, start shopping.

"I recommend opening up a ton of different tabs for where you need to shop, and then load up your carts," she said.

Skirboll said savvy shoppers know this trick, of leaving an item in the cart without purchasing it.

"Maybe 10 minutes, maybe 24 hours, you'll get an email that says you forgot something in your cart," she said. "'Let us help you push that along and offering a 10 percent off deal.'"

In the shopping frenzy, don't forget safety. Don't use public Wi-Fi to shop online, and be careful where you click. Make sure you use a "https" website as proof of security.

"Make sure you are using a secure browser," Skirboll said. "It's going to say 'https.' That S signifies 'secure.'"

Also, use a credit card -- not a debit card -- when shopping online. If there's fraud, you'll have an extra layer of protection.
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