Whether you're looking for Black Friday laptop deals or want to update your wardrobe come Cyber Monday, the two spendy holidays have their differences. Know which option is the best for you.

By Nicole Bradley
October 16, 2018
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Image courtesy of Adobe Stock

Every year on Thanksgiving, Americans go to bed early—with bellies full of turkey, no less—in anticipation of early-morning festivities the following day. An American tradition, Black Friday aims to kick off the yuletide season with can’t-miss-them sales. However, the introduction of Cyber Monday has forever changed the Christmas shopping game.

This year, Black Friday is November 23rd and Cyber Monday is on November 26th. Read about the difference between the two, and learn how to score the best deals this time around.

Black Friday Sale

For decades, the day after Thanksgiving has been marked as the unofficial start of the Christmas season. Interestingly enough, the Friday after Thanksgiving wasn’t always a vacation day for the average American. But that didn’t stop customers from getting a head start on purchasing gifts—they’d often play hookey on Friday to start shopping (especially at Macy’s, after the department store introduced their Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924).

What was once considered the ‘first day of the Christmas season’ is now, notoriously, Black Friday. Over the years, big-box retailers have been opening shop at wicked hours on Friday morning and—more recently—Thursday night. Shoppers line up outside stores, hoping to snag pricey goods and electronics at a huge discount. New products are also launched around Black Friday time for first-come, first-serve discounts, and older products take major price cuts.

Black Friday isn’t the doorbuster deal frenzy that it used to be. Yes, those doorbusters still exist, but shoppers are resorting to online shopping in today's age—according to a recent survey conducted by BlackFriday.com, 68% of shoppers say they’ll do most of their Black Friday shopping online this year.

Black Friday is for you if...

  • You prefer to see and/or try things on in person before buying.
  • You don't want to wait (or pay!) for shipping on a certain item.
  • You're trying to save even more cash on this year's hot electronics. According to Nerd Wallet, you can score better deals on electronics in-store than online.

Cyber Monday Sale

Don’t want to deal with the hassle of long lines and big crowds? Thanks to the rise of e-commerce, Cyber Monday is the perfect option for homebodies. Cyber Monday takes place exclusively online on the Monday after Thanksgiving. The pressing question: Why is it on Monday? Why not Saturday or Sunday? When Cyber Monday started back in 2005, the Internet at work on Monday was much faster than what people had access to at home on the weekends.

E-comm powerhouse Amazon has changed the online shopping game and certainly doesn’t hold back on Black Friday OR Cyber Monday (this isn’t their first rodeo—they’ve got Prime Day deals down to a science). Other retailers like Overstock, Walmart, and Target boast amazing deals every year, as well.

Be cautious when shopping online around Cyber Monday. This is prime time for phishing and spamming sites to rake in some cash. Be wary of any too-good-to-be-true emails from an unknown sender—that "free Xbox" is most definitely not free.

Cyber Monday is for you if...

  • You want to avoid holiday shopping crowds and lines.
  • You're looking to shop at multiple stores. Another store is just a few clicks away, rather than a drive.
  • You'd rather spend the Friday after Thanksgiving with your family (and if we're being honest, sleeping in would be nice).

Black Friday & Cyber Monday Shopping Tips

  • Show up early. Whether you’re shopping brick-and-mortar or online, there’ll be a limited number of whatever you’re looking for. Plus, early in the sale is when you’ll most likely score the best deals.
  • Plan ahead. Itching for an Amazon Echo? Bookmark the web page or add it to your cart before Cyber Monday even begins. If you’re planning on shopping in-person, check out Black Friday ads (Harbor Freight and True Value have released theirs) before even stepping foot into the store, so you know what you’re getting yourself into.
  • Know when to stop. Let’s say a Nintendo Switch is listed at a huge discount. It’ll most likely be shelved next to countless games and fancy accessories for the gaming system, which are tempting. Resist the urge to purge on fancy accessories or warranties—once you’ve found what you’re looking for, go home! (Or close your laptop).
  • Brush up on policies. If you buy a whole bunch of things on Black Friday and then find them cheaper on Cyber Monday, there’s no turning back if all sales are final.
  • Use your resources. Don’t let the fact that it’s Black Friday or Cyber Monday fool you: There will still be items in-store to be sold full-price. Price check anything you’re planning to buy before making the purchase. Amazon’s app has its own price checker for quick comparison.
  • Make a weekend of it. So, what happens during that limbo of time between Black Friday and Cyber Monday? Deals. Online retailers such as Amazon and Walmart have made efforts to get shoppers spending all weekend long, so keep an eye out for low, can't-miss prices.


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