This post contains affiliate links. Purchasing something through the link may give us a small commission or credit at no extra charge to you. Thanks for your support! Visit our disclosures, TOS, and policies page.

span xmlns=””/spanbr /div class=”separator” style=”clear: both; text-align: center;”a href=”” imageanchor=”1″ style=”margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;”img border=”0″ height=”153″ src=”” width=”200″ //a/divdiv class=”separator” style=”clear: both; text-align: center;”br //divspan xmlns=””Thanksgiving has come and gone and the shopping season has begun. I did not participate in Black Friday since we were traveling back from Chicago where it was FREEZING!! em{I am officially no longer from the North}/em Today is Cyber Monday and rather than shopping for deals, I am writing a blog post. Over the last few years, I have found that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are not really worth my getting up at o’dark thirty to shop with the crowd. br //spanbr /Why?br /ollispan xmlns=””Because I hate //span/lispan xmlns=””liI like my //liliThere is a decent likelihood of spending more than my budget because it’s a “deal.”br //li/span/olspan xmlns=””I have realized when I have gone shopping on Black Friday em{usually around noon when early shoppers are sleeping and later shoppers are lunching}/em I have bought things for myself than for others. Some of those items were not even on my list. em{Blue Ray DVD player circa Black Friday 2009 *ahem*}/em I have also found that some of those “deals” were available embefore/em and/or emafter/em Black Friday and Cyber Monday. br //spanbr /Case-in-point:br /span xmlns=””My tweenage daughter is into Aéropostale and other name brands I am not going to list because I did not buy them. The week before Thanksgiving, I spent $100 at the online Aéropostale store and got 12 – yes twelve – different clothing items. Before I buy anything online, I use several different methods to get the best deal possible. br //spanbr /span xmlns=””Here are several techniques I use:br //spanbr /ollispan xmlns=””strongFree Shipping/strong-If you are Christmas Shopping, try to find the store where you know you can meet the qualifications for free shipping. For Aéropostale I think it was Free Shipping on $75 or more. I knew I was going to spend a minimum of $75 so that was a no brainer for //span/lispan xmlns=””listrongFind an online discount code/strong-There are sooooo many websites that list current discounts for online stores. I usually will google something like this: strongAéropostale discount code/strong and I will get tons of pages with different codes. I believe I found a 30% off $50 or more. I was able to use that and still get free //lilistrongShop through a href=””BigCrumbs/a/strong- I almost forgot about this one!! I was ready to input my visa debit card information when I realized that I could purchase everything through my a href=””BigCrumbs/a account and get 4% back. If you don’t know about this one, check it out. br //lilistrongFor in-store shopping: If something isn’t discounted, ASK FOR ONE/strong! You will be surprised how many retailers will discount something when you simply //li/span/olspan xmlns=””Most of the items I got ended up being 50% off or more and this was all embefore/em Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I checked with the multiple promo emails that I have since received from Aéropostale to make sure I didn’t miss out on the “deals” from this weekend. You know what? I actually saved more! I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were many items that I purchased for less and only one item where I paid 60₵ more. I know, you’re saying “Thanks Anna, but I didn’t shop before. I need to shop now.” Don’t worry. The deals are still there and most will remain there through Christmas. The retailers are scared out of their minds about how the economy is going to affect span style=”text-decoration: line-through;”them/span shopping behaviors this year and they are not holding back on the discounting to vie for your attention. They know better than to take them away so //spanbr /span xmlns=””So be bold, have a budget, and Merry Christmas!br //spanbr /span xmlns=””br /nbsp;/spanbr /a href=”” target=”_blank”img alt=”Anna” border=”0″ src=”” //a