Ah, the hustle and bustle of the holidays. The family togetherness, the decorations, the lovingly selected and well-thought out gifts… and the murder and mayhem of holiday shopping. If you’re one of the growing number of people who would willingly skip the potential penny-saving discounts in order to avoid dying in a Black Friday stampede at a big box store, then online shopping is for you.
There are only 65 days ’til Christmas, but only 34 days until the dreaded Black Friday, at least in the US. Fun fact: Black Friday gets its name from the fact that this single day of over-the-top consumerism gone wrong can put a retailer back “in the black” for the year. That means there will be so much spending–and sleeping on the sidewalk like a volunteer hobo just to get a Fitbit at 15% off–that it makes up for previously lagging sales.
Fortunately, those handy tech and gift-giving guides that used to come out the week of the big sales are starting to crop up earlier and earlier. Tom’s Guides, in fact, has already released its very comprehensive, something-for-everyone-on-your-list 2016 primer on the hot gifts by category. With something for everything from gaming to pets to fitness to last-minute shopping, your entire holiday list is probably covered. Best of all, you can tag the items in the guide to preselect any items, then compare those to any Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales prices that may come along.
A word to the wise: while the Black Friday sales might save you in the short term, the Identity Theft Resource Center lists Black Friday weekend as one of the most dangerous times of the year for identity theft. In fact, the infamous Target data breach in 2013 was traced back to Black Friday shopping when hackers knew the highest numbers of credit cards and debit cards would be used through the retailer’s POS system. Practice good online shopping habits now and at the holidays to keep your finances and your identity safe.