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Infographic: Why Cyber Monday is the New Black Friday

Cyber Monday is a term-turned consumer holiday that falls on the Monday after Thanksgiving each year in the US. The term “Cyber Monday” was originally coined by Shop.org in 2005, and has since become a well-known phrase across the Internet. The internet-based consumer holiday features deals on everything from household goods and digital subscriptions to new electronics and video game consoles. Shopping online is often much more convenient than dealing with other consumers at stores during Black Friday, which is why Cyber Monday is becoming more popular each year.

Protecting Yourself During Cyber Monday

Although Cyber Monday is a great online holiday to receive great deals and discounts, it can also be highly dangerous when shopping online if you are not careful with the websites you choose to share your personal financial data with before checking out.

Always verify the retailer’s website when you are shopping online by checking the site’s URL. Many websites that have secure online shopping will show a lock icon in the URL section of the site, verifying it has a SSL, or secure sockets layer certificate. You can also check the footer of the website for security stamps and verification logos before checking out or entering personal information into the website.

Avoid clicking on shared images you find on social media networks such as Facebook and Twitter, especially during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Many links that are shared on social media networks during shopping frenzies are often “phishing” sites, that will ask for your email, passwords and potentially financial information.

Biggest Websites During Cyber Monday

Shoppers seem to flock to Amazon, with 35 million visitors in 2012, a 36% increase from 2011. Walmart has also seen a drastic increase in shoppers during Cyber Monday, with 18.6 million visitors in 2012, up more than 21% since 2011. In addition to Amazon and Walmart’s official online stores, Best Buy received more than 9.3 million visitors during Cyber Monday in 2012, an increase of more than 10% altogether in 2011. However, Target received 4 million visitors in 2012 during Cyber Monday, down 4% since 2011. J.C. Penney also found themselves with a decrease in visitors in 2012 with 5.3 million, a 1% decrease from 2011.

Source: Best Computer Science Schools

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7 Tips For Shopping On Black Friday

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People that want to make the most out of their holiday shopping nowadays tend to do it on Black Friday. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, gives you an opportunity to find deals that will let you save a ton of money when you need it. There are a lot of great ways to save money when looking for shopping deals, and if that is what you are looking for, here are 7 solid tips that you can take advantage of when you want to be sure you are getting an excellent opportunity to purchase electronics, clothing, subscriptions and any other deals that you want to take advantage of.

Shop Online!

The biggest craze and appeal of Black Friday is waking up early in the morning, or camping outside of stores in order to catch the deals that come out of it. However, one thing that people overlook is the fact that you can find some great deals by shopping via web, as opposed to getting up at the crack of dawn and standing in line. If you need to shop for just about anything these days, you can get it on the internet.

Double it With Coupons or Bonus Points

Even with deals in place, you can use coupons, membership cards, points and other opportunities to cut even more out of the price. That will allow you to get rock bottom prices on the things that you want.

Look into the Deals Ahead of Time

When you look into the Black Friday deals well ahead of time, you need to make sure that you understand what to expect, so that you are able to get the best price possible. It is important to know what deals are available, because it is very easy for things to sell out due to high demand. This goes for both in store and online sales.

Be Prepared to Get Up Early!

In order to catch the deal, the old saying is true–the early bird catches the worm. To get the opportunity to make the most out of your shopping experience, you should be sure that you are able to do what you can by getting out of bed and catching the best deals that you can.

Get Used to Crowds

If you are not in the state of mind to have your space invaded, you should make sure that you are able to get prepared for the crowds you will experience. That way, you will not have to worry about frustrations. You’ll be able to enjoy it overall if you take care of your expectations.

Do Your Christmas Shopping

Shopping on Black Friday is a great way for you to knock out your Christmas shopping. You can navigate it for personal shopping, but it would be to your benefit to give yourself the chance to shop for your family members by catching all of these deals.

Do it By Committee

Black Friday is a great way for you to have some bonding, because you and your family and friends can take part in it together. This will give you the chance to also handle more of the shopping, if there are limits on certain item purchases, and you will also be able to get through it stress free, knowing that you and your friends will be in good spirits and in holiday cheer.

This article was provided by Zoe White, creative writer at DelishSwimwear.com. She is a southern California native who loves the beach, sports, and trying new foods.

Women Have Big Feet Too! How To Find The Best Shoes

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One thing that frustrates me more than anything else is the lack of choice I have when it comes to buying shoes. Fashion stores on the high street seem to have a thing about stocking loads of smaller sizes yet forget that women can have bigger feet too. This is a problem that becomes even more apparent when the sales are on. I go into a shop, see a stunning pair of shoes I love and then leave empty handed because they are only available in a size three.

If you don’t have large feet you won’t really understand my plight. Shops on the high street may always have your size. But imagine how you would feel if you could only ever buy shoes because they fit you rather than because you like the style. Not having options or choice is depressing. I spent years wearing shoes that didn’t really match my outfits unless I was prepared to spend a fortune. Worse still I would have to wear men’s flip flops which never left me feeling particularly feminine.

It’s Not Only Me? Why Don’t Fashion Stores Think About Us?

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Well, I know I am not the only person in the world who finds it nigh on impossible to find large size ladies shoes. A couple of my friends have the same issue as I do so I cannot understand why the fashion industry seems to ignore us. They could gain plenty of customers if they were to recognize that not all women have size six feet or smaller.

Finding Gorgeous Shoe Heaven

Now since the rise of the Internet I have discovered the beauty of shopping online. I order my groceries to be delivered to my home, avoid Christmas queues by buying gifts online and I order clothes. I have now discovered that finding shoes is less of a problem too. A couple of years ago I would look online to find shoes but only find ugly styles that were never really appealing, but all that has changed recently.

I am happy to say that there are websites out there that have found a gap in the market. They have discovered that women need to have a much wider choice in fashionable footwear in all sizes.  It did take me a while to find the right website but now that I have shoes no longer cause me a problem.

Buying the Right Shoe that Suits the Occasion

Now there is the option to buy trendy shoes for all occasions women like me no longer have to wear the only style we can find on the high street that fits. The ranges allow us to find suitable shoes for work, such as a cute yet practical kitten heel, shoes for nights out and more casual shoes to wear in the warmer weather.  I have even enjoyed wearing my first ever pair of slippers that was not in a man’s design this past winter!

Not being able to buy the latest fashions as a teen was something that left me feeling down. Something as simple as a pair of shoes may not seem like a big deal to many women. However, those who have bigger feet like I do will completely understand where I’m coming from. If you are like me there is no need to make do any longer. You do have a choice and there are businesses out there that have recognized our desire to have fashionable footwear just like our peers.  Don’t let the high street get you down, use the Internet, buy from websites that have recognized the need for larger shoes for women and indulge your passion for shoes.

Jess Toogood is a home maker and freelance writer. Large size ladies shoes that look great can be found online, if you have big feet like Vera you now have more choice.

8 Reasons To Shop Online

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With online shopping, you have nearly every product in the world available to you. Shopping online is becoming more popular as people find that it has benefits that you can’t get by walking in to a brick and mortar store. Besides convenience, shopping online is often cheaper, and that makes waiting for delivery worth it for many people.

1. Convenience

You can shop online any time of the day or night. You can shop during your lunch break or after the kids go to bed. You don’t have to wander around the store looking for what you need, and you don’t have to wait in line to buy it. Moms with young children especially like shopping online because they can do it without taking the kids to the store.

2. Prices

Internet stores have a lot less overhead because they do not pay rent or have utility bills for a storefront, so the savings is passed on to the customer. Instead of buying from a store at an inflated price, you can buy directly from the manufacturer at a better price. Many online retailers also offer coupons and free shipping, which lowers the price even further.

There is also no sales tax when you buy online unless the store has a physical presence in your state. In areas with a high sales tax rate, this can be a substantial savings.

3. Cheaper

Not only are products usually cheaper online, but you save on other expenses as well. You don’t have to spend gas to get to the store. Even if the store isn’t far away, you still spend time and gas to get there. You will also avoid impulse purchases at the store, and there’s no need to go out for dinner after shopping.

4. Price Comparison

Shopping online makes it easy to compare prices. You don’t have to drive from store to store to check each store’s prices. You can quickly search your favorite sites or use a search engine to find the best price.

5. More Choices

When you walk into a store, you are limited by what they have in stock. Online, you have more color and size options. If one site doesn’t have it, you can search for it in another store instead of driving across town to go to another store.

You can also shop anywhere in the world by shopping online. You can have the latest trends in Europe without buying a plane ticket and traveling.

6. Buying Gifts

When you have to buy a gift for an out-of-town relative or friend, you can have it shipped directly to the recipient. This saves you the hassle of packing it up and shipping it yourself. Some retailers even offer gift wrap and a card so the recipient can unwrap the gift just as if you sent it yourself.

7. Avoid Crowds

When stores are busy, it makes it harder to find a parking spot, and checkout lines are longer. Many people do not like shopping because of the crowds. As the holidays get closer, the crowds get worse. Many people would prefer to stay at home and shop without dealing with a lot of other people.

8. Upselling

Retailers are good at upselling their products to make more money. Instead of the less expensive item you went to buy, they will try to talk you in to a more expensive product. They will also suggest that you buy accessories to go with your item. There are no pushy salespeople online, so you can save money by buying just what you want.

Izzy Danell is a freelance writer with a slight Canada online shopping addiction. He recommends visiting Great Canadian Rebates to learn more on how to save on your next online purchase.

Infographic: Black Friday & Cyber Monday Hacks & Scams

This infographic sends a message on how the public would prevent spammers and hackers from misleading consumers and steal their money.  There are precautions that needs to be done and awareness to the updated modus of attackers.  Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the days when the most attack is happening.  Just like what happened last November 2010.  On the illustration, it shows how these spammers use their tactics by focusing on mostly used keywords on the search engine to maximize the number of potential victims.  Keyword such as “toys” and “jewelries” have been used to lead the consumers to fake sites they have created and start to steal money.  Security experts discovered “polluted” results in most search engines results during the holiday in 2010 Black Friday sale.  Malicious links such as “Walmart Black Friday sales”, “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” were used by scammers in malicious sites.  Consumers ended up installing malware and lose some money in shopping online.  This infographic advises merchants and consumers to be knowledgeable in updating Software System and installation of relevant applications that can block spyware and viruses.  The merchants can also play a better role by informing their customers about how their company accepts payment or whether their company sends out emails to advertise upcoming sale.

This Infographic is provided by Coupon Audit, you can use orbitz promo code to save money on your travel deals.

Do your holiday shopping at smallflower.com

How to Shop for the Holidays on a Budget

The holidays are fast approaching and with each day, budgets and wallets begin their yearly shriek of dismay. Shopping for so many people can quickly add up and though it may seem easy to stick everything on “plastic,” the repercussions come January and February can be brutal. But fret not because there are some great tips for shopping throughout the holiday gift giving season while still remaining on a budget. If you think that the best laptops are out of range, think again because there are some incredible deals to be found. Here are some tips for shopping that will allow you to spend exactly what you have budgeted while still getting some of those big “wish list” items.

Gift Cards

Often people make the mistake thinking that gift cards are the easy option for gifts and so tend to avoid them. They want to give personalized items and do not want to come across as being unfriendly. But sometimes those “personalized” gifts end up being returned after the holidays. Gift cards are a fabulous way of giving someone the power to buy exactly what they want. That means it saves you time and them the hassle of returning clothing that does not fit, or jewelry that is not their style or redundant electronics. The bonus: there are some great gift card swaps that allow you to purchase gift cards for a fraction of their worth.

Household items

There are some great household items that make fabulous gifts and a great place to shop is local antique or thrift stores. You can pick up incredible decorative vases, plates, china, antique furniture and even handmade quilts for incredible bargains.

Toys

If you do not want to battle Black Friday shoppers the day after Thanksgiving to stock up on all those must have toys…be patient. You can get the same deals, if not cheaper, by shopping online. Most online retailers even offer free shipping. Retailers know that by offering deals throughout the holiday shopping season, they will attract more customers. If you are patient and scan the sales each week, you can find those expensive toys and not break your budget.

Big Ticket Items

As for the big ticket items such as Smart TV’s, the best laptops, printers and cameras, keep an eye out on “Bundles.” These bundles will often offer the higher end items combined with other useful electronics for far less than the cost of just one. If you take the time to scan the circulars, online ads and browse websites, you will save a lot of money.

Holiday shopping is not easy but it does not have to be expensive. Take your time and find the best deals that will not break your budget!

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Author Byline: Jillian Johnson is a professional marketing content writer who blogs on a variety of topics. Follow her @MissWritey.

Are People Making Worthwhile Money From Etsy?

There is a new trend these days with upcycling and crafting not just as a hobby anymore but as a means for just about anybody to make a little extra money. Sites like Etsy and Indie Handmade offer the crafter the ultimate platform and an opportunity to set up shop and reach consumers on the internet world wide. These sites are saturated with clothing and jewelry, cards and cool décor for the home, pretty much anything that you can imagine, you can now find and purchase online.

The coolest thing about these new trendy web markets is that you get to help support artists all over the world, and when you buy from them, you are helping to make it possible for them to continue doing what they love. A great deal of time and effort and money for supplies goes into creating each piece you find, so the question lies, do people actually make a worthwhile amount of money on these sites? Is it really worth the effort?

YES

Every bit of feedback and discussion I can find on the subject suggests that yes, you can make a great deal of money selling your items on these sites, IF you know what you are doing and you are smart about it. I read a post from a man that said he was able to pay his rent each month with the money he made by selling on Etsy. There were plenty of others who posted saying that they made “a lot of money” or enough to be considered a part time job at a regular wage. When you consider the fact that you are able to stay home and create, possibly be with your family all day, if you have one, it seems worth it to me.

Be Wise

There was one common thread among these successful artist, and that was that they said when selling on sites like these, you have to be smart and work wisely in order to turn and keep a profit. Etsy for example, is free to set up a shop, and then it costs a dollar to post your first 10 items. If you start by only posting those first 10, then the cost of starting up your business is a dollar. Then you leave yourself some time to adapt your prices to what is selling from your shop and where you think you need to set them in order to not only sell but to turn a profit as well.

Pricing Matters

There is a epidemic on these sites of artists undervaluing their work and taking prices way below where they would normally be if the items were sold in a boutique simply to gain customers. One artist argues that while lowering the price of an item may help you to gain the sale this time, by doing so, you cause other artists to have to lower their prices as well in order to stay competitive. It is a vicious cycle and the result of it all will be that these sites will become simply a place to gain exposure by getting your pieces out there, and no one will be able to make any profit from selling anymore.

Do your research on the average price that items like yours are going for and choose a similar price point to start with. If you feel like your items are worth a certain amount, price them there and give it time.

Advertise

Many of the artists advise commenting on the available forums within the site and using other forms of social media like Reddit and Facebook to generate knowledge of your products and traffic to your shop. Creating a buzz is always a good thing when you have a product to sell. No one can buy what you have if they don’t know it exists. Post daily pictures of your products on Facebook so they show up in the news feed and encourage your friends to share them.

Stay in the Black

When you are running a business, it is very important to keep a tight handle on the finances, this is the case for these shops especially. It may be easy at first to take the little bit that you are making in the beginning and turn around and spend it all up on more supplies. This is a trap that the successful sellers say you have to avoid. Create a separate account for your shop money and make sure you are not spending more than you make. This should be rule number 1, unless of course you are doing it simply just for fun.

Author Byline: Jennifer Ricci works for Cedar Education Lending consulting for student loan consolidation help. She is also a contributor to a handful of financial blogs and publications.

Infographic: Online Shopping vs Offline Shopping

Everybody has their favorite way of buying new stuff, and the advent of online shopping means that people can either buy the traditional way, or buy online without leaving the comfort of their own home. So which do most people prefer? Slightly more people prefer shopping on the high street than shopping online, but 64% of people research the product online before buying it. This trend of doing online research is done more by women then men and very few people visit the retailer’s social media sites. People prefer shopping on the high street because they don’t have to wait for their product to arrive, and they can see what it looks like before buying. People are willing to spend more on items they can handle, and spend more on products that they have researched. This means that cross-channel commerce is set to grow exponentially within the next few years.

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Sex Toys: Ways to Present Them to Your Partner

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Introducing adult sex toys for your partner could be both uncomfortable and difficult. You don’t know how they may react, and you also do not know if they will be open to the idea. Much like anything else, if there is zero change, things could easily get rather unexciting. So it’s completely normal for you if you’d like to introduce sex toys to your companion to boost your romantic endeavors. It is actually proven that sex toys could really help to spice up making it more interesting for lovers while having sex.

Sure, although sex toys could open up completely new opportunities of pleasure for you and your spouse, however you first need to introduce them to your significant other, and let him or her realize that you would like to use them during your intimate moments with your partner in your bedroom. Getting them to accept and also be ready to accept it is one thing; you should also consider the actual sex toys you intend to bring in to your love life. You have to select sex toys that is able to give pleasure to both parties, but at the same time, do not break one another’s self-esteem. If you wish to begin using sex toys with your lover, you need to be completely open with them, and start an honest conversation. A good time is when the both of you are calm and comfy. The best way to get started is to ask your partner an open ended question, just like how they feel about sex toys. Share how you feel with your companion. Most partners may feel awkward and it could hurt their self-confidence, believing that they might not be good enough to pleasure you. Having said that, it’s essential to reassure them that it’s simply to spice your love-making up.

You must reassure your lover that sex toys can help pleasure the both of you, and you should furthermore make sure they know that you aren’t questioning their ability to pleasure you. This may be rather crushing to one’s self esteem, but if you approach the topic the right way, it should be all right. When your partner is open to try out adult toys with you, the both of you should decide the sort of sextoys that should be introduced in your bedroom. Look for sex toys together, and choose upon understanding from the both of you. Sex toys could really be fun when added into your sexual routines along with your partner. It could possibly be the fire starter to ignite the burning passion and desire again.

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