(WBIR-KNOXVILLE) Big-name retailers announced online sales beginning before the typical Cyber Monday start date this year.
"This is the first time with all of them basically starting with Cyber Sunday where they start at 12:01 a.m.," Brent Shelton, online shopping expert with FatWallet.com said. "The last couple years, we've seen quite a few retailers kick off their sales in the afternoon or at night, but with Amazon announcing that they were going on Saturday, everyone else upped their game."
Walmart, Kohl's, Toys R Us, Macy's, Best Buy, and Target joined Amazon in offering online deals right after Black Friday, instead of waiting until after the weekend.
Many retailers are also advertising bigger savings than ever due to storewide sales.
"The GAP has 50 to 70 percent off everything online, which is pretty amazing," Shelton said. "If you can pick up GAP clothing for 70 percent off, that's a good deal. Old Navy (has) 40 percent off everything. JCPenney (has) 33 percent off everything. Target, which is a big box that doesn't normally give storewide sales, they've got 15 percent off everything."
Even with all the early-bird sales, Shelton said Monday will still have the best bang for your buck.
"Tomorrow morning, tomorrow at lunch, that's a good time to look at like retailer social media sites because they'll be offering like lunchtime deals," Shelton said. "If you're using a mobile app, you'll want to take advantage of any mobile exclusives they're offering, and then Cyber Monday at night, right after work is a really good time."
He said another way to save money while online shopping this holiday is by using customer cards or portals like FatWallet.com to earn cash back on purchases.
"When you click through FatWallet and make a purchase at a retailer, they pay us commission, and we share half of that commission back to you in cash back," Shelton said. "This time of year, we work really hard with the retailers to double, maybe triple that cash back, so it's really important to take advantage of that."
He said these specials aren't just happening at well-known stores either.
"Any time a local business has online, e-commerce capabilities, and you want to make sure that you're shopping local, they're probably offering Cyber Monday deals, their just not front and center in your face," he said.
Mast General Store on Gay Street said it tries to attract online customers by providing the same amenities its shop would.
"We've created a website that still has that kind of general store feel to it," Heidi Berg, Mast General Store Area Manager of the Mercantile Department, said. "That's where we're still creating that kind of loyalty we have with the guests that come in to our stores and have the experience of the popcorn and the rocking chairs and the candy."
Berg also said Mast General Store will have specials ongoing throughout the season to bring customers into the store and online.
"From now through December 15th, for every $50 you buy in gift cards, you'll get a $10 gift card to use on a future purchase," she said. "A lot of people use them as stocking stuffers or on themselves."
And while you shop, make sure you're keeping your private information safe.
"Make sure this time of year, you're not clicking on ads or anything that you don't trust," Shelton said. "Email – if you don't know where it's going to click to, I would definitely stay away from that."