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Op-Ed: Cyber Monday pitfalls and pratfalls or avoiding money traps

By Eileen Kersey     Dec 2, 2013 in Business
Hull - Where the US goes the UK often follows. This is especially true of negatives. If the US has extreme weather we usually experience similar a few days later. If violent crime increases across the Pond likewise in the UK. Then there is shopping madness.
The UK is taking up traditional US activities such as Christmas shopping bargain days that leave customers with empty wallets and a range of unwanted goods.
Black Friday has just passed and today is Cyber Monday. Each have become big shopping days on both sides of the Pond. Last Friday many people hit the shops attracted by huge price cuts and today the same is happening online. Is all as it seems though?
As usual the answer is probably not.
It is so easy to get sucked into spending unnecessarily. You buy in haste and repent at leisure. This year remember it is still in reality a consumer market. Businesses want your trade. That does not stop some of them throwing the odd rogue item into the pot.
This year more than ever retailers will be trying hard to get you to part with your hard-earned money. There will be pre-Christmas sales and bargains long after today. With Christmas a few weeks away perhaps it would be wiser to hang fire. Shop around, be it online or on the High Street, take your time and purchase well.
Bargains are sometimes far from that. They could be second-rate, last year's model or simply stock that is hard to shift. Once it is dressed up with a fancy cut-price sign you may find it hard to resist.
Consider all the implications of your purchase before you buy.
1- If you buy online there may be delivery charges but you will be saving a potentially expensive trip to town which could be full of hassle.
2 - Emails dropping into your inbox, that offer great bargains, can be tempting. However, if you purchase an item you had no intention of buying is it really a bargain? Probably not, especially if money is tight.
Having some idea of what you want to buy helps. If you shop "blind" you will be more likely to spend more than you should. Online retail oulets, just like the shops, are full of goods you never knew you wanted or needed and in many cases cannot afford.
Cyber Monday also increases the temptation to buy now and pay later. Not a good idea. Pay for purchases online with a switch or debit card so you are not paying for Christmas well into the New Year or even beyond.
One factor specific to the UK is that this week Chancellor George Osborne will announce to the country his Autumn statement, or Budget. It is doubtful that it will have a real positive effect on retail trade but it could. It could also cost you dearly in many ways. Brits take care and look after your money this cyber Monday.
Perhaps the rest of you would be wise to follow suit too!
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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