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11/28/2011 08:57 am ET | Updated Jun 13, 2012

Cyber Monday: Why We Love It

For me, shopping on Black Friday is like going to Times Square on New Year’s Eve. They both look a little dangerous, pushy and exhausting, and both appear to inspire behaviors you’re likely to regret later. Part of the problem is I never shop for sport, and Black Friday is big game hunter territory. My approach: Get in, get out, nobody gets hurt. Which is why I love Cyber Monday.

Retailers are expected to rack up $1.2 billion in online sales today, according to market research firm ComScore. If you’re going to purchase gifts this way, today really is the day to jump in: You’re likely to get fairly good discounts and free shipping. Procrastinate another week or so, as I did one year, and you’ll find yourself with a cart full of items that won’t arrive in time for Christmas without expensive shipping costs.

The best place to start your spree is with a deal aggregator, which can help you find the lowest prices. The big ones include CyberMonday.com and CyberMonday2011.com. PC World lists some other favorites on its site.

But don’t assume you’ll get the lowest prices of the season today, because major retailers rotate specials throughout the week, according to CBS MoneyWatch. You can sign up for email alerts on hour-by-hour deals at the Cyber Monday sites; Moneywatch offers several other smart tips to ensure you’re really getting a deal. Meanwhile, as you're snapping up gifts, also be on the alert for possible travel deals, experts tell Fox News.

Just be careful when you shop: A new Career Builder survey estimates half of American workers will be surfing for holiday deals today, which won’t necessarily make them popular with the boss. The survey found about half of employers monitor workers’ internet use – and roughly one in four have fired staff for using the internet for non-work related activities. Some 7% said the pink slip was specifically related to holiday shopping. So enjoy the ease of the online holiday hunt – just let your fingers do the walking when you get home from the office.

Take a look at some of HuffPost suggestions for the best deals here.

Check out a news report on Cyber Monday below:

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