NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — For the very first time, Upper East Side resident Alissa Democh did all of her Christmas shopping online leading up to Cyber Monday with a few gifts for herself.

Retailers expect record sales this year, as shoppers change their habits because of the pandemic.

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“It just seemed like the easier and safer option,” said Democh in an interview with CBS 2’s Andrea Grymes. “I bought some luggage, some carry-on luggage as well as a new work tote.”

She may be finished, but many are just getting started. Cyber Monday is expected to hit a record $12.7 billion in sales – a 35 percent jump from last year.

Money saving expert Andrea Woroch says it can be easy to overspend.

“Have a list and a budget before you shop online to really minimize those impulse purchases,” said Woroch.

Woroch says you’ll find the best deals now on clothing and electronics.

“Anything smart home, tablets, laptops. A lot of retailers like Gap offer site-wide sales,” said Woroch.

Other experts say if you can hold off, wait until next year to buy items like mattresses, bedding, outdoor gear and jewelry when there will be better deals.

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To compare prices, Woroch works with Cently, a free browser that finds and applies coupons at checkout. She also recommends Popcart, another free browser that automatically compares prices to find the best ones.

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“You could end up overspending if you go to Walmart or Best Buy and forget to look at other sites,” said Woroch.

When it comes to shipping, this year especially, the system is expected to be overloaded, not just with gifts but also COVID vaccines.

Julie Ramhold with DealNews.com says in a normal year, the cut off for standard shipping to arrive by Christmas is around December 10.

“I don’t know if you’re going to be able to rely on that this year,” said Ramhold. “It’s definitely important to shop earlier rather than later and see if you can ship your gifts directly to the recipient rather than trying to play middleman.”

Ramhold says paying for expedited shipping may not be worth it if the system is already overloaded.

Bottom line, there’s lots of good deals online over the next few weeks. Just don’t procrastinate.

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