By Lauren Pastrana

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The beauty of Cyber Monday is that you don’t have to deal with long lines or traffic, and you can shop from home without even changing out of your pajamas!

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Even though it’s a bit more relaxed, you still need a strategy.

Last year, consumers spent $3.45 billion online during Cyber Monday.

If you’re planning to make purchases today, “Lauren’s List” breaks down your shopping strategy.

Stick to the List: When you’re at an actual store, you can see just how many items you have. But when you’re shopping online, it’s easy to forget just how much you’ve added to your cart. So follow your list! Have an idea of what you want to get each person rather than just browsing sites aimlessly. Also, have a list of coupon codes available so you’re not hunting around for them at checkout.

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Avoid Store Credit Cards: They may seem like a good deal upfront, but all that glitters isn’t gold. They have notoriously high APRs with an average of 24.99 percent, according to one recent study. So while you may save money upfront by applying online now, you could be left paying a lot more if you don’t pay off the card at the next statement!

Check Shipping and Return Policies: I’m less likely to buy something online if shipping and returns aren’t free. That’s what you should be looking for on this Cyber Monday. In some cases, you’ll need to spend a minimum to qualify for free shipping. If the shipping or return cost negates the amount of the discount, it’s not worth it!

Protect Yourself: Use a credit card instead of a debit card for stronger fraud protection. Check your statements to make sure there’s no fraudulent activity. And go to retailer websites director, rather than clicking ads, which could contain malware.

Do you plan on shopping during Cyber Monday?

Tell me on Facebook or Twitter.

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If you have an idea for a future “Lauren’s List”, send it to

Lauren Pastrana