Coke or Pepsi? Apple or Microsoft? Marvel or DC? These are just a few of the things we are used to choosing between. However, in the last few years, there is a new question that has been raised: Black Friday or Cyber Monday?

Black Friday

Coined as Black Friday in the 1960s as the day that stores moved from the “red” to the “black,” Black Friday has obviously been around longer than Cyber Monday, and for millions of people, the marathon shopping day is as much of as a tradition as pumpkin pie. Although the Internet is cutting into brick-and-mortar store sales, the tradition of loading up the car and going holiday shopping isn’t going away anytime soon, as evidenced by the more than $530 billion spent at brick-and-mortar stores during the holidays in 2012.

The reason for this is that shopping at a physical location has some advantages over shopping online. If you’re hitting the department store clothing sales, for instance, you can slip into a dressing room to see what fits. Along those lines, one could argue that the entire shopping experience is just better at a physical store. Additionally, some items and deals are exclusive to Black Friday and won’t be available on Cyber Monday. For example, using data from the last two holiday shopping seasons, dealnews.com found that items like computers and laptops, data storage and kitchenware are generally cheaper on Black Friday.

Another advantage of Black Friday is that the ads are displayed well in advance at sites like blackfriday.com, whereas Cyber Monday deals are usually more of a mystery until after Black Friday has passed. By checking all these Black Friday ads, you can see where the best prices are and target where you are going to go and what you’re going to buy instead of just going in blindly. One great phone app than can also help you sort through all the Black Friday deals is called TGI Black Friday.

Cyber Monday

Shopping online has key advantages as well, which is why this form of shopping is growing so fast. The obvious advantage to Cyber Monday shopping is that you can avoid the throngs of shoppers. Black Friday crowds have often led to people getting trampled, shot and even killed in all the chaos. Additionally, more and more online stores now offer free shipping on Cyber Friday.

Another advantage is privacy. If, for example, spicing up your love life is among your New Year’s resolutions, you can shop in privacy of your own home for racy lingerie online. Bonus: You can snack on Thanksgiving leftovers while you shop.

Of course, one thing to keep in mind is that although Cyber Monday gets all the publicity, you can often find online deals that are just as good throughout the holiday season. Amazon.com, for example, has Countdown to Black Friday Deals on certain items every day. And according to a 2012 Time Magazine article, the time when the deepest discounts are seen is typically the second week of December.

Still, other online retailers hang their hats on Cyber Monday and offer their deepest discounts on that day. You’ll also have the added benefit of being able to easily compare prices from multiple online stores to find the best deals. According to bestcybermonday.com, some of the deepest discounts this year will be seen on tablets, digital cameras, HDTVs and appliances, so you may want to target those items. To find the best deals on Cyber Monday, you can also use popular apps like Catalog Spree and TheFind.

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