When something really "big" happens, our natural reaction is to flock to news sites and social media to keep tabs on new developments. What you should be doing is visiting online auction sites like eBay and GraysOnline. Far fewer people will be on there, which translates to significantly lower prices. Cha-ching!
Now and then, a news event will be so significant that it virtually stops the world. For canny shoppers, this is the perfect time to score cheap goods from online auction sites which will be virtually abandoned. Even World War Three can have a silver lining!
Naturally, this tactic only really works during major international incidents (the bigger, the better). For best results, strike in the first few hours while the news is still reverberating across social media. While you're placing sneaky bids on eBay, most of the world will be transfixed by their TV screens or sharing their mealy-mouthed opinions on Twitter.
The ploy can also be successful during major news events that only affect Australians -- the trick is to use local sites like Gumtree and GraysOnline which attract fewer international bidders. Also be sure to focus your bids on auctions that are about to end. (Handily, GraysOnline lets you filter results based on closing time.)
With war, disease and terrorism rampaging across the globe, you probably won't need to wait too long for a news story that qualifies. Depending on the nature of the incident, you might want to keep your frugal shopping on the down-low: using mass destruction and loss of life to score a cheap toaster might be frowned upon in some circles.
Lifehacker's Evil Week highlights the dark side of life hacking. How you use that knowledge is up to you.