We’ve all been there—you click innocently on one “SALE!" email from a shop or business, and suddenly you’ve ordered six pairs of sneakers, a customized pet portrait, and an anti-aging serum made of snail mucin.
How did that happen?
Online ordering can be a great tool for quick, safe, and easy shopping—especially now, when staying home is so important.
If you’re not careful, however, the convenience of online shopping can quickly lead to spending way beyond your budget. Let's explore the top reasons why people shop online. Then, we'll offer a few tips for getting the urge under control.
The top reasons people shop online
Before we begin looking at potential solutions, we need to figure out the exact cause of the problem. There are a number of reasons why you might find yourself uncontrollably shopping online:
Feeling unorganized (both financially and in your surroundings)
A problematic mindset
Let’s look at each of these reasons a little more closely and discuss specific tips for preventing each one.
If your online shopping stems from boredom, you’re not alone. With widespread stay-home orders in place, many of us are spending more time online than ever before.
Instead of scrolling aimlessly and screen shopping next time you’re bored, consider one of these activities instead:
Take a walk. This will get you physically away from your computer or smartphone, as well as giving you all the benefits of fresh air, exercise, and a change of scenery.
Pick up a new hobby. Fill your boredom and restless hands with a healthier hobby like making cards or gifts for the holidays, learning an instrument, baking, or learning a new language.
Nothing drives us to overspend more quickly than temptation—whether it’s the offer of a sale or free shipping, the threat of limited quantities or the ability to shop at all hours of the night and day.
Marketers know this, and they use it to their advantage when selling products. You’ve likely experienced it firsthand in abandoned cart follow-up emails (“you forgot something in your cart!”), sponsored ads for flash sales and countless influencers offering coupons, and discount codes.
It can be tough to ignore so many messages (it’s estimated that we encounter between 6,000 to 10,000 ads every single day), but you should try to clear away as many as possible.
Unsubscribe from brand, store and promotional flyer emails. Decluttering your inbox can easily be done with Gmail, otherwise you can find an unsubscribe button at the bottom of most emails from brands and stores.
Delete shopping apps off your smartphone. This helps limit the amount of sales, deals and new product notifications you might receive. Apps are designed to be incredibly user-friendly and convenient for shoppers (many will store your credit card and shipping info for you), so deleting them is a good way to make purchasing items more difficult.
Sit with the items in your cart for a week or two before you allow yourself to make the purchase. If after a week you still need/want the items, great! Other times you’ll realize you were simply tempted by a sale or other nonessential reason.
Are you someone who shies away from credit card statements, bank account balances, and finances? This can make it difficult to keep track of how much spending is allowed and lead to excessive shopping online.
Don’t shy away from the reality of your financial situation (you’ll have to face it sooner or later). Figure out your spending limits and stick to them. This might mean creating a budget.
Organize and take inventory of the things you already own before you shop. You may realize you already have an item or something just like it. Ask yourself if what you’re feeling the urge to buy is going to be a replacement, exchange or a new addition. Creating a capsule wardrobe is a great way to simplify and figure out exactly what you need when it comes to your wardrobe.
A problematic mindset
You might need to change your spending mindset if you hope to get your online shopping under control.
Buying things (clothes, technology, décor) should be an investment, not an impulse.
Organize your needs from your wants. Are you making a planned purchase or just buying it because it’s on sale?
Is it possible to buy this item secondhand? Have you looked?
Are you searching for instant gratification or a surge of dopamine from the pleasure of online shopping? If so, why?
Work with a professional
If you’re still struggling to get your spending under control, you should consider working with a financial advisor who can offer guidance and advice on creating a financial plan. Connect with one through Vexxit today.