How to master your online shopping habits
Being confined to home during the pandemic limits your choices, so it’s no surprise that many people have turned to online shopping. After all, a smartphone, tablet, or PC is within reach for many.
According to a Slickdeals study of 2,000 Americans, impulse spending jumped 18% from January 2020 – before the pandemic hit – to April 2020. Specifically, monthly consumer spending in this category fell from $ 155.03 to $ 182.98 per month.
If you’re wondering why, nearly 3 in 4 respondents said buying something on impulse during the pandemic had a positive effect on their mood – a welcome change during a difficult time.
As the pandemic persisted throughout 2020, people continued to spend more time online. As of October 1, 2020, U.S. consumers were spending an average of eight hours a day online – up from 6.45 hours spent online before the pandemic, according to data from the National Awareness, Attitudes, and Health Survey. ‘use. And more time online means more opportunities to buy things you don’t need.
There is no doubt that the pressures of the pandemic – which have made it necessary to stay at home more and, as a result, spend more time online – are largely to blame for the increase in online shopping. But how do you curb your online shopping habits if they get out of hand? Easy. Put savings first and set up roadblocks to make impulse spending more difficult. Here are some expert tips to get you started.
First make sure your emergency fund is in place
Make sure your emergency fund is set before spending on wishlist items, advises John M. Longo, Ph.D., CFA, professor of finance and economics at Rutgers Business School and author of “Buffett’s Tips: A Guide to Financial Literacy and Vie.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made most people realize that they should have an emergency fund of at least six months for living expenses,” Longo said. “If you have to shop online for non-essential items, wait until your emergency fund is fully funded.”
Delete your saved credit card information
Because it’s so easy to shop online, it’s much harder to limit yourself, said Anna Barker, personal finance expert and founder of LogicalDollar. She thinks the key to the cut is to take steps to make it a little harder to buy online.
Did you know: 23 Secret Ways To Save Money On Amazon
“An easy way to do this is to delete all of the saved credit card information from your browser and online stores,” Barker said. “That way, even having to get up to find your wallet and enter your credit card details could give you time to pause and wonder if you really need to spend that money.”
Put your purchases on hold for 24 hours
Barker recommends this second tip to help you stop impulse buying or boredom buying, as well as a smart way to help you avoid caving.
“By forcing yourself to leave items in your online shopping cart for 24 hours, you also give yourself time to determine if you really, really need what you’re about to buy,” Barker said. “And if you need help with that, there is a great Chrome extension called Icebox for this purpose. It replaces the “buy” button with “put it on ice”, which allows you to keep the purchase for 30 days and not be able to buy it until the cool-down period is over. “
Set a budget for your online shopping and stick to it
You should budget for your “fun” spending online, said consumer analyst Julie Ramhold of DealNews.com. “If you try to deprive yourself, you’ll end up feeling like you’re missing out on something,” Ramhold said. “Instead, set a reasonable budget for your online spending on items you don’t need – and stick to it. This will allow you to continue to indulge yourself, but will keep your spending under control and prevent you from going overboard. “
Find other ways to spend your time
Reckless online shopping can stem from boredom at home during the pandemic, said Sarah Carlson, founder of Fulcrum Financial Group. She suggests trying to find other things to pass the time. “Read a book, do a puzzle, organize a closet,” Carlson said. “Think about ways to make money rather than spend it. Sell your clothes on sites like Poshmark. Put some of your goods that you don’t use on Facebook Market Place or Craigslist. You will feel so much better at the end of this pandemic with more money in your bank account and not a bunch of things you don’t need.
More from GOBankingRates
Last updated: May 27, 2021