Resisting the temptation of all that online shopping has to offer is very difficult. You can almost feel your credit cards being pulled out of your pockets to be used to buy the latest gadget or two.
Nowadays it is so easy to spend money online what with being able to buy using smart phones with the click of a button. It feels as though these online retailers are at our beck and call in how we casually order items without any effort. The reality is that we have been conditioned into behaving in this way. We have come to accept that it is quite normal and natural to have anything, and everything delivered next day or in some cases on the same day.
Why are we so quick to spend money on-line and how can we control our spending to avoid going into the red and having to rely on short-term loans in the future.
To understand why we as a nation spend so much money each year online, we need to understand what makes us tick. We humans love rewards and nothing quite rewards our brains like a nice hit of dopamine. Buying something we want or at least the anticipation of buying something will give us a dose of this wonderful drug. How many times have you tracked a parcel online and waited in anticipation of its arrival? How did you feel when it was delivered? Like any drug dopamine can be addictive, just look at gamblers, their situation is the same, when they win dopamine is released, the more they play the more dopamine they are exposed to. Shopping is no different.
The difference between online shopping and going to a physical shop is on of convenience. Gone are the days when you had to traipse around the shops for hours on end looking for that perfect item. No more sore feet or irritated children and bored partner. With online shopping marketers have worked hard to create platforms which make it very easy to part you from your hard-earned cash with add-ons and upsells, checkout promotions, buy two get one free promotions, they know all the triggers to prise the money out of your hands and into theirs.
If you find the temptations of online shopping a challenge and you wish to address them then read our tips on how you can rein in your online spending.
Add Items to Your Cart and Walk Away
If you want that hit of dopamine, then try this trick. Go to an online store, browse for whatever it is that you wish or would like to buy, place it into your cart and then log out of the shop.
Now this might sound a little strange but sometimes the anticipation of buying something is the reward. Recall waiting for the parcel how excited you were as you tracked its progress over the course of the day? The same applies here. The simple act of going through the motions of buying something is as effective in having the same feelings as buying without the guilty feelings of having spent more money.
So, have fun, fill up that cart and then cancel the lot.
Unsubscribe from Email Lists
These online shops are not going away, or at least the big names are here to stay for a little while so there is no need to keep receiving emails from them.
The e-mails you generally receive from these retails are written to spur you into action. The usual ploy is to convince you that a sale is about to end, or that a certain product is limited. They want to create a sense of urgency so that you rush to buy without thinking. If you were to stop and think you would realise that you were quite content 5 minutes ago prior to receiving the e-mail but now all of a sudden you feel that you need to possess some trinket you were completely oblivious to moments ago.
Unsubscribe to all online commerce mailing lists. If you absolutely have to subscribe to something, then never use your main email address. Setup another web-based email account on outlook or Gmail and use that. At least if that ends up getting spammed then you can close it and setup another one.
Take your Time
Of course, we are not suggesting that you never buy anything online ever again, simple that you take control of your online spending habits. When you need to buy something, which is not essential such as food, clothes then we suggest placing the item into the cart leave it there and see how you feel about it in a few days’ time. Sometimes the idea of owning something in the spur of the moment makes us buy on impulse. The chances are that after a few days the desire to own it will subside and you will be able to decide with a clear mind and logic rather than emotion.
Block Tempting Sites
One plugin which we recommend anyone to get is called “stay focusd”. This plugin allows you to enter the website addresses of all the websites which you find yourself wasting time visiting. How many times have you had an important deadline to meet and instead found yourself watching another video on YouTube or browsing your social media accounts?
This plugin will police the amount of time you spend each day on your favourite websites. Add in a maximum allowed time for browsing and anytime you exceed that time the plugin will block the website.
For those shopping websites which you find yourself spending too much money on simply block them. Before you know it you will not miss shopping on-line.
Clear Your Browser Information
When you browse websites, you may find adverts being shown advertising products which you have recently viewed. This is due to a little piece of code on installed into your browser called a cookie. Cookies are used by advertisers to target ads to your browser presenting items they think you would be likely to purchase. If you make it habit of clearing cookies from your browse on a regular basis you will be less likely to see these adverts or alternatively you can install an ad blocker on your browser, so you don’t see any adverts. Although you may find that some sites will detect adblockers and ask you to disable them or you will be denied access to the site.
Do not store credit card information
This is a quick one to do. Never store your credit card details on any online store. This way you take away the convenience of buying on the spur of the moment. The same applies to social media accounts. Never accept your browsers suggestion to save your social media login details. This way you are not tempted to browse your social media account for hours at a time.
Set Financial Goals
The more you spend on-line buying frivolous items is money which is being wasted. What more can you do with your money if you were able to save up? Could you pay off debts, maybe start saving up for a place of your own or maybe take your family away for a nice holiday.
Don’t make the bosses at Amazon, Paypal or eBay even richer when you ought to be focusing on your financial wellbeing,
It can be difficult to start putting all of the above into practice, but all it takes is a little bit of discipline to get you off of buying on the spur of the moment when you bored. Online marketers know all the triggers to get you to buy. But you can’t be tricked into parting with your cash if you can ignore their messages.