Online Shopping 101: Keeping Your Budget in Check
Online shopping has become the new normal for many people after the rapid development of eCommerce, especially during the pandemic. Aside from the convenience that online shopping provides, consumers have an easier time finding what they want and shopping according to their budget, as opposed to shopping done in person.
However, many people have also come to find one major downside to online shopping: the ease of overspending. With the constant bombardment of promotions, the convenience of adding things to a virtual cart, and the abundance of online payment options, it has become so easy to go over your budget when buying things online.
If this sounds like an issue you’re currently facing, you are not alone. We’ve come up with some of the best ways to keep your budget in line when shopping online-without feeling like you’re depriving yourself.
1. Practice the 7-day rule
Some people use the 7-day rule to control their shopping impulses. The rule states that when you want to buy something, wait seven days before buying it. If the seven days are up and you still want to buy it, go ahead if it’s within your budget. Otherwise, move on. In this way, you can avoid spending money on things that you “fall in love” with but don’t want after all.
2. Choose classic pieces
If you want to buy, say, Guess handbags for women, consider opting for classic pieces that will hardly go out of style for years-or even decades-to come. Trendy pieces tend to be in style for only a limited time, and once that time is up, you may not want to use it by then, which can translate to money down the drain.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy clothes or accessories that are in trend for the season. But if you want to get the most bang for your buck, it’s best to choose styles that will stand the test of time.
3. Set a budget
Like food, rent, and utilities, it’s also a good idea to set a budget for online shopping. In this way, you can avoid overspending on ‘wants’ and ending up not having enough money for the essentials.
For instance, if you can comfortably spend $100 every month on non-essential purchases, set that money aside when you see something you want to buy. If you don’t want to buy something for the month, save that $100 for your shopping fund or use it for your basic needs instead.
4. Avoid using your credit card
Shopping with a credit card is all too convenient-so much so that it makes it easy to spend money that you don’t have. That said, avoid using your credit card for online purchases unless you already have the cash to pay off the purchase. Better yet, use this rule: if you can’t afford it in cash, you can’t afford to charge it on your card either.
Furthermore, you can also try taking out your credit card details from online shopping apps if you have trouble controlling your spending. If you want something you cannot afford right now, save for it instead of using your credit card to borrow money.
5. Uninstall shopping apps
Mobile apps make it easy to shop online, which may be a problem if you have trouble controlling your online spending. If this is the case for you, uninstall all shopping apps from your phone to avoid the impulse to spend money on things that you don’t need. Similarly, remove shopping websites from your bookmarks and sign out of them to help you avoid impulsive shopping.
6. Find other ways to cheer yourself up
Emotional shopping is also a common cause of overspending. Whether you’re sad, stressed, or just plain bored, you may find clicking on the ‘purchase’ button a great way to boost your serotonin levels. However, this can lead to a reliance on shopping to cheer yourself up, which can be a difficult cycle to break from once you get used to it.
If you constantly find yourself shopping online for a quick emotional boost, find other ways to make yourself happy. For example, watch your favorite show, cook a delicious meal, spend time with friends, or cuddle with your pet instead. Your finances-and your mental health-will thank you later.
Don’t let your online shopping habits drive your finances to the ground. To take control of your spending and, at the same time, avoid falling into a cycle of retail therapy, put these tips into practice. You can have a better grasp of your finances with the proper techniques.