We have all been there. No matter how frugal you tend to be, sometimes it is difficult to resist making an impulse purchase, especially online. Giving in to impulse buying not only affects your wallet, but the habit prevents you from achieving your financial goals in the long term. Hence it is important to become aware of your online impulse shopping, your triggers, and the best steps you can take to address the problem.
What is Impulse Buying
An impulse purchase is an unplanned buying decision that happens just before a purchase occurs. While many consumers like to think that all purchases are planned and considered, that simply is not the case.
In fact, some studies have indicated that shoppers make at least one impulse purchase each week. Those impulse buys add up to $5,400 each year, on average. Depending on the product, impulse buys can make up to 80% of all sales.
Online shopping seems to be a whole other thing. The convenience, the fast pace, the social media aspect of it all. It’s made to feed the impulse shopping monster. Shopping online has become one of the best ways to snag a good deal! At least that is what retailers would want us to believe. Add to deals are perks like free shipping, percent-off coupons, and online-only sales. So how can you stop online impulse purchases?
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Why is Impulse Buying a Problem
When you make an impulse purchase, you can harm your savings and financial outlook. First, if you use a credit card to pay the bill, that may make your statement harder to pay off at the end of the month. You may be able to pay only the minimum balance, but then you’ll be hit with interest charges. If you’re not careful, you could snowball yourself into debt.
Even worse, if you end up missing that credit card payment, you’ll be hit with fees and possibly even a penalty interest rate. And that’s just short-term damage. In the long-term, you’ll damage your credit score, which can limit your future loan opportunities. That’s why we’re here to help you avoid impulse spending at all costs
How to Stop Online Impulse Shopping
Here are some key tips to help you stop impulse buying when you feel the urge creep up!
Unsubscribe From Retail Emails
If you are tempted by the emails filtering into your daily inbox, it is time to unsubscribe from the mailing list of your favorite retail stores. Yes, you will miss out on a few good deals, like those boots at Macy’s finally going on sale, but you will save 100% of your money if you do not know about the sale in the first place.
Avoiding daily temptations will decrease the amount of money leaving your checking account. Retailers will do anything to make you feel like right now, this second, is the only time you will ever get a good price on an item. And the sad part is, we often fall for it.
Never Store Your Credit Cards on Websites
Storing your credit card information online makes it really quick for you to give in to that 40% sales when it pops into your inbox. Never save your credit cards to websites, instead, choose to enter your credit card and billing information each time you make a purchase.
The extra time required to take your credit card out of your wallet and manually enter the information will add some mindfulness to the purchase process. Go ahead now and remove your credit card info from your most frequented sites.
Shop With a Plan and Budget in Mind
Figure out what items you want to buy and how much you’ll spend before you ever start shopping. With a plan and a budget in place, you’ll be less likely to give into overspending. Your shopping list can range from grocery items to the Christmas gifts you plan to purchase for your extended family—just know what it is you want to buy before you go.
Don’t Shop When Bored
When you’re stuck at home on a stormy day, or if you find yourself lying awake at night with insomnia, it can be all too tempting to bust out your phone or open your laptop and start browsing through your favorite online retail sites. But if you shop out of boredom, you’re likely to spend money needlessly, and that could really wreak havoc on your budget.
Rather than letting that happen, designate specific hours for online shopping during the week. During that time, you’re free to browse the internet for the various items you feel you need to buy. But ban shopping outside that window so you don’t do it as a means of entertainment.
Wait 24 Hours to Complete a Purchase
Next time you feel the urge to buy something, tell yourself to wait 24 hours. After 24 hours have passed, do you still want it? Are you still thinking about it? If so, go ahead and buy it, but you’ll find that most of the time, you’ve long forgotten about it already. The idea behind a spending waiting period is to avoid buying something until after a pre-determined amount of time has passed
Online shopping may be a popular alternative to in-person shopping, but it can also be a dangerous option. If you like shopping online, follow these tips to avoid going overboard on the spending front. Being more mindful and setting rules could help you avoid unwanted debt and the negative consequences that go along with it.
I know shopping is fulfilling but think about your future and your financial goals. You’ll realize that there are many more important things than what you’re about to buy. Is that pair of designer jeans really worth delaying your vacation? What about another new smartphone? Is that more important than saving for retirement?
Has your shopping been under control?