It’s quite difficult now to even remember a time before online shopping. It’s just too easy to hop on Instagram and buy the latest season’s shoes/jacket/jeans/swimwear. So easy that it’s addictive.
If you’re getting a regular ‘fix’ from hitting order on ASOS or Amazon, maybe it’s time to kick the habit to the curb and save your dollars.
Unsubscribe to your favourite brands’ mailing lists
How is it that your favourite brands always email you at the perfect time, with the perfect thing? One minute you’re cooking dinner and the next, you’re buying charging cables you don’t need because they’re half price for today online.
More often than not, you’ll go on an hour long online shopping bender because of a mailer you received. So, eliminate the trigger and keep your inbox clean of marketing campaigns that encourage you to spend.
Actually itemise and cost what you do buy
Just as contactless cards seem to make the physical payment process easier, storing online credit or debit card details can make them too easy to access without full thought.
Therefore, for a period of perhaps a month, physically list all the online purchases you make and their cost. Like a dieter can often be asked to complete a food log, you are actually fully exposed to your actions by having the proof right there to see. Oh and if you save your credit card details on your browser, wipe it off!
Use only debit cards to make online payments
Two things that spell disaster paired together? Credit card and online shopping. It is far too easy to spend more than you can afford with a credit card.
Switching to a debit card, either permanently or for a specific trial period, will make your levels of spending more instantly apparent – and can show you if and where more financial control is needed.
Know what you already have
Do you remember everything you have already purchased and stored away for future use? If not, how often do you make online purchases, and when the item arrives, you find you are adding it to a stock that you already hold, or it is similar to, or does the same task as, something you previously bought but haven’t yet got round to using?
Organising everything from wardrobes to freezers can let you know when you genuinely need to make further purchases.
It’s as simple as asking, ‘Do I already have something like this?’ before you click order.
Abandon your cart
This might sound ridiculous, but don’t knock it till you try it. Most of the time, you’re addicted to the endorphin boost/thrill/excitement of surfing through an online store and adding things to your cart. If you really can’t help yourself, let yourself do everything you’d do – browse, add to cart, go all the way, but don’t actually put the order through.
You’ll find that you might get the same thrill but without having to spend your money. And the next day, you’ll probably have forgotten about that sous-vide machine that you just had to have.
These five tips can help you start to pay more attention to what can often be almost-unnoticed increases in online spending.
Not sure how much to spend and save? Our free personalised financial health check will give you a guide on how to structure your finances in just 5 questions.
Also published on Medium.