Some people have successfully reigned in a spending problem by avoiding retail stores. It’s easier to control impulsive spending when items are out of sight, and when sales people aren’t using pressure tactics.
Of course, satisfying your inner shopaholic doesn’t require a trip to the mall. Just about every retailer has a website where customers can browse the selections and make purchases with a few clicks of a mouse. You can shop anytime of the day or night without dealing with crowds or fighting for a parking space. But while online shopping makes life easier for many, it can send a shopping addict into overdrive.
An online shopping problem isn’t something you can overcome overnight. But whether you’re spending to make yourself feel better, or you just can’t resist a good deal, the following tips can help you win the battle.
1. Unsubscribe to promotional emails
I am a promotional email junkie. Since I absolutely refuse to pay full price for anything, I joined the mailing lists of several retail stores to receive alerts about clearances and sales.
But although this is an excellent way to get more products for my money, there’s also a tendency to get caught up in the excitement of a sale and shop even when I don’t have a need for an item.
If you’re struggling to give up an online shopping addiction, there’s no greater enticement than the knowledge of an upcoming sale. However, by unsubscribing to these emails and offers you can cut off the temptation at its roots. You can’t be lured by sales you don’t know about—out of sight, out of mind.
2. Delete shopping apps
But it isn’t enough to delete your email address from a retailer’s subscription list. If you’ve downloaded shopping apps to your smartphone or tablet, these are just as tempting as receiving a promotional email.
I use shopping apps often to find the latest coupons and save money. Unfortunately, these apps also send notifications about upcoming sales and deals, which can be difficult to resist if online shopping is your biggest weakness. Eliminate the app and you’ll keep cash in your wallet.
3. Don’t save credit card information
A couple of years ago I went through a phase where I was buying online every few days. Some of the items I needed, but many of these purchases were impulse buys. Whether I was browsing Groupon or checking for deals at a retailer’s site like Kohls, I soon came to the realization that most of my impulse purchases were from sites where I had saved my credit card information.
Because I didn’t need to hunt down my wallet, type in the credit card number, or provide the expiration date and security code, shopping online became far too easy. As a little experiment I deleted my saved information, and amazingly, this helped curb the problem. I specifically remember a time when I was downstairs browsing the Internet and stumbled on an item I wanted to purchase. However, I was too lazy to walk upstairs and get my debit card.
I had every intention of purchasing the item later on, but once the moment passed, I completely forgot about the buy. If my information had been saved on the website, I would’ve wasted money on an item I didn’t need.
4. Keep a reminder of your credit card balance with you
While in college I got myself into some credit card trouble like many young adults managing their first credit card account. When the time came to pay off my balance, a simple technique helped control my spending. I kept a piece of paper in my wallet with my credit card balance written on it.
Even though I had zero plans of using the card, I kept the card in my wallet in case of a real emergency. Whenever I felt an impulse purchase coming on, I would pull out the note and look at my balance, which was over $2,000 at the time. This snapped me back to reality and I was reminded of my financial goals. All of sudden, these purchases didn’t seem as important anymore. Likewise, keeping your credit card balances and money goals in plain sight can help you stay focus.
Use Tools to Quickly Pay Down Debt
Where are you now with your finances? If you’re not sure how to get started, I suggest using Personal Capital to get a holistic view of your financial picture. It’s free and easy to use. It can be accessed via your desktop, tablet or mobile device and will provide insight into where you are spending today and where you might be able to cut back.
If you want an easy way to start paying off your debt, give Qoins a try. Qoins will round up your purchases to the next dollar and pay off your debt, fast. Once you link your account(s), you simply make purchases as you normally would. Qoins willl withdraw your “spare change” throughout the month.Watch your debt disappear as they automatically make an extra payment for you each month. Payments go out each month by the 15th, consisting of the previous month’s spare change. There is a $1.99 fee taken each month out of your spare change, however the savings in interest reduction can easily offset this fee. Read more about how the company works here.
An online shopping addiction is difficult to break, but not impossible. Impulse purchases increase the risk of debt and make it harder to pay essential expenses, such as rent and utilities. The above strategies aren’t the complete answer to overcoming an online shopping addiction, but following these tips can put you on the right path. Of course, it’s always helpful to get to the root of the problem, especially for long-term success. Don’t let a love of stuff ruin your finances.
Do you have any tips for kicking an online shopping addiction?