Like many Americans, you may be home right now with very little to do because of pandemic closures. One temptation that you may face is the urge to shop, both online and in the store when they are open. Overspending can be a very real danger that you might face, and it can blow a hole in your personal finances. Here is how to avoid overspending when you are shopping.
Put Some Speedbumps on Amazon
One of the striking things about the online superstore is how easy they have made it to buy something. You can even swipe right like you are on an online dating app, and your item will be on your doorstep tomorrow. What you gain in convenience, you lose by giving yourself a massive credit card bill at the end of the month.
One way to avoid this is by doing everything you can to slow up your purchase process. Do not let Amazon store your credit card number on the site. The time that it takes for you to manually enter in your credit card will be enough for you to stop and think whether you really need the thing that you are buying. This can slow you down and help you avoid impulse purchases. Sometimes, a brief moment of reflection is enough to keep us from buying something that we do not really need.
Cut Back on Online Shopping
As stated above, online shopping feeds problem shopping for many people. If you have a spending problem, chances are that the convenience will only make it worse for you. To the extent that you can, shopping in the store is another way of adding extra time to the process to get you to slow down and think.
Just the extra time that it takes to drive to the store and walk to the checkout counter is enough to get you to be a little more intentional about what you are doing. There is more effort and planning involved in physical shopping, and there is less of a risk that you will be as impulsive. Online shopping is built to make it easy for you to run up large amounts of debt sitting on the couch in your pajamas.
Be Skeptical About Sales
Every retailer is always running some sort of sale. They are trying to convince you that the bargain that you could get today will not be here tomorrow. As a result, you would need to act fast or else risk missing out on a great deal.
In your mind, the word “sale” should not equate to the phrase “must buy.” First, many retailers are great at convincing you that the regular daily price of something is considered a sale. They arbitrarily pull out a higher price and put a line through it in their effort to convince you that you are saving money.
Given all of the competition that there is in e-commerce and retail, chances are that you can find the same exact price elsewhere a week later if you find that you still need the item. There are very few deals out there that are too good to be passed up with some extra time to think about the purchase. Retailers have become very good about creating buzz because this is what they need to do right now to survive.
Use Shopping as a Reward
Spending money on yourself beyond the essentials that you need for daily life should be a special occasion that is not meant for everyday life. Shopping for luxuries should be a way of rewarding yourself when something good happens. When you place limits on the circumstances under which you shop, you reduce the risk of overspending on a daily basis.
The more opportunities you have to shop, the higher the risk that you could put yourself into debt. You should change the psychology around your shopping to make it more of a special occasion. This includes cutting back on shopping that is done to medicate you and make you feel better.
Shopping can be a great thing for people who do it responsibly. The thrill of buying something new makes our daily lives better so long as the rest of our lives are not mired in debt because of it.