Breaking Bad Online Shopping Habits
Online shopping has really skyrocketed over the past few years and continues to stay on its upwards trend. E-commerce was already gaining much ground before 2020, but with lockdowns forcing people to be confined to their rooms, it was only natural for everyone to turn to online shopping for their wants and needs. These habits that were built over the course of two years have remained with us even during this endemic phase.
While it can be fun to go on a shopping spree, online shopping can be incredibly costly when you constantly make unplanned purchases.
As such, let’s discuss several ways on how you can break bad shopping habits. By instilling self discipline, you can avoid causing a nasty dent in your wallet and maybe even have more time to get your important business taken care of instead of browsing the web.
Use a budget tracker
The first thing you can do to curb your spending is to utilise budget tracking apps in order to make sure you don’t end up overspending. Online shopping and ecommerce retailers have gotten very good at tempting consumers to spend more and it is easy to go overboard when seasonal shopping sales such as 11.11 come around.
In general, budgeting apps are great in terms of putting your spending habits in perspective. Once you’ve seen the percentage of your monthly income that you’ve spent putting items in your shopping cart, you will likely be deterred from continuing your shopping spree.
If you are not too sure where to begin, iMoney has a great list of some of the most useful budgeting apps that you can use to keep your spending in check.
Make a list
Similar to classic grocery shopping, one of the ways to break bad online shopping habits is to pre-plan your purchases. Just like the aforementioned budgeting apps, there are plenty of shopping list apps that you can make use of to easily keep track of the items that you actually require versus the items that you only want.
The important thing is to be strict about the list. You are only allowed to buy things that appear on it.
Limit your time
A simple practice, but an effective one if you can stick to it. You can break the bad habit of impulse buying by limiting the amount of time you spend browsing online stores. This will help keep things in perspective by forcing you to concentrate on looking for items you need, rather than want.
For example, you can set up an alarm to go off within 10 to 15 minutes right before you start browsing. Once the alarm goes off, finish up what you were doing or immediately turn off the app.
If you find that you lack the discipline to stick to these rules, then you could try utilising Android’s Digital Wellbeing or Apples Screentime features. This allows you to set hard limits on the amount of time you can spend on certain apps per day.
Using browser extensions to block websites
The computer alternative to the previously mentioned screen apps. If you are having trouble staying away from window shopping on different websites while working or relaxing, you can consider using a browser extension.
Most browsers will have extensions which can help you stay focused by blocking certain websites, ultimately preventing you from adding any items to your cart. Though you will need to fight the urge to simply turn off the extension.
Use a separate shopping email
Keeping track of your online spending can be difficult if all the receipts get sent to your inbox. You may want to consider opening a new email address that will solely be used for your online purchases.
This will help you keep track of your spending because you will be able to see all the digital receipts of your purchases in one place without having to sift through hundreds of other emails that you might receive. In addition, it also serves as a reminder as to how much you’ve actually bought.
Make extensive use of shopping carts
Most online shopping websites have a shopping cart for you to put items you are interested in purchasing. You can utilise it to purchase multiple items at once, or select a few that you want to buy now while saving the rest for later. This means you can treat the shopping cart as a sort of planner in order to get an idea of how much you may want to spend each month.
For example, you can continue to add things to your cart, but only check out once a month. With this, you’ll be able to look at every item and the overall amount you are going to spend.
Fun fact, research by Baymard Institute shows the average cart abandonment rate is around 70% to 85% depending on the device used. This means that plenty of people are leaving websites with some items still inside their shopping cart.
One way to break the online shopping habit is to get rid of those pesky notifications from shopping apps. Trust us when we say that you can be a lot more productive without apps such as Lazada and Shoppee sending you notifications about flash sales every hour or so.
This will help keep you from being tempted by sales and deals, especially if you have no real need for anything. These shopping ads also try to tempt you with a false sense of urgency in their wording. As such, it is best if you don’t see them at all to avoid getting swayed.
Unsubscribe from online providers’ newsletters
Retailers often promise a great one-off discount when you sign up for their newsletters. Sure, you save money that one time, but the downside is that now you’re on their marketing list. This means that you can expect an email or two every week regarding new deals and sales.
Take a few minutes to unsubscribe from all the retailer newsletters you receive. You won’t hear about their special sales or customer appreciation days, but you’ll have more money in your account if you didn’t know about the sale to begin with.
Online shopping can be both a curse and a blessing. Yes, it does save time compared to the hassle of in-person shopping, which is especially convenient if you have younger children. However, many people frequently spend more than they planned, and more than they can afford, when they take their shopping online. After all, ecommerce websites such as Lazada and Shopee never close and are available 24/7. This can be a real challenge if you are looking to save money.
Simple strategies such as deleting your saved credit card credentials and unsubscribing from newsletters can go a long way towards curbing your urge to make impulse purchases.