9 Tips to Curb Online Shopping Addiction
Online shopping was already taking off before the pandemic but now, its popularity has inevitably skyrocketed. Getting hooked to online shopping is even easier than regular shopping. Anything you want is just a click away and the search bar saves you the countless hours you would have spent browsing at the mall.
There's nothing wrong with indulging yourself occasionally, but if you always find yourself feeling guilty afterwards, it might be time to rethink your hobby. Here is what you can do.
1. Soul searching
Compulsive habits usually have some underlying reasons. Try to find a pattern in your past behaviour. Some people shop as a way of fighting boredom, some get a temporary high after making a purchase, some just do it because it's plain fun. Whatever the cause is, identifying these triggers will help you be self-aware on your journey to be financially responsible.
2. Get a parent/friend involved
If there's anyone who can convince you that you don't really need a Pikachu LED desk lamp, it's your mom. Or maybe a very strict friend. Going over your potential purchases with someone else might provide some insight on whether you really need an item or not.
3. Limit the amount of easily available cash
Aside from some emergency cash, try to keep your money where it's not easily accessible to you. It could be a savings account or with a parent. That way, even if you get the urge to binge-shop, you won't have the resources to pull it off.
4. Target the source
Both iOS and Android devices have specific settings to stop the targeted advertisements that pop up in our social media. If you use a laptop, try deleting cookies to prevent seeing personalised ads. It might also be time to leave a Facebook shopping group or two.
5. Make a budget
It's important to be realistic here. There's no point in depriving yourself completely. Effective financial management always starts with a good budget. Keep a specific amount of "fun money" for shopping each month. Once it's gone, it's gone. Wait until the next month to buy something from your wishlist.
6. Maintain a log
Keep a list of all the things you buy, along with their prices. If maintaining a diary is too much of a hassle, there are budgeting apps like Mint or Wally to keep track of expenses. These personal finance tools will not only help with tracking purchases, but also present feedback on your spending.
7. Don't impulse-buy
That's it. That's the tip. But we'll reiterate. Read on.
8. "SALE! BUY IN THE NEXT 3 DAYS AND GET 40% OFF"
These tactics are usually employed to prey on people's impulsiveness. Take at least two days to assess if the item is worth it. This waiting period alone will make you realise you were about to make a frivolous purchase just to get free shipping.
9. Do a shop-free challenge
Going into full cold turkey mode rarely works. Building a habit is more dependable in the long run. Try to go 15 days without making an unnecessary purchase, and then gradually increase that number, until the tendency to overspend abates.
Developing these habits might be painful in the short term, but they will definitely transform you into a financially responsible adult in the future.
Ziba Mahdi is your resident pessimist. Cheer her up at facebook.com/ziba.mahdi.735