Do you ever catch yourself endlessly browsing through online stores for a little binge-spending during lockdown? You’re not alone. Despite the uncertainty that Covid-19 brings, there is a tendency to succumb to the temptation.
Isolated online spending habits can increase unnecessary cost when unplanned. It is easy to go overboard with your budget while you dawdle during work to find that perfect blouse for your at-home Instagram shoot. Even though you are aware of this temptation, the new adjustments and change in lifestyle following Covid-19 may have established new and lasting habits.
When to worry about shopping online?
Online spending is a short-term calming pleasure with lasting consequences. With Covid-19 here to stay, things are not going back to normal anytime soon. The economy is going to take longer to rebuild and we need to be reminded to save and protect ourselves while managing to seize each day trying to live in the moment.
Of course, if you are low on essentials, by all means stock up! However, with regard to non-essentials, here are 5 ways you can press the brakes on your online spending:
Be Conservative & Spend with Kindness
You might be one of the lucky few to be financially well-off right now but keep a close eye on your expenses and spending habits. Practice spending conservatively as this pandemic slowly unravels. However, if you’re really set on buying certain items, consider supporting local and smaller businesses and help them pay their staff to keep their doors open during this pandemic. You can also donate to organisations supporting the front-liners.
Stick to a Budget & Wait 24 Hours
We have all made unplanned purchases when we see items “on sale”. Spend time to create a smart budget. Know and understand your budget, the difference between your wants and needs, and know how much surplus money you can afford to spend. This will help you curb your online spending desires. It’s also okay to treat yourself sometimes but slow yourself down. Wait for 24-hours before checking out. Regular unplanned purchases can burn a hole in your pocket. Critical advice from close friends can give you better clarity on what to do next.
Curb the Urge & Plan Ahead
Think! Why do you need to spend? Is it because you’re bored? Is it an unconscious habit? Is it to distract yourself from the current situation? Or because you have more time? Understand the “why” behind your purchase. Find the root cause driving this desire. This will declutter your mind on what’s necessary and not. The key question is “Do I really need this right now?”
Additionally, planning ahead to decide what you need to purchase can be helpful. Surfing websites without a plan is like walking into a supermarket without a list and buying a cart full of random items. Your temptation won’t change, but you can definitely handle it differently.
A tip: Keep a journal and jot down all online purchases made. This is an effective way to understand your purchases, figure out what you need, and if you have the money for it.
Research & Find Other Means of Entertainment
If you still can’t get your mind off that sensational blouse and want it for yourself, do some digging. Explore sites, compare prices, and secure the best deal. If you wish to save money, time is a crucial factor. Wait for prices to drop during fixed times of the year. Patient shoppers reap the savings.
If you have extra time at hand, use other forms of entertainment to alleviate your boredom. Pick up a book you’ve been meaning to read, try out a new recipe, learn something new, find that perfect music playlist, binge a show, even try out a new workout routine. Do anything that will distract you from venturing into the online wilds.
There is no better time than now to declutter and tidy up your space. Take your time as you go through your wardrobe and drawers. This will most definitely open your eyes to the amount of stuff you’ve been hoarding for years and that online shopping is not essential. This liberating exercise reduces anxiety and inspires a simpler life. Having said that, don’t feel ashamed or guilty over money you have already spent. Start over, do better.
Is it really worth it?
With 24/7 access to the internet, shopping online is a blessing and curse. With an endless maze of choice, we tend to get carried away and are sucked into the world of e-commerce. So, be mindful and make informed decisions. Afterall, is that ever-so-tempting blouse right before your screen-weary eyes really worth it?