These days, you can purchase just about anything online from the comfort of your bed, sofa or anywhere you happen to be. You don’t even need your computer. Just a few taps on your phone can get a package delivered the following day from Amazon. The ease of online shopping has caused a dramatic increase in impulse purchases.
In a recent CreditCards.com survey, five out of six people said they’d engaged in impulse buying. Almost a third said that they made most of these impulse purchases online.
Thanks to our online activity, retailers know just what we want. Have you noticed that if you spend more than a few seconds looking at an item online, it follows you in ads for days, regardless of what you’re doing on the internet?
As one CreditCards.com analyst explains, retailers “can collect so much information on their users that they no longer have to speculate about what we want.”
With a little effort and some willpower, you can reduce online shopping temptations. For example:
- Unsubscribe from email lists. That “unsubscribe” link can be very tiny, but it’s there.
- Delete retailer and other shopping apps that are on your tablet or phone.
- Don’t let a site save your credit card information. Besides the potential security risk, it also makes it far too easy to make a purchase because you don’t have to get up and find your credit card.
- Don’t go into retailers’ sites or shopping sites like Amazon unless you actually need to buy something. Even then, before you hit that final button to make your purchase, take a half an hour or so and then come back to the site if you haven’t changed your mind about your purchase.
- Recognize whether you’re shopping as a way to feel good. If you’re engaging in “retail therapy,” find a substitute that doesn’t cost you money. If you believe you have a real shopping addiction (and some people do), you may want to consider actual therapy.
If your credit card debt has gotten out of hand due to online shopping, these tips can help you get a handle on it. You may also want to explore some additional debt relief options to help get your financial life under control.