You know that feeling when you’re shopping online, and you see something you just have to buy? Like the new lip gloss or a pair of shoes. You don’t need it, but it’s pretty cheap, so you click “add to cart.”
It’s like the best kind of treat.
But it can also be dangerous, especially if your budget is already strained.
You’re not alone. Study shows that 80 percent of Canadians admit to making impulse purchases. There are many reasons for this. It could be marketers’ brilliant ads, clever marketing tactics, or our addiction to checking social media too frequently. Whatever the reason, it’s best to learn how to win the impulse shopping battle of making online purchases.
The following are some tips that can help you win the online impulse shopping battle and maintain a healthy financial life:
1. Keep a shopping list
This is one of the easiest ways to avoid impulse buying. Before you start browsing for deals on sites like Groupon or Amazon, make sure you have a list of things you actually want. That way, when a product catches your eye, you can look at your list and see if it’s something that truly fits into your lifestyle. If it doesn’t fit in with your life goals or budget, resist the temptation!
2. Use cash instead of credit card
Studies show that people spend more when they pay with credit cards than with cash. In fact, researchers at Stanford University found that people spent more when they used their debit cards instead of credit cards. So if you have an upcoming purchase where you know you can’t afford to splurge on something, try using cash instead of your credit card or debit card. You’ll be surprised at how much you save!
3. Remove saved credit cards
If you’re like most people, you’ve got multiple saved credit cards on your e-commerce sites. The problem is that when you’re shopping on Amazon or another site, it’s easy to just click and buy from one of your saved cards without thinking about whether you need the item in question. So remove all your saved cards. At least force yourself to go through the process of finding your credit card and entering the info, which might give you time to consider if you really need the thing you’re buying.
I’ve done this on Amazon, Etsy, and eBay, and it works like a magic. I’ve seen things I wanted but then couldn’t buy them because I had no saved credit card on file and had to manually enter my info.
4. Never shop with your emotions
Many advertising campaigns rely on emotional manipulation to influence consumers to spend money.
They know that we’re more likely to make an emotional decision about something than a rational one, so they use that knowledge against us by playing on our feelings.
For example, if you’re feeling lonely or sad, you might find yourself drawn toward products that promise companionship or joy — even if they aren’t necessary for your life. Or maybe you feel overwhelmed by your responsibilities and start thinking, “if only I had more money.” Then ads for luxury items start looking pretty appealing.
Don’t fall victim to this kind of manipulation! If something catches your eye, take some time to think about whether or not it’s worth buying. If it’s not something that would benefit your life in some way, then don’t buy it!