Since appearing on Australia’s evening magazine Show ‘A Current Affair’ discussing compulsive online shopping, I’ve come up with another set of helpful strategies for you to keep your cash, and your cool, when contemplating online shopping.
Nobody but you can regulate your buying behaviour online
The whole idea with online shopping is to give you unfettered non-stop access to items you can buy. Which can be a wonderful thing for those who have logistical and other challenges which prevent them from going to the real bricks ‘n’ mortar stores.
But it can also set up unrestricted access to something that is so alluring, you find it hard to stop or put the brakes on when you know it’s time to stop.
This is why it’s important for YOU to put restrictions and limits on your access to online shopping – because those limits and restrictions don’t exist in the world of cyber commerce.
Once you’re there
Once you’re in the land of e-shopping, you’re in a prime position to buy something. That’s the whole idea, right? But for some of us, those who have struggled with creating and managing healthy shopping habits, this can be a trap.
When we’re online shopping, we’re exposed. We’re vulnerable. We’re open to buying more than we really want, need, or will ever use.
And we need helpful, specific strategies that will really work. Generalities like “cut up your credit cards” aren’t often helpful, as well intentioned as they may be.
So use these 3 super helpful and specific-to-this-kind-of-shopping tips to help manage your online shopping behaviour so you don’t end up with more stuff cluttering up your life and making a mess of your credit.
- Use the “Add to wishlist”, “Add to favourites”, “Add to dream list” (or whatever its called on the site you’re on now). This is a “put aside while I think about it” button. Which is what we want you to do. If you can’t manage to click off without buying, then at least delay the Buy Now step by taking its lesser option of adding it to the wishlist. You can always come back to it and add it to your shopping cart later.
- Ask questions of the buyer, if you are on an online shopping site that allows you to do this (such as online auction sites and those online marketplaces that sell handmade, vintage or ‘collective’ items). This is another “delay hitting Add to Shopping Cart” strategy you can use. It gives you time to think the purchase through, and importantly, put some space between “I love it”-“I have to have it!” – the impulsive buying pattern so many of us are familiar with and are trying to interrupt with healthier buying behaviours. Plus you obtain some valuable information from the seller which may tip the purchase in one direction or the other.
- Use your shopping cart as a holding station. Much like “Add to wishlist”, your shopping cart does not have to be concluded even if it has items in it. You can add items to it without completing the purchase. So add items to your shopping cart, save the shopping cart, and then click off without going the final step of making payment. This is not my favourite “interrupt the impulsive buying pattern of I love it therefore I must buy it NOW!” strategy. But it can work, and it’s therefore a useful strategy to use when online.
Empower yourself – you’re the only one who can
Online shopping can be incredibly useful, yes. But it can also be a trap. It can be a virtual rabbits hole we fall into and only find ourselves peeking our heads above hours later, wondering where all the time (and much of our cash) has gone.
Don’t let the easy access of online shopping control of what you decide to buy.
Empower yourself. Use these 9 strategies (the three in this post, and the 6 you’ll find in the preceding two articles on this topic– here and here) to put yourself in the driver’s seat of your online shopping.
And if you want to check out the story on compulsive online shopping which I was part of, and aired on Friday night, you can find and view it by clicking here.