Online shopping has dramatically increased in recent years. Retail therapy is just that—therapy! And it taps deep into the far recesses of our soul to know what we would look like in that fly leather jacket!
These fantastical excursions to the better-us have only been heightened during the lockdown. And we are sure that when people across the country can congregate again, there are going to be some fire outfits.
But, there is a dark side to retail therapy. Sadly, many people taking this fun activity—browsing online for new clothes—and go way too far. In fact, they go so far that they put themselves into serious debt.
Now, that is an extreme example, but retail therapy on a mild-level can lead to blasted budgets and gas tanks that don’t get filled. In short, retail therapy, when not kept in check, is an enemy to our budget and a vice that can precipitate irresponsible spending.
Of course, we can blame our smartphones and we can blame the coupons—retailers are throwing out 30% off coupons pretty regularly these days—but we are ultimately to blame. We have to stop indulging and stick to our budgets! Here are some tips to stay on the right track and get your retail therapy in-check.
Tip 1: Dig into Your Spending
We tend to make internet shopping a rushed pursuit like every item is about to sell out. And whether that is the case or not, it might help folks to understand their spending and slow things down.
What do we mean? Well, pull your account statements some time and look at how much money you have spent on clothes over the last 3 months. Did you need those clothes? Are you getting a lot of wear out of them? If not, you could have put that money into your savings or paid down debt.
If you study your spending, you can learn some things about yourself and know how to stop bad decisions. Knowing exactly where your money is going might guilt you into putting it to better use.
We recommend breaking down your spending into categories, reviewing your budget, and set some limits for yourself!
Tip 2: Shop Smart
When you are about to buy a product at a somewhat suspiciously pricey cost, trust your instinct. Never buy a product without having conducted a thorough search.
There are add-ons for internet browsers that search for coupons and even check for lower prices from other sellers. Be smart with your coins, my friend.
Use the internet to your advantage. Find the best price and be patient. Unless you need something to do, wait for it to go on sale.
Tip 3: Get Good at Window Shopping
Trust me, window shopping releases as much dopamine as actual buying does. It is not very easy for everyone, but with some practice, you can accomplish it! Get that fix any way you can!
You can visit as many sites as you want, but you can only browse. Don’t add anything to your basket and don’t buy anything. That’s why wishlists exist! Create an account on that website and add the product you would like to buy to the wishlist. Otherwise, try to limit yourself to just seeing and “not touching.”
Tip 4: Beware of Short-Term Satisfaction
Unfortunately, it is known that online shopping can offer us some form of satisfaction, but it doesn’t last long.
Purchasing a nice outfit or a pretty piece of jewelry can improve our mood—the drama of checking the package in the mail online— but it quickly fades. In the end that object reveals itself to be nothing more than an object. Surprise!
It can’t provide long-term satisfaction. On top of that, if we are not careful enough we might jeopardize our long-term desires by spending money we have put aside for online shopping. In particular, when you feel like shopping online do not access your savings account.
You do not want to spend money that you have worked hard for and put aside some online shopping that will provide you with just materials and objects.
Tip 5: Create a Budget
It is really useful to put some money on the side for your online shopping. If you create a certain budget for it, it will be easier to stay in control and not have extra expenses.
Prioritize your purchases according to their price and necessity. Ask yourself, do I absolutely need this new item?
It will be helpful if you stick to your budget. Make sure your budget plan does not pressure you financially and it doesn’t exceed a reasonable amount of money. Out of all the expenses we have every month, online shopping (or personal spending) should be the least expensive as it is not as essential as our grocery shopping or paying the rent.
Tip 6: Add Browser Extensions to Restrict Websites
If all else fails, blindfold yourself with technology. As mentioned above, there are a lot of browser extensions that restrict websites. Here are some of the most popular options.
- LeechBlock is free of charge and you can add it on any kind of browser. With LeechBlock you select some websites that you want to block for some time during the day. You can block a site for a whole day and you can also have a passcode for some websites that prevents you from accessing these websites.
- Freedom is a browser extension that comes with a fee of $2.50 per month. It has the same features as LeechBlock. Nevertheless, it is much stronger. To access a site that you have blocked, you can’t unblock it with just a click. You must go to your settings and unblock it from there ( it will take you approximately 2 minutes). This amount of time and clicks are sufficient enough to discourage you from accessing that online shopping website.
- StayFocused is an excellent browser extension (in my opinion). It doesn’t only block a website or two, but an entire genre of websites. This is life-saving since you might access a site that is not known for its online shopping options. It is free of charge and you can add it on any kind of browser (highly-suggested).
Even though retail therapy can get out of control, we can control our expenses and restrict our online shopping with some clever restrictions.
We must be responsible and very cautious with our purchases. Knowing that this pandemic can hurt our bank accounts and put at risk our jobs, we should focus on properly managing our money and not wasting it.