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Anyone else been online shopping a lot more than usual lately?
At the start of lockdown, I actually stopped online shopping. One of my friends works in the warehouse for one of the big delivery companies and he was scared and I was scared for him. But then as time went on, I got bored and started thinking up excuses to justify online shopping.
“I’m helping a small business”
“I’m at home cooking so much more, so I’ll definitely use X item”
“I’m saving money on commuting, so £XX for that thing isn’t even as much as my journey to work, plus lunch out!”
So as you might be able to tell, I’ve been splashing out on cute stationery from Etsy, gifty things from small businesses and kitchen bits. I started writing my orders down and I’ve actually been making A LOT of purchases. It needs to come to an end.
Welcome to my spending ban
I’m not spending more than I can afford, but if you add it all up, £20 here or there starts to look really extravagant. So I’ve put myself on a 1 month online shopping ban. I’m planning on buying something kind of expensive later this year (I’m being deliberately vague to avoid spoiling a surprise, it isn’t anything illegal). If I make it through, I can buy it and it’ll be so worth it, AND, I’ll have less clutter in my house.
Now, I’m not really one for a blanket ban on spending. “No spend days” are a popular idea online, but I think in practice, it’s a bit like a fad diet and impossible to keep up long-term. Like, people do NEED to buy food and replace things that break sometimes.
I’m having internet issues
I know I make most of my impulse purchases online. Facebook and Instagram ads are really getting to me at the moment, and it’s just so easy to fly through checkout with your payment details saved on PayPal. If you’re on the buy now pay later train, it’s even easier.
Although shops are open now, going in store has never been a problem for me. I don’t get the same scarcity mindset seeing a shelf full of identical items, or think that a sale is unmissable like I do online.
One of my biggest mistakes is buying more than I initially wanted, just to get free postage or justify expensive postage… *cough*Brandalley*cough* I can’t physically order one bra if the postage is £6.99, I’m going to fill my basket with more stuff I didn’t know I needed to make it “worth it”.
How to tell you’re an impulse shopper
Okay, think of the last thing you bought online that wasn’t like, car insurance or a week’s worth of shopping from Tesco.
Were you unaware the item even existed 1 hour before you bought it?
Do you already own a slightly different version of the thing?
When you were buying it did you feel quite passionate about your need to own it, then as soon as you clicked ‘buy’ did you forget all about it or feel regret?
Did you project a virtue onto the item? Did you think that owning it would make you more organised/a better cook/look more professional/help you have a healthier lifestyle?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, then maybe you’re like me; an impulse shopper.
Things to remember if you’re an impulse shopper
You can kick the habit of impulse shopping. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again. Here are some easy tips that have worked for me.
Try and click undo
You can return things. This is a biggie. When I started the online shopping ban two weeks ago, I sent back a load of things, and cancelled orders that hadn’t been dispatched yet. It’s a quick and easy way to assuage some guilt and claw back a few of those precious £s. I’ve also been selling some of the non-returnable stuff on Facebook Marketplace where I can.
Save it, don’t spend it
One of my weird online shopping fears is that even if I don’t “need” an item now, I might in future. Then when I do need it, I won’t be able to find this perfect thing and it’ll haunt me forever. My big remedy for that is to pin it to a Pinterest board. I almost never look at that Pinterest board, which shows you how much I actually “needed” any of that stuff. I like to go through it and delete stuff months later and see how much I’ve forgotten about. It’s a good tip!
There are other tactics like visualising the pile of money an item costs next to the item and thinking which one you’d take. (Always take the money!)
Are you willing to work for it?
Something I did earlier in the year was wait until I could side hustle the ticket price of what I wanted. Whether it was selling old stuff, or redeeming my cashback rewards for vouchers. I managed to buy my beautiful Magimix food processor for £0. It was a considered purchase and I still love it.
Make shopping harder for yourself
Cancel your shopping subscriptions. When I was a student, ASOS Premier was my downfall, I didn’t have much money, but most of it went on fast fashion tat! I wrote all about this for UKMB. For you it might be Amazon Prime and its cheeky 1 click checkout that’s making you spend, but either way, paying for a year of free delivery is not a good idea.
Scare yourself out of it
Nothing is as scary to me as cold, hard, numbers. Take an old debit or credit card statement and add up the impulse purchases. What could you do with that money? Do you still use what you bought? Finding out you spent £200 on hair products and gym kit in January 2019 and promptly FORGOT about it, is pretty petrifying.
If you’d like help, fill out my free outgoings spreadsheet. Then focus on that ‘shopping’ section… that’s where the damage usually is for me.
I’m on week 3 of my spending ban, and I only had one minor slip… okay I bought Just Dance for my Switch BUT I am going to sell another game to recoup the cost. Please tell me I’m not the only one who lockdown has turned into an impulse shopper?