Crazy for Sales: 11 Ways to Avoid Overspending Online
For the Love of Online Shopping
Shopaholics of the internet age never have to leave their homes to indulge their habit – and we have online shopping to thank for that!
While it can be an incredibly convenient, money-saving way to shop for necessities and hard-to-find items, it is easy to go overboard.
Just think about how we are bombarded daily, perhaps even hourly on social media sites, through email and other ways, with promising offers and not-to-be-missed mega discounts.
It’s hard to step away and often, our bank accounts suffer as a result.
Overspending is not a small issue, especially if can’t afford your online buys and are putting them on your credit card.
You may soon run into debt and use up your savings, if you aren’t careful.
Worried about your online shopping habits? Here’s a guide to help you avoid overspending online and how you can get the most out of your money when you do shop!
11 Tips to Keep from Overspending Online
1. Always compare prices
Sometimes a deal seems so incredibly good that you won’t hesitate to add it to your cart and check out. But often, what seems too good to be true – is just that!
Take a few moments to compare prices, quality and services on other sites to find out if the promo you are considering is really worth the money.
You may find that the discounts are plain bogus or that the price doesn’t include tax charges and delivery, or maybe another site has a better offer for you.
2. Buy only what you need
Don’t make a purchase just because of a discount or a sale; ask yourself if you actually need and want the item or service you are buying.
More importantly, think about if you need it immediately.
If you are buying something that may only be used in a few months (e.g. a dress you can’t quite fit into yet), consider holding off for now.
You may come across even better sales for the things you need, when you need them.
3. Think carefully about bulk-buys
In the same vein of buying only what you need, avoid going sale-crazy for bulk purchases that you aren’t going to need in the near future.
It’s important to note that especially with food items, buying bulk during clearance sales might not be a good idea.
This is because; clearance promos are often meant for products that are close to expiry.
Thus, buying large amounts of food that you will not be able to consume in time, could be a just a waste of money.
4. Create a budget
The thing with shopping online is that you will often pay with intangible money, either through your credit or debit card or bank account transfer.
You won’t feel the cash leaving your hands and thus, you may not fully realise just how much you are spending.
That is until your credit card bill comes at the end of the month or when you check your account balance.
To stay on top of your spending, whether with cash or credit, do plan out a monthly or weekly budget for necessities, entertainment and even online shopping (if you are overspending here).
State how much you are allowed to spend online, be strong and follow through.
5. Wait it out
Mull over your intended purchases and if you still want it after a day or two, then at least you’ll know that it isn’t a rash buy.
Of course, this might not always be doable because many online sales are time-sensitive, especially flash sales which may just last the hour.
But flash sales in general can be tricky as they are intended to get a shopper to swiftly buy a product or service.
So again, if you have a shopping addiction or are constantly overspending, consider skipping flash sales altogether.
| See also: 8 Creative Ways for Malaysians to Save Money in 2018 |
6. Be careful when increasing your credit limit
If you have poor spending habits and cannot trust yourself to spend within your means, think long and hard before requesting a credit limit increase to pay for your online buys.
In fact, you should completely refrain from increasing the limit (unless it’s an emergency), if you have trouble paying off balances, at the end of the month.
Stick with your budget (as per Tip No.4) to keep from overspending and heading down a path of mounting credit card debt.
You just don’t need the temptation. And so, if a particular merchant is sending you too many notifications to buy their stuff, consider signing out.
Trim your mailing list to only receive marketing offers from companies that aren’t spamming you.
This way you’ll be able to focus your attention on promos and deals that are really worth it and that apply to you.
8. Be a minimalist
When it comes to almost everything in life – taking a minimalist view helps you focus on quality, not quantity.
Whether shopping online or IRL, don’t be drawn in by cheaper prices alone; instead, look at the value offered.
Does the item on sale match the quality and other offerings (e.g. free delivery and returns) for its price?
If you take this approach whenever you shop, you’ll have a better chance at buying things that are worth the money.
9. Manage the amount of time you spend on shopping sites
The more time you spend scrolling through a list of things for sale, the more chances you have of coming across something you probably don’t need, but think you should have.
Instead, plan out your time when shopping online as you would when going to a mall. Write a list of things you need so that you don’t get tempted and make unplanned purchases.
In other words, don’t let the sales dictate what you buy; know what you want before you start shopping.
10. Shop the old-fashioned way
At least once in a while, go out and buy the things you need.
This will give you an opportunity to look at prices in brick-and-mortar stores and compare how different they are from online stores, if at all.
Moreover, buying in stores for certain items that require testing or trying like clothing or gadgets can provide greater satisfaction than buying online.
This way, you won’t waste money to purchase (or time to return) an item of which the quality or fit, etc. is unclear.
11. Use a good credit card
If you shop online very often, using a good online credit card responsibly can be favourable for a number of reasons.
For instance, you’ll enjoy better security, a chance to save more through cashbacks and discounts, and depending on the card, even insurance.
Moreover, credit cards protect you from fraud and fake products, which are a concern when buying from unknown online sellers.
Speaking of which, if you don’t have a credit card or are looking for a better one, don’t hesitate to give our ‘beary ‘cool comparison tool a try and discover the perfect card for you!