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A few online purchases here and there can really add up. Americans collectively spent $870.78 billion on online purchases in 2021. This figure is expected to be even higher in 2022. The ease of clicking “buy” and being able to receive your item within days – sometimes even hours – is addictive, but it can really dig into your budget.
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Online shopping has become so common that you may not even know how much you are spending, let alone how to kick the habit. Luckily, this is something almost everyone has had to deal with, and there are some surefire tips and tricks to reduce your e-commerce addiction.
Estimate how much you spend
It’s good to take stock of how much you’re spending when you checkout online. Three of the most popular sites where consumers deposit money are Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. Amazon Prime members get the best prices, fast delivery and other perks from the retail giant. About 31% of Amazon Prime members spend between $51 and $100 per month, and 23% of Prime members spend more than $100 per month on the site. This is on top of the annual $139 it costs to be a Prime member. The average eBay user spends around $40 per month on the site, and the average Etsy user spends around $45 per month.
Of course, many factors can affect this, such as the time of year, what you’re looking for, and how urgently you need the item. To calculate for yourself, review all of your online purchases from the past month. If the number doesn’t work for you, set a specific amount you can spend on online shopping each month and stick to it.
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Leave it in the basket
Sometimes we resort to online shopping to cure boredom. We end up buying things that seemed cool at the time, but once they arrive on our doorstep, we have this tinge of guilt like, “Oh, I didn’t really need that or I didn’t like not that much”. It’s amazing what giving items a little time to breathe can do for our budget.
Next time you’re shopping online, fill your shopping cart with the items you love, but resist the urge to buy them. Come back 48 hours later and if you still really want the items, go ahead and buy them. Most likely, there will be a few things that you no longer feel compelled to buy, which will save you from spending money on something you’re lukewarm for.
Block shopping sites
If you find it hard to stop visiting online stores, it might be time to try something different. If you primarily use Firefox to browse the web, try LeechBlock. LeechBlock is a free browser extension that works by having time constraints on sites you visit frequently so that you can’t visit them during the work day, for example. If you use Chrome, you can try the free StayFocusd browser extension. Not only can you block specific sites, but you can also block site types, so you won’t be tempted to visit online stores for a set period of time.
Delete saved payment information
It’s so easy to save your credit card information to your browser so you never have to get up and grab your wallet again. However, this is also what makes impulse buying so easy when you see an advertisement popping up on your screen. To avoid impromptu purchases, delete your payment information saved on your computer so that it’s easier to make purchases.
Unsubscribe from retailer emails
Maybe you like to see what your favorite stores are doing so you can enjoy good sales. Trying to get items for less is smart, but taking advantage of all the sales that come through your inbox is where it gets messy. Unsubscribe from emails from stores you always buy from so you don’t see a daily reason to browse their site.
One way to stop the urge to add to what you have is to go through what you already have. If there’s a storage closet or perhaps your own closet that you haven’t thoroughly inspected in a while, spend an afternoon going through it. You’ll reduce the clutter in your home that you don’t need and will likely uncover some gems in the process.
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