Photo credit: Adina Natasha

Easy ways to control your spending while shopping online

Online shopping doesn't have to burn a hole in your wallet.

Anis Nabilah

Published: 11 June 2020, 12:56 AM

As most retail outlets are still closed in Phase 1 of Singapore’s safe re-opening, many Singaporeans, including myself, have turned to online stores to get our shopping fix.

After all, the Internet never closes: online shopping is fast, convenient and sometimes cheaper than items sold in brick and mortar stores.

Although purchasing one item may not leave you broke, the benefits of online shopping can be your wallet’s downfall if you’re not careful.

Here are four ways to control your online spending if you find it hard to resist the temptation to shop.

1. Wait a while before buying

This sounds simple enough but it requires a lot of willpower.

The next time you find yourself adding items to your cart impulsively, save the items you’re eyeing in your wishlist or liked items section before hitting “purchase”.

Wait for at least 24 hours before returning to your wishlist. The longer you wait, the more you can avoid buying impulsively. During this time, try to take your mind off of shopping and clear your head by talking to a friend or decluttering your room.

After the waiting period, you probably won’t feel as eager to buy the item anymore – it could be sold out or you could very well forget about it.

If you’re subscribing to mailing lists from selected online stores, they might even offer discounts when they see you’ve left an item in your carts longer than usual.

2. Always shop with a plan

Most of the time, we tend to buy more things than planned because different items catch our eye while we browse the store. You could plan to spend $50 on a pair of shoes and end up paying $100 for stuff you don’t actually need or even want.

A simple solution to combat this is to create a list of items you actually need.

Take some time to assess your wardrobe and see what pieces are lacking.

Once you make your list, stick to it when you’re on the website. Don’t browse around, just tick off the items in your list and head straight to check-out.

I keep track of what I need to buy using the Notes application on my phone. Image Credit: Nabilah

3. Give yourself permission to shop online by setting a budget for each month

If you restrict yourself too much from shopping online, you might end up buying things impulsively.

To avoid this sad situation, set a reasonable monthly budget. Write the amount on a sticky note and place it somewhere you’ll see when you are shopping online.

Every time you buy something, write the item and its price on the same sticky note.

Keep referring to this note whenever you feel the urge to buy something. If you see that your budget is about to burst, you’re likely to stop and think twice before you become broke.

4. Make the check-out process more troublesome for yourself

One of the conveniences of online shopping is being able to save your payment methods, so there’s no fuss when you check out. This also means it only takes a few clicks before money comes out of your virtual wallet, which can be a bad thing especially if you’re trying to spend less.

If you have trouble keeping to your budget, delete your payment information so that you will have to enter your card details manually every time you buy something.

Hopefully, the hassle of entering your card information each time you check out will deter you from hitting “buy now”.

Delete your default payment method on your favourite shopping websites and keep your card locked away. Photo Credit: Screenshot from Asos website

Distributing your money across different accounts can also help curb your spending.

For instance, you could move your savings from your account to your PayLah wallet, so that you can’t access that money to pay for purchases made on international online stores.

You could even remove the possibility of online payment altogether by reverting to an ATM card. This way, you won’t have a debit or credit card that you can pay online with.

Ask a trusted friend or family member to keep your card for you in the meantime. Photo Credit: Nabilah

The next time you find yourself on your favourite shopping site, I hope you can limit your expenses by trying these tips.

If you still feel the urge to spend, consider shopping at some local fashion thrift shops instead!


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