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Addicted to Online Shopping? Read These Tips to Start Saving Money!

Updated on January 6, 2011

Do you enjoy doing your shopping online? I know that I do. It offers many benefits in comparison to trekking out to different stores. However, the convenience that Internet shopping offers can be a trap for some people. With the Internet always at your fingertips, you may find it difficult to reign in your spending. If you find yourself wasting a lot of money on Internet shopping then the following tips may help you out.

STEP ONE: Address the situation

The first thing that you need to do is to get a grasp on exactly what is going on with your online shopping problem.

o   Assess how serious the situation is. The first thing that you need to do is to get honest with yourself about the situation. Sit down with your credit card statements and bank account reports from the past few months and add up exactly what you’ve been spending on your online shopping habit. Ask yourself if the items you purchased were things that you actually needed or items that you just wanted because you saw them online. If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll know whether or not you have a small problem with wasting money when shopping online or a huge addiction that has totally gotten out of control.

o   Ask your loved ones for their input into the seriousness of the situation. This step serves a two-fold purpose. First of all, it allows you to get additional insight into how serious the problem is so that you can take appropriate action. Of course, you do need to take what others say with a grain of salt because they may have different opinions than you do about shopping and spending habits. Nevertheless, they can be helpful in assessing the situation if you listen carefully to what they have to say. Second, this step allows you to begin admitting that you have a problem with online shopping regardless of the degree of severity of the problem. Admitting that you have this problem will assist you in becoming increasingly aware of the problem, accountable to others about fixing the problem and ultimately eliminating the problem from your life.

STEP TWO: Seek professional help

Many people find that the best step that they can take at this point to get their online spending under control is to work with a professional.

o   Determine whether or not you should see a psychologist to deal with the issue. If you have looked carefully at the issue and determined that you really do have a serious addiction to online shopping and it’s damaging your life in a significant way then you should consider seeking out the services of a psychologist. A psychologist that specializes in addictive behavior, compulsive spending and / or hoarding may be helpful to you if you find yourself in this situation. Even if you only have a minor problem with an addiction to online shopping, you may find that the problem can be alleviated by working with a therapist. Many of out bad habits around money, spending and materialism relate to emotional issues and once those are solved the problem itself goes away.

o   Determine whether or not you should work with a financial advisor. You may decide that you do not want to get help from a therapist at the current time. That doesn’t mean that you don’t need the help of a professional, though. If your spending is out of control due in part to your online shopping addiction then you may simply need assistance in learning how to budget, save and spend your money wisely. If you think that’s the case then it may be worth your time and money to invest in the services of a financial advisor who can assist you in learning these important personal finance skills.

STEP THREE: Steps to take on your own

Many people don’t feel like they need the assistance of a professional at this time but do want to take some steps to reduce their spending when it comes to online shopping. If you think that you can handle the problem on your own then the following tips and suggestions might help:

o   Create a budget for all of your shopping and set an online spending limit. If you already have the skills that you need to budget your money then you simply need to apply them to your online shopping issue. You should set a straightforward budget for all spending. You should then select a portion of that budget that goes towards online spending. The portion depends on how much online shopping you do. Some people do a majority of their shopping online, even getting their groceries delivered to them. Those people would have a higher percentage of their budget going towards online shopping than someone who buys necessities at the store and only shops online for fun. In any case, create that budget. Once you do that, you must track your spending each month and cut yourself off when you’ve reached your budget limit.

o   Make a rule for yourself that you will not purchase any item until at least two days after you’ve seen it online. One of the biggest reasons that people waste money when shopping online is that they get lured in to impulse spending. It is simply too easy to click on an item, send it to your cart and pay for it before you’ve even had time to think through the purchase. For that reason, you should make it a rule that items must be left in an online cart for two days before you proceed with the purchase. This will allow you to go back and review your desired purchases to make smarter spending choices online.

o   Limit the amount of time that you spend online, especially on sites related to spending. You should only be shopping online when there are items that you actually need to purchase. Think of it like going to the grocery store; you only go when you need groceries. The same rule should apply to online shopping; you only go online to shop when you need to buy something. By limiting the total amount of time that you spend online each day you’ll prevent yourself from bored browsing on shopping websites and reduce the amount of money that you spend on the Internet.

STEP FOUR: Review the issue every 30 days

It is important that you stay on top of this problem. You should track your spending, set online shopping goals and review what’s happening with your Internet shopping at the end of each month. If the problem continues, you should go back to step two and get some professional assistance for dealing with the ongoing problem.

MTV Looks at Compulsive Shopping Addictions


Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    JayJay 6 years ago

    Just check out the following site where it is Free to shop and sell! This is one of the best I could find after eBay. It is free to buy or sell in the site

  • john2000 profile image

    john2000 6 years ago

    I prefer online shopping because it saves my time and money. You really shared great tips.

  • profile image

    Online shopping 6 years ago

    I think its a best way to saving.

  • kathryn1000 profile image

    kathryn1000 6 years ago from London

    However it's not quite so simple.A poor person spending £500 per month on clothes by credit card might be considered an addict whereas if Princess X spent double that it might not be thought unusual.The problem may be that it's hard for poorer people to accept they can't have the clothes,homes,books etc that many others take for granted.

    "You must cut your coat according to your cloth" is a sensible maxin but not always easy to follow especially if you have no cloth at all!

  • Simone Smith profile image

    Simone Haruko Smith 6 years ago from San Francisco

    I love online shopping too, and while I don't think I am a compulsive shopper, I appreciate the guide and think your tips are rather helpful. Any sort of shopping addiction can be dreadfully financially harmful - it's important to address these things!