What happens to your budget when shopping becomes too easy?
The convenience of online shopping through events like Cyber Monday provide an excellent opportunity to save money on personal and holiday shopping while never having to leave your house. But the deals can sometimes be too enticing, and the one-click process can sometimes be too easy.
Jeff Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit, spoke with CBC’s The National about ways to curb the impulse:
Consolidated Credit recommends the following tips to help make sure your budget stays impulse-proof when shopping online:
Arm yourself with a list – If it’s holiday shopping, think of an amount of money that you are willing to spend (it should reasonably fit into your budget). Write out a list of people for whom you will by gifts, and assign dollar amounts to each person. Keep this next to your mouse pad as you shop online!
Comparison shop – Don’t limit yourself to one website. Search engines are your friend here — type in the item and see what the internet has to offer. Websites like RedFlagDeals will do the work for you!
The 30-minute rule – If you were in a store, we’d recommend that after finding the item you want, you take a walk and give your purchase some thought. This cuts down on impulse spending. The same concept can be applied to online shopping — leave the tab open and go do something in the kitchen, or watch TV, or browse elsewhere. Come back to the item in 30 minutes and see if you still want it.
Avoid the “one-click” purchase – Many online retailers offer to save your credit card information so that you only have to click “buy” when you want to make your purchase. This is convenient, but it takes away some valuable reflection time – even if just a minute while you type in your credit card info.
Have a plan to pay it all off – When you are shopping online, you are generally using credit cards. This is fine if you plan to pay your entire balance within the month. But if you let it sit and accumulate interest, suddenly your deals and discounts start to disappear.
Is the holiday shopping season stressing you out? Did online shopping put you deep in the hole? If you would like to ‘right’ some credit ‘wrongs,’ we can help. Call to speak with a trained credit counsellor who can put you on the right path. You can also start the process online by trying our Free Debt Analysis.