Step away from the virtual basket: How to stop online shopping now

Colette Sexton, news correspondent at The Sunday Business Post, on how to kick your online shopping habit.


We’ve all been there. The weekend is over and the work week, full of looming deadlines and stress, is stretching out in front of you, while next weekend seems forever away. A cheer-up is needed. So you reach for your phone to just have a quick scroll on Asos or Amazon. A couple of clicks later and you’re down a chunk of cash.

It comes as no surprise that Sundays and Mondays are the busiest days for online shopping. Taken as a percentage of all weekly shopper sessions, Sundays received 14.81 per cent of sessions and Mondays had over 15.33 per cent of sessions, according to research conducted by Workarea earlier this year. It might seem like nothing, but all of those virtual baskets add up. On average, Irish online shoppers spend €3,143 per year on online shopping.

It’s time to kick the habit. The first thing to do is to stop the temptation of visiting the shopping sites in the first place. Unsubscribe to all of the emails you receive from your favourite retailers and delete the apps from your phone. Do you find yourself mindlessly scrolling and adding things to your cart just because an email told you there was a flash sale, or a notification popped up advertising 30 per cent off? Cut out the alerts and you’ll find yourself with more cash in your pocket.

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Now, remove all of your preloaded credit and debit card information from your computer and phone. Just that extra step of having to go to your wallet, take out your card and type out the numbers will make you think twice about clicking 'buy now'.  

The next step is essential - create a wish list of things that you really, really want. Do not allow yourself to buy anything that is not on that list. You’ll end up with a wardrobe full of things you love, instead of things that helped to waste half an hour on a boring Monday evening. Give yourself a set amount of money every month to spend on things that are “on the list”. Some months, you might be able to buy something - other months, you might need to save until you have enough money.  

Finally, when you do buy those wish list items, do not fall for various tricks from retailers, like 'spend €50 to get free shipping' or 'buy two, get one free'. Just buy exactly what you had on your list and ignore the ploys. If you really want to beat the system, download something like Honey, which is a Google Chrome extension that searches the internet for any relevant coupons or discount codes before you buy. This way, you will be sure that when you are buying something from the list, that you have found the very best price for it.

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