Quit Wasting Money On Internet Impulse Purchases

The Internet has brought an amazing array of merchandise into our lives and onto our doorsteps. However, being able to order a crate of hamburger-shaped cookies from Japan or a complete DVD box set of “Friends” episodes at 3 A.M. during a spell of insomnia isn’t always a good thing. Especially when you’re trying to eliminate debt and/or cut down on spending.

How do you banish online impulse spending from your life? Here are some tips to get you started from the ever-wise biscuits over at WiseBread.

  1. Make a budget and stick to it. If you have Excel or a free equivalent, it should be easy to make your (Here’s a template for newer versions of Office.) Allocate a certain amount every month for frivolous spending, and spend only that amount.
  2. Don’t store your credit card info. It is so easy to revisit a site you’ve shopped at before and put through a purchase without even having to get up from the couch because your credit card information is all stored there. Delete that stored information, and you not only protect yourself a little bit from data breaches, but you also add a barrier to additional spending, forcing you to reconsider.

    Obviously, this doesn’t work for every purchase: monthly subscriptions require a card on file; account for these when making your budget.

  3. Use a dedicated account. Set up and fund a PayPal, Google Wallet, or other e-wallet account only for online shopping. This works best if you only shop at places that accept these forms of payment, of course, but maybe that’s even better: it limits the amount you can spend and where you can shop.
  4. Use gift cards. Once you spend down your card balance, that’s it. no impulse purchases above the amount you’ve planned.
  5. Don’t join e-mail lists. Cashier at the mall asks for your address? Don’t give it out: avoid the trap. If your favorite retailers send you coupons, unsubscribe. Banish the temptation.
  6. Don’t subscribe to Amazon Prime. A Wise Bread reader suggested this in the comments, and it’s a useful suggestion if you tend to make a lot of little Amazon purchases.

This Is How You Stop Online Impulse Spending [WiseBread] (via Rockstar Finance)

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  1. Lenne says:

    After this year, I plan on giving up Amazon Prime as the price hike has trumped my justification for the service. It was *just* worth the 79 USD that it previously was, but definitely not worth 99 USD. It is actually pretty difficult for me to find justification to get things that I want because I am constantly worrying about things that I need. I always ask myself, ‘What could/should you really be using this (dollar amount) on?’ which at that point, about 20 important things pop up in my head. I guess I am pretty good at talking myself out of impulse spending. I have seen too many friends drive themselves into a rut because they spent money on something they should not have, like spending 2K on a new camera when they should have used that money to pay for their medical expenses, for example.