Over the past few years, online shopping has become increasingly more common. It soared when the pandemic hit, leaving most of us in lockdown with no choice but to shop online.
This massive boost in online shopping has been burning holes in our wallets. For better or for worse, the internet and social media are major sources of temptation. Clicking a link to buy something takes almost no effort, and adding just a few dollars more to get free shipping is even more enticing. So, it’s easy to overspend and lose control of our finances.
We’re here to provide you with a few helpful tips on how to spend less online without totally missing out on all the fun.
Unsubscribe from newsletters and promotional emails
This is the ultimate trap! When it comes to getting emails from our favourite online stores, resistance is often futile. To avoid some of these irresistible-yet-unnecessary purchases, there’s only one solution: unsubscribe from promotional newsletters.
You can avoid receiving these emails in the first place by unchecking the box that says “I want to receive the newsletters” every time you buy something online. Often, the box is checked by default (how sneaky!). This move will help you avoid some of these impulse purchases which are often fueled by sheer boredom. To limit the temptation even further, you can also force yourself to limit browsing online shopping sites to once or twice a week.
Another tip: Set a maximum budget for online shopping (for example, $100 a month) and make sure to stick to it.
Think before you buy
Have you fallen for a new dress? Think that sleek juicer you saw on Instagram will look great on your kitchen counter? Before clicking the “buy” button, give yourself a “cooling-off” period of several days (or even several weeks) to make sure you really need whatever has caught your eye.
Why this works: if you’re still thinking about your potential purchase after a week and are sure you really need it, indulge yourself. If, on the other hand, the dress or juicer that got your attention has left your mind, it’s probably not worth it. Over time, you’ll learn to distinguish compulsive shopping from buying that arises out of a genuine desire or need.
Make a list of your needs
Consider jotting down all the things you really need in a list. For example, new running shoes to replace your worn out ones, a dress for a friend’s wedding, noise-cancelling headphones to better concentrate, etc. This exercise will allow you to understand exactly what you need so you can better understand the difference between essential buying and impulse buying.
Learning to make this distinction will not only give your wallet a break, but is also a better choice for the planet since you’ll be cutting back on mindless consumerism—which leads us to our next point!
Choose second-hand items
If you need something in particular, consider buying it second-hand. The second-hand market is booming, with an estimated value between 35 and 50 billion dollars. Many brands are getting on board by launching second-hand online platforms, and almost all sectors are getting in on the action: clothing, electronics, smartphones, furniture, etc.
Not only does buying second hand save you money and increase your purchasing power, but it’s more sustainable and better for the planet. By buying previously-owned items, you’ll still get that great feeling you get when shopping online, but with a less harmful impact on the environment.
Take advantage of cashback programs
What’s cashback? Cashback refers to getting a commission after making a purchase (usually online). Basically, the more you spend, the more money you get back. Some cashback sites, like Rakuten, offer commissions of up to 5% of the purchase price. Once the payment is made, the cashback is transferred to a dedicated fund. If you make large and/or regular purchases, cashback is definitely worth it!
Additinatelly, more and more banks now offer bank cards with cashback advantages, which allows you to earn a commission on purchases made with specific brands.
Moka also offers cashback through Perks, where you’ll find deals and offers from brands you love, like Apple Music, Uber Eats and Indigo Books & Home. Just make sure you shop through the Moka app and the cashback will be deposited in your original Moka goal and automatically invested.
Cashback shouldn’t make you buy more, but it’s a welcome bonus that makes shopping online slightly more affordable.