How to avoid Impulsive online shopping

November 14, 2011

Personally I found that  impulse buying online is my favourite way to procrastinate. I am an impulsive shopper , as witnessed with my recent Macbook purchase. I also made a very impulsive decision when I purchased my car.  Theses days I frequently find myself on Etsy or Ebay buying things that I have no need for. Ebay, in particular, is horrible for my savings plan and wallet. I impulsively bid on items just because they look rather cheap or seem like they are a good deal, then wander over to other items that the vendor might have and bid on those as well. The problem that I have recently discovered with Ebay is that when I purchase items (win), I have to wait anywhere between 20 days to 2 months to get them, and while I may have needed that item sooner, I go out and buy another one in person and forget that I have things still coming in the mail. This defeats the concept of impulse buying and is the opposite of instant gratification.

This happened with 3 purses. I purchased them Aug 18th. They got here Nov 3. Needless to say, I had already gone out and bought new ones to replace my old one. Same thing happened sunglasses, and padfolios, etc.

So last night, I sat down and looked all the pending items on my Ebay page and made a note of them in my Blackberry. I am going to try a few different ways to kick this habit. I asked around and researched and it seems like there are different solutions for different people.

  1. I don’t know about you, but one the my biggest I impulse buy is because I know my Amex credit card number off by heart. What I have recently done is assign my American Express card as my business expense card. And since I don’t know my Visa off by heart, it should reduce some impulse options. (I am lazy enough to close a site instead of walking 6 feet to my wallet)
  2. Disconnect my Paypal Account from my Ebay account. This might be the most challenging part of it since I love Ebay, but I will try it for 3 months and gauge the results. Hopefully it is successful. I didn’t even have my bank account connected my Paypal until 3 weeks ago. I only had my credit cards, so I would have for an item a month before it got to me. Not very smart.
  3. Create an ongoing shopping list, and carry it with you at all times. I did that on my Blackberry. I leave things that I have already purchased as well and note the date and time. If you own a smartphone, then Evernote is a great tool for that. You can also comparison shop that way and leave all the prices on created list.
  4. This may go without saying for most people, but shop when you are hungry, and emotional. I have been an emotional shopper in the past. Even though purchasing those shoes, or in my case gadgets have made me feel better momentarily, I get sadder when I look at my credit card statement later.
  5. If you use chrome as your browser, there are tons of Chrome extensions to limit time wasted on sites such as Facebook, Ebay etc. I use Stayfocused on my work laptop and it worked brilliantly. I am sure Firefox/Safari have something similar. I hate IE so you’re on your own there.
  6. Create a spending/saving plan. My next big purchase will be an Ipad. I have made up my mind, but that doesn’t mean I will go out and buy it tomorrow. I have a list of bills that are coming and I created a priority list. This will give me enough time to save for it in cash. I know it is common sense, but I, being a very impulsive shopper, have to break this down into baby steps. Many banks like Discover offer high yield savings accounts that can aide in the purchase of big investments
  7. Stop carrying your credit cards around. This may be harder for some than others, but lets try it together for a month and see what happens. Since I try not to have access to a lot of cash and limited my daily debit transaction limits, I fear that an emergency will come up and I will have to pay for everything on the stop. I know this is not rationale, but hey, I wouldn’t be in debt if I was rational.

My goal is not purchase anything besides that absolutely necessary items* till March 1st, and since most of my christmas shopping is done, I dont forsee any major purchases on the horizon.

****Besides my Ipad when I have saved up the money***** Unless I get it for Christmas.

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  • krantcents November 15, 2011 at 3:20 am

    One of things I do to avoid impulse buying online is never buy anything on the first time on the site.

    • Marissa November 15, 2011 at 3:44 am

      That is an excellent idea. I can do for almost everything except electronics. I have an issue with electronics. Im gadget/techie nerd. 🙁

  • Maggie@SquarePennies November 15, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    I have to ignore the coupons that come in the mail and tell myself that I don’t have to take advantage of every coupon that came along. I keep a list of what I need also; other items are just budget busters!

  • Aaron Hung November 17, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    you know you’re a serious shopper when you remember your credit card numbers by heart hehe…I control my impulse buying by telling myself that I don’t really need it to survive

    • Marissa November 17, 2011 at 3:26 pm

      Sometimes my ability to remember things is a bad thing. 🙁

  • Lisa @ Thriftability November 18, 2011 at 1:57 am

    The temptation of online shopping gets to me, too! Since I work from home, and we live in the mountains, roughly 45 minutes from a town, shopping online is convenient for me. Almost too convenient – and especially when I’m an affiliate… so it’s easy to fool myself into thinking I’m getting great deals.

    Basically, I started giving myself an allowance. In cash. So now… when it’s gone, it’s gone.
    Great post, Marissa – I’m glad I ran into your links on Yakezie!

  • Rafiki November 19, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I personally don’t have a credit card(not entirely by choice) but I have a visa debit card and it is tied to an account at a bank other than my main bank that I rarely ever keep money on. I only deposit money there when I am ready to go online and shop. I was never an impulsive buyer but I think this set up also helps limits that.

  • Boris December 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    One way to stop impulsive shopping is to have your spouse ready with paddle to your butt. I know it’s prevented me from getting that 60 inch tv.. lol.

    • Marissa December 10, 2012 at 4:44 pm