Online shopping has its pros and cons–much like everything else. If you can buy everything with just a few clicks, and you can pay using your credit card, it’s easy to forget that you have a budget to work with and that you should save before you spend.
But is online shopping really that bad? If you learn how to be frugal despite the accessible products, you can be a smart online shopper and get all the perks without the financial pains.
Step 1: Fill Your Cart
The biggest difference between your physical shopping cart and online shopping cart is that the latter is bottomless. You can add as many items as you want, and you can add the same item multiple times, without worrying about their heft or your cart overflowing. Now, here’s where things get scientific: every time you add a new product to your cart, your brain releases happy hormones because humans are wired to like shiny new things. You feel happy when you buy a face serum, and you feel happier when you find a new outfit in another shop. At this step, you can load up on these happy hormones without guilt because you haven’t purchased anything yet.
Onto step two.
Step 2: Walk Away
Get a glass of water. Have dinner. Nap. Wash the dishes. Basically, get away from your cart. When you complete a purchase as soon as you’ve filled your cart, you’re still on that purchasing high and you’re excited about all the new items you’ll have. Translation: you’re doing a bunch of impulsive and expensive shopping. This is what you want to avoid if you want to be a smart online shopper, and the best way to do that is to walk away and forget about your cart.
This isn’t to say you’re not purchasing anything at all, of course.
Step 3: Remove the Non-essentials
When you initially loaded up your cart, you weren’t thinking about the prices. You just had a very immediate need, and you wanted it satisfied. Now that you’ve had some time away, it’s important to come back and look at your cart with a clearer head. Those beauty essentials you know and swear by, they can stay. That extra sheet mask set you’ve been dying to try can stay too. But the random items that you don’t know whether you’ll use, or clothes you don’t know will fit–they have to go. While you’re at it, think about the items you’re leaving in your cart and see if there are bundle discounts you can take advantage of.
Step 4: Complete the Purchase
Now that you’ve removed the impulsive purchases from your cart, it’s time to settle your bill. It will definitely be cheaper than if you bought everything you initially wanted to purchase, and you’ll still get everything you really needed. You can save even more if you use payment methods affiliated with the shop you’re purchasing from, as they usually offer rebates and coupon codes.
Step 5: Enjoy!
When you receive your packages, you get another hit of happy hormones. This is why online shopping is fun. And if you do it the smart and manageable way, there’s no need to be afraid of online shops at all.