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How to Avoid Online Shopping Debt

– Posted in: Managing Your Finances, Money Management

For some, sitting on your bed eating ice cream in your pajamas and shopping an unlimited number of stores and boutiques is a dream come true. The allure of shopping anywhere you want from your bedroom is now a reality. From one end of the world to the other, you can whip out a card and buy from anyone.

Along with this fantastic option comes a danger of extensive debt loads. When you can buy that easily, it can add up quickly. Here are some tips to avoid online shopping debt while still enjoying your pajama shopping:

How to Avoid Online Shopping Debt

Treat your favorite sites like the real thing

It may sound obvious, but treating your favorite website like you would your favorite shop in town is a good idea. If you know you can’t enter your favorite store without spending money you don’t have, you generally don’t go in. Do the same for your website favorites. Only visit if you know you have some money available in your budget, or you are looking for something specific.

Beware the impulse buy

Impulse shopping is even harder to avoid online, because the website is in control of what you see and when. You can be sure they spend plenty of cash to figure out what images, ads and products will make you send things to the shopping cart. As such, turn on a pop-up blocker and skip over the offers if they don’t relate to your specific shopping needs.

Shop secure sites only

Online debt can be accrued through theft as well. Make sure you are sending your information safely by looking for the little padlock in the left hand corner. This is not the only thing, but it is the minimum you should do to feel safe. Using a card that will protect you in case of error is also a great idea. Some credit cards offer far better protection than others so look into that when you sign up.

Demand the best terms….or move on

Online shopping is so big now that you can afford to be picky. For example, if they don’t provide free shipping, move on. If they give you discounts but they are still more expensive than the next guy, move on. Demand the best deal when you shop online the same way you would in person. Why pay more than you have to?

Online shopping debt is not something that has to be a mystery. Protect your accounts, shop safely by sticking with secure accounts and remember you are not using Monopoly money. If you do these things, you will be in great shape online.

23 Comments… add one
Michele January 7, 2014, 10:26 am

Call me old fashioned but I still prefer to buy in retail stores-I will shop for prices online–and yes I do buy on line on occasion but am darn careful!!

Vinma January 7, 2014, 8:30 pm

Good for you Michele! You NEED to be careful when it comes to the money you make :)

Casey January 7, 2014, 10:51 am

This is a great post. I feel like sometimes people forget that they are spending REAL money when shopping online, making it all too easy to get out of control. I especially like your last tip. As much as I love Anthropologie, I only buy from the store online when free shipping is being offered. Spending $12 for shipping may seem minuscule, but it adds up!

Vinma January 7, 2014, 8:29 pm

Exactly Casey! When you think extra $12 is cannot hurt much for your shipping expenses, you are indeed making a mistake. It adds up, you are right!

Angel January 7, 2014, 1:19 pm

As usual, really good tips. I especially like the 3rd. God bless! :)

Kristen from The Road to Domestication January 7, 2014, 3:07 pm

Great tips! I normally only shop online at Christmas-time…with a budget :)

Vinma January 7, 2014, 8:27 pm

Having a budget and sticking to it does wonders to your financial health. That is the whole idea behind this post :)

becca January 7, 2014, 6:45 pm

i buy books and some trinkets via online but most things i still prefer to shop for

Corinne January 7, 2014, 7:36 pm

Great tips. Spending money online can be easy since it only takes a few clicks. Another tip I have heard is to NOT store your credit card number on your favorite sites. That way, you have to go retrieve your card from your wallet before making a purchase which might prompt you to think twice before hitting “checkout.”

Vinma January 7, 2014, 8:12 pm

You know what Corinne?That is a smart tip! Thanks for sharing that with us. :)

Jenn January 7, 2014, 8:16 pm

Shopping online can be a big budget breaker without even realizing it. Most of mine happens at Christmas time I see a great sale without leaving my house and I tend to overspend. Thank goodness that is really the only time of year I shop online.

Vinma January 7, 2014, 8:21 pm

haha..same here Jenn. I try not to shop online much.. when I do, I have to be so cautious not to overspend.

Samantha January 7, 2014, 8:46 pm

Guilty of shopping on line when it comes to certain things.. A Case for my New phone is about the only thing we get online. Can not find them anywhere in the stores. Since it is TO NEW. I hate shopping on line most of the time.. Love going to actual stores

amanda January 8, 2014, 1:22 am

i think there are times when i actually shop online and then close my browser… get the “feel” but not the bill.

Marika January 8, 2014, 2:04 am

Very important points, especially since we’re all doing online shopping, some of us more so than real life retail shopping.

Steph @ From the Burbs to the Boonies January 8, 2014, 8:23 am

Such a good reminder! I wonder if a person got out the amount of cash they had to spend, set it next to them and as they spent online, take out of that pile until it was gone. Maybe a tangible idea of how much they are spending. Also I’ve heard of people getting a prepaid Visa in just the amount they have to spend and using that. Great tips!

Elle January 8, 2014, 8:24 am

I mostly buy my books online and it’s only recently that I’ve started to get smarter. Amazon isn’t necessarily the most priceworthy option for books, so I’ve started to check them out on other sites. Sometimes I do go back to Amazon, but not always.
Good tips Vinma. Something to be aware of.

LindySez January 8, 2014, 12:23 pm

Generally, I go to retail stores to look at products, and then go on-line to see if I can shop a better deal. But I always have a purpose and a budget…great article.

Jessica January 8, 2014, 1:23 pm

Your first tip is one that I never even consider when I go “screen shopping” online. I am guilty of oogling over things I see online and then spending money I don’t have.

Cher January 8, 2014, 6:32 pm

Fabulous advice! I am guilty of online shopping and try my best to watch myself because you are right – it does add up quickly!

Tammy January 9, 2014, 12:45 am

I love shopping online, but I’m all about the free shipping. It just bugs me otherwise!

Chris Carter February 15, 2014, 8:19 am

I have to track all my spending- and I have a budget I follow each month. That boundary always keeps me in line!!
Great advice!

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