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3 Smart Ways to Increase Your Savings When Shopping Online

3 Smart Ways to Increase Your Savings When Shopping Online

Researchers now predict that in US alone, over $ 523 billion will be used on online shopping (total sales) annually by 2020, representing a 56% increase from the $335 billion recorded in 2015.[1] This is an era when online shopping is gradually becoming the norm and increasingly replacing the traditional form of store-based shopping. Unfortunately, an increase of online shopping is simultaneously prompting the increase of random purchases. The budgeting process is gradually losing its effect on modern shopping, and most people often remember a budget limit after making an online purchase. It used to take time, effort, and careful planning for people to buy even the most basic of their products and services, thus reducing the expenditure to a level that can be matched by income generation. Spending time before making a purchase often increased consideration of ways to increase savings and helped avoid unnecessary expenses.

Today unfortunately, similar goods and services not only lack the physical comparison with competing alternatives, but they can also be purchased with a single click. The immediacy of making a purchase omits careful consideration and budgeting. Today, almost anything is available within an instant, and the only possible delay is when it is being shipped from and to any global jurisdiction.

Without budgeting, contemporary online purchases are characterized by:

  1. Excessive expenditure/spending
  2. Absence of comparative review of competing products/services
  3. Short-term considerations of otherwise temporal needs
  4. Increment of instantaneous needs
  5. Lack of adequate appraisal of product/service features in comparison to need
  6. Lack of financial foresight to increase savings for every purchase

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    The biggest loss experienced from modern online shopping, therefore, is the savings account where, without reliable budgeting, expenditure can and often does outweigh the income. If the World Wide Web is only starting what will be its phenomenal and greatest growth phase, then it is only wise to advance your consumption behaviors and tendencies.[2] The article purposed to reviews the three most essential strategies, all synthesized from a comprehensive critical review of contemporary literature, and backed by numerous scientific and empirically credible research studies conducted by highly-esteemed scholars and researchers. As such, using the three strategic steps below, generated by based recent empirical research studies across the globe, can nonetheless help you increase your savings even when shopping online.

    3 Research-Based Initiatives to Increase Savings during Online Shopping

    1. Exploiting Cost-Saving Avenues

    Economic professors from London and Washington DC conducted a study in London posing the question of how “consumers save” during shopping, as part of the “consumer shopping behavior” (Griffith et al., 2009, p. 99). In the study, as published by the Journal of Economic Perspectives, Griffith, Leibtag, Leicester, and Nevo (2009) observed how little modern consumers consider ways to save when shopping, such that the “potential and actual savings” is often decimal (p. 100). The study highlighted ways in which modern consumers can and should save on their shopping cost, including:

    • Strategically determining when to buy and how much to buy to save overall costs
    • Buying products in bulk, which provides lower price per unit bought
    • Purchasing outlets that reduce transport costs
    • Exploiting seasonal quantity discounts for specific services of products
    • Watching out for temporary price reductions, particularly among companies that offer reward programs for their customers

    These same findings accrue in online shopping and can therefore help you acquire significant savings. For example, you can opt to purchase a service/product using coupons and promotion codes, which reduces your checkout costs. Other opportunities to increase savings during online shopping includes exploiting free shipping offers, although it is important to determine the credibility of such offers, but the use of cost savings avenues has been established by many other empirical studies. Example of studies include Deaton (1998) on “getting the price right” (p. 37), Seock and Norton (2007) on “channel choices for purchasing: (p. 571), Katawetawaraks and Wang (2011) on influences of “online shopping decision” (p. 66), Rudansky-Kloppers (2014) on “factors influencing customer online buying” (p. 1187), and Yu and Wu (2007), on the “determinants of internet shopping behavior” (p. 744). All these empirical studies agree that using strategic measures/avenues to save cost while purchasing online can aggregate to immense savings for you every time you shop online.

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    2. Overcoming Behavioral Uncertainty

    A research study published in the first issue of the International Journal of Internet Marketing and Advertising applied the Transaction Cost Economics theory to analyze the shopping behavior of Chinese consumers. The study was commissioned by the School of Business in the National University of Singapore. Following the study, Teo, Wang, and Leong (2004), concluded that, consumers’ online shopping behavior is characterized by six unique and distinctive antecedents, among which were:

    • Convenience (to be explored hereafter as studied in India by Ganapathi in 2015)
    • Economic utility of product/service consequent of short-term considerations when purchasing otherwise temporal needs (as explained in the introduction above)
    • Product uncertainty due to the absence of comparative review of competing products/services as well as increment of instantaneous needs (as explained in the introduction above)
    • Behavioral uncertainty among consumers (important for the present discussion)

    With over 198 million consumers in the US shopping online in the first three months of 2014, online shopping is slowly becoming the only way people shop globally.[3] Teo, Wang, and Leong (2004) established that, based on the theory of Transaction Cost Economics, online shopping triggered behavioral uncertainty among the Chinese consumers since purchasing decisions were not organized, strategically predictive, or justified by valuation. Rather, the decisions were based on momentary appeal of the products/services being offered. It is therefore critically essential that all your online purchases are deliberate, strategic, value-based, and are strategically founded on the economic utility of whatever you purchase. Only then will you aggregate the occasional, yet avoidable, whims of purchases into considerable savings.

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      3. Avoiding Self-Serving Convenience and Random Purchases

      The digital age has come with an outstanding level of laziness and passiveness among consumers. Focusing on Indian consumers in Chennai, Ganapathi (2015) recently investigated how consumers in Chennai city behave during online shopping. Importantly, the Assistance Professor identified the factors that significantly influence these shoppers’ behaviors. According to the study, regression analysis indicates a significant relation between online shopping behavior and convenience, where the little purchasing decisions are often pegged on what is most convenient for the consumer.

      The findings reported by Ganapathi (2015) concur with those reported by other scholars and researchers across the globe, including Teo, Wang, and Leong (2004) in China, Rudansky-Kloppers, S. (2014) in South Africa, Andrew and Vanitha (2004) in the USA, as well as Bulter and Peppard (1998) in the UK, among many others. As such, the first step to increase your savings is to ensure that your purchases are shaped by what you need, and the best available for their price range, and not what is more convenient to you. After all, you will never be obligated to shop for anything, at any time, and at any online shop. It is your personal and deliberate decision to shop.

      In conclusion, the aforementioned article has highlighted online shopping can easily lack the physical comparison of products/services with competing alternatives, omit critical budgeting, and lead to excessive wastage of resources. The lack of budgeting in contemporary online purchases is characterized by excessive expenditure/spending, absence of comparative review of competing products/services, short-term considerations of otherwise temporal needs, increment of instantaneous needs, lack of adequate appraisal of product/service features in comparison to need, and lack of financial foresight to increase savings for every purchase.

      The article has provided a comprehensive critical review of contemporary literature, punctuated by numerous empirical studies from almost every continent on the globe.

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      As such, based on the foregoing review on saving costs during online shopping, you will be better advised to:

      (a) exploit available cost-saving avenues

      (b) overcome negative behavioral uncertainty, and

      (c) avoid self-serving convenience and random purchases.

      Only then, will your expenditure leave an adequate gap in your income, to generate significant savings.

      Featured photo credit: Freepik via Freepik.com

      Reference

      [1] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rachel-wolfson/from-halloween-to-amazon-_b_12628616.html
      [2] http://www.forbes.com/sites/walterloeb/2016/08/09/the-future-of-retailing-the-revolution-to-technology-is-now/#250a091d383e
      [3] http://www.businessinsider.com/the-surprising-demographics-of-who-shops-online-and-on-mobile-2014-6

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      Last Updated on February 15, 2019

      7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

      7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

      Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

      Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

      Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

      So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

      Joe’s Goals

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        Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

        Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

        Daytum

          Daytum

          is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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          Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

          Excel or Numbers

            If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

            What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

            Evernote

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              I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

              Evernote is free with a premium version available.

              Access or Bento

                If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                Conclusion

                I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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