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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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      11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

      11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

      Whether at work or at school, people these days are under tremendous pressure to perform, perform and perform! Stress and pressure can have adverse affects on the well-being of a person, and need to be controlled.

      Now, this doesn’t mean you make a dash to your nearest therapist. There are a number of wonderful and smart apps that you can use on your phone. These brain training apps have been scientifically designed to target specific areas of the human mind and control harmful emotions such as anxiety, as well as to improve memory and sharpness of the brain.

      Here are 11 iPhone apps that you will not only enjoy but also find useful in keeping your mental health balanced at all times.

      1. Lumosity

      This app consists of games that focus on improving the user’s memory, problem-solving capability, attention span, and thinking. There are three games in each session, and they challenge the brain by changing every time. The user has to complete the games while playing against a clock.

      Free of trial. $15 per month for the full version.

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        2. Fit Brains Trainer

        This brain training app has 10 sets of games that work on different areas of the brain and improve memory as well as concentration. A user is required to finish a particular task from each category on a daily basis and the app tracks the progress by a color coded graph.

        Free.

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          3. CogniFit Brain Fitness

          Developed with the help of neuroscientists, this fun app improves a person’s cognitive abilities, which includes memory and concentration. The progress made by the user over a period of time can be tracked. Users can also play challenge rounds with their friends. The app also modifies the difficulty level to suit the profile of the user and provide recommendations based on the results. Spending 20–30 minutes a few times every week can give measurable improvement in the performance of a user.

          First four games free, then $13 a month.

          cognifit-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

            4. Brain Fitness Pro

            The makers of this app claim that it can improve the IQ of a user, and improve intelligence and memory. The app is fun and is user friendly, and 30 minutes a day can fetch you results in less than three weeks.

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            Buy for $3.99.

            5. Happify

            If nothing else makes you happy in life, this app will. Well, this is what the developers claim at least. This app comes loaded with lots of quizzes, polls and gratitude journals, which work on the fundamentals of positive psychology. The app also helps to control stress and emotions to make you feel better.

            Free to use.

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              6. Clockwork Brain

              You will like the little gold robot that comes in every time to explain the next game you are going to play. While the games are not much different to those offered in apps such as Luminosity, the look and feel reminds me of a workshop from old times.

              Free.

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                7. ReliefLink

                Initially created as an app for suicide prevention, it has found its use as a great app for tracking the mood of the user by taking measure of all things relevant to the user’s mental health. In case the user experiences high emotional stress, the app has a coping mechanism that includes voice-recorded mindfulness, exercises and music for relaxation. There is also a map that informs the user of the nearest therapist and medical facilities for mental health treatment.

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                  8. Eidetic

                  Eidetic is a memory enhancement app and uses a ‘spaced repetition’ technique to help users memorize information such as important phone numbers, words, credit card details or passwords. It also notifies you when it’s time to take a test to see what you remember, so that you retain information in your long-term memory.

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                    9. Braingle

                    Braingle helps to maintain the sharpness of the brain and improve the reasoning ability of a person through riddles and optical illusions. It is different from other brain training apps that employ memory and reaction based tests. You can also compete with your friends and family members in figuring out the fun riddles.

                    Free.

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                      10. Not The Hole Story

                      If you have a penchant for solving hard riddles, then this app is a must-have for you. Filled with exclusive riddles along with a simple-to-use interface, the app gives you riddles that you have to solve through a book. You will be given hints along the way, and when you give up, the answers will be revealed. This app will encourage you to broaden your thinking and put your mind to a challenging test.

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                      Free.

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                        11. Personal Zen

                        This fun brain training app follows the journey of two animated characters who travel through a field of grass. Personal Zen is a nice app meant for reducing anxiety and trains the brain to focus on the positive aspects. The developer’s advice is to use the app for 10 minutes a day to see the best results.

                        Free.

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