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Starting Today You Can Stop Online Impulse Spending If You Follow These 7 Ways

Starting Today You Can Stop Online Impulse Spending If You Follow These 7 Ways

Online shopping is the best kind of window shopping you can do! You can sit around in your pajamas, regardless of the time of day, and shop for anything you can imagine. Unfortunately, this means it’s way too easy to let yourself spin out of control. Time flies when you’re surfing the Internet, and you might not even realize how long you’ve been shopping or how much you’ve spent. Check out these tips on how you can stop online impulse spending.

1. Pay from a single account.

Having multiple accounts makes it harder to keep up with your finances. Whether you use a bank account, credit card or Paypal account for online purchases, make sure you use just one of those. That way you can always know how much you have in the account and how much you’ve spent.

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2. Don’t save your credit card information.

One-click checkout is the easiest thing to do when you’re shopping online — it’s literally just one click to enter all your payment information and shipping address! But it’s this ease that makes it more likely you’ll spend more online, because you don’t even feel like you’re shopping. There’s no exchange of money for purchases — it’s all visual, through a computer screen until a box arrives at your door a week later.

3. Unsubscribe from promotional emails.

Sometimes you don’t even think about shopping until you get that email promoting the latest big sale your favorite store is having. Then it just seems stupid to miss out on major savings, right? Wrong! Unsubscribe from promotional emails from any store so you’re not tempted to buy when you don’t need to. You shouldn’t shop just to shop, you should only shop when you need a particular item. Not getting tempting offers in your inbox will help change your approach to shopping – and help you save time checking emails!

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4. Don’t give out your email address when you shop.

Most stores ask for your email now when you check out. They do this just like they used to ask for your phone number — because they want to contact you in the future and try to get you into their store! Instead of giving out this information, just tell them you prefer not to give out your email or phone number. They won’t badger you about it, they’ll just say ok and leave that blank. This will cut down on those promotional emails mentioned above.

5. Limit your time shopping online.

It’s so easy to waste time online just clicking through links, seeing what you wish you could buy if you had the money, checking out what the store recommends for you, seeing what people bought who liked the same item as you. Before you know it, hours have slipped away! It’s ok to shop online because, most of the time, it’s way more efficient than going to stores in your city. But make sure to limit time when you shop (or window shop!) online. Set a physical timer if you need it, but try to keep track of it yourself. Promise to just look for one item, or on one site. It’s way too easy to impulse buy when you’re just surfing the internet aimlessly. When your eyes get tired and you can’t scroll through pages anymore, you’ve probably had enough!

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6. Research every purchase.

Instead of simply clicking to put an item in your cart, do research first. Even if it’s not a major purchase, checking a few websites can help you make the best decision. Read reviews from people who have bought and used the product. Make sure it will last for a long time and does exactly what it says it will do. Make sure you don’t need to buy additional accessories. Check a few other websites and see if you can find it even cheaper, or with free or faster shipping. Sometimes you’ll find that you don’t really need this exact product, or that you’d rather wait to find it cheaper at another outlet.

7. Keep a wish list.

You don’t have to buy everything right now! A lot of websites allow you to keep a wish list, or add things to your cart and save them to purchase later. Or you can keep a list in a text document, complete with links. This ensures that you’ll remember cool things you’ve seen for yourself or others, but you can wait and make sure you still want or need them at a later date, instead of buy them right at that moment when you might not have the finances.

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Featured photo credit: Jorge Franganillo via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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