An article in The Williams Record discusses the dramatic rise in online overshopping among college students, but that rise isn’t limited to the collegiate population. Increasingly, other Americans are clicking their way to addicted shopping. They’re lured there by an endless virtual world of merchandise, by attractive pricing, and above all by the ease of purchase. Online shopping means no laborious drive to stores, no crowds to fight through, and—the capper—a profound psychological insulation from spending real money. On the internet, we buy with a simple mouse click, an action so distant from traditional payment methods that it can easily feed denial.
Online shopping does have its advantages. But if you find yourself being sucked into the online shopping vortex, here are a few tips.
Online stores are not your “favorite places.” Remove any stores from your bookmarks or “favorite places” lists. This way, you’ll be less likely to click on the links as casually and often as you do your email or the front page of your local newspaper.
There’s no such thing as a special offer. Whatever form it comes in—”limited time only,” “two for one,” or some other imaginative construction—don’t be fooled. Special offers aren’t special. They’re simply hooks, encouraging you to buy what you don’t need.
Shop with a time limit and a specific purpose. Set a timer; when it goes off, so do you. And be sure to shop for a particular thing. Don’t just browse in hopes of finding something to purchase. You’ll always find something—and probably a lot of things—that you don’t actually need.