In the third installment on our series on Staying on Track and Avoiding Temptation, Marisa Torrieri Bloom shares how she fights her greatest temptation to shop online and keeps her Financial Freedom front of mind. If you missed the first article in this series, you can find it here.
Not too long ago, I spent about an hour of my day perusing apparel and home decor online. Much of this happened late at night, after I’d worked a long, hard day. What was worse was once I convinced myself I needed something, there was no stopping me from clicking “buy” and opting for 3-day shipping.
This shouldn’t be shocking, considering the average household with credit card debt has balances totaling $16,425, according to one 2016 study.
Having been one of these debtors until eight years ago, when I paid my last credit card statement once and for all, I have absolutely no desire to chisel away at my newfound Freedom from debt. But when I had my first child five years ago, I was spending way too much time online, either buying diapers through a next-day-delivery retailer or reading articles as I nursed my baby in the middle of the night. At some point, I started clicking on ads of my favorite apparel retailers and guitar outlets (my weaknesses!) and fantasizing about buying them.
While my online purchases didn’t put me into additional debt, they did take away funds I could have set aside for activities I truly enjoy like traveling.
This behavior zapped me of all my energy. And worse, when I finally gave in to a few items of clothing that were calling to me, I didn’t feel the surge of excitement I had expected.
Finding My Way Back From Online Shopping Hell
I worked hard to put in place a balanced spending plan that allows me to work toward Financial Freedom, save for my kids’ college and afford a reasonable amount of little luxuries, like holiday gifts for my family.
So after buying a $300 designer purse online last spring, only to feel guilty about it later, I decided I needed to completely revamp my relationship with money and the Internet—and shift my mindset.
Here are six actions I took that worked wonders to help me kick the habit of online shopping and browsing, so I can focus on better things: spending time with my family, playing my guitar and applying the principle of Paying Yourself First to my daily life.
What You Can Do To Avoid Online Shopping
Marisa Torrieri is an award-winning journalist and freelance writer specializing in personal finance, business, healthcare and technology. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and resides in Fairfield, CT. Her work has appeared in dozens of media outlets, including LearnVest, Forbes, The Washington Post, Business Insider, TIME and Health.com.