In the fourth installment of our series on Staying on Track and Avoiding Temptation, Marisa Torrieri Bloom discusses how to use the Internet to safely shop online without getting carried away. If you missed the first article in this series, you can find it here.
When you’re inundated with material temptations, there’s something inspiring about the idea of living a super-frugal life—a life that’s free of seductive social media ads and email blasts for automobiles, perfume and kitchenware.
But that’s easier said than done, because for many of us, shopping online is a massive timesaver. Ordering essentials like shampoo, paper towels or purchasing early holiday gifts for a discount can save hours of hassle.
That’s part of the reason why, in the US alone, roughly 8 in 10 Americans are online shoppers. A study published in December 2016 found that 79% of individuals have made an online purchase of any type, 51% bought something using a cell phone and 15% have made purchases by following a link from a social media site.
And there are many reasons beyond time savings that make a strong case for shopping online. Among them, we have:
- more choices and better selections;
- better prices (on some items);
- access to ratings and reviews;
- access to video demos; and
- the chance to browse for items we desperately long for.
All sounds reasonable, right? That last reason, however, can be problematic. Shopping online is linked with making impulsive decisions that can set you back thousands of dollars. When you’re inundated with ads from your favorite retailer (the networks always know which one!) or in a hurry, the likelihood you’ll derail your progress toward Financial Freedom grows stronger.
So how do you balance the need for convenience with the need for smart, well-thought-out financial decisions?
In a nutshell: by treading very carefully when you go online to buy.
Protecting Your Wallet In Cyberspace
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.