July 30, 2012
Today’s post is a guest post from Kristy Liner. She has got some very pertinent advice for you, if you are tempted by the ease of online shopping. Thanks Kristy.
Stop Clicking, and Read! Avoiding Online Impulse Buying
Most of us love shopping, and online shopping is even better. You can shop in your pyjamas, with curlers in your hair, while you watch TV, and cook dinner. However, the online shopping generation has made it a bit too easy to spend our hard earned cash online. Now, impulse buyers don’t even have to leave their homes to spend money that they should probably hang on to. I’m sure we’re all very responsible shoppers who know nothing about impulse buying, right? Yea, well, consider the following steps to help stop online impulse buying, just in case you have a “friend” who could use the help.
Set a Time Rule
Whether you give yourself one hour or 30 days, set a standard for yourself. When you find something you want, wait for your decided amount of time before buying it. Put it in your “wish list” rather than your cart. If after that one week or 12 days, you still want or need it, then you can buy it. Often times, you will forget about it, and if you do, you didn’t need to buy it in the first place.
Don’t Make it Easy
Don’t store your credit card information on online sites. Before you can make a purchase, make sure you’ll have to dig out your credit card and enter the information. Sometimes this can deter you from going through the trouble to make the purchase. If that’s all it takes to change your mind, you definitely don’t need the item.
Set another rule for yourself. Take the dollar amount of an item and spend that many minutes researching the item and pricing of the item. If you want to buy a $150 pair of shoes, you must first spend two and a half hours researching the shoes and where to get the best deal. If the time spent researching isn’t worth it, neither is the purchase. If it is worth it, chances are by the time you’re finished researching, you will have found the item at a rock-bottom price.
Don’t Drink and Shop
There’s no better way to set yourself up for buyer’s remorse than by shopping while intoxicated. Consider some of the other decisions you won’t let yourself make when you’ve been drinking and ask yourself if spending money is any less important. If you absolutely must surf the web after a few drinks, save your wants to a wish list to reconsider at a later, more sober time.
Don’t Tempt Yourself
Unsubscribe to daily deal mailing lists. A sale in your inbox is hard to ignore sometimes. However, if you aren’t subscribed to their mailing list, you’ll be none the wiser. Retailers set these email messages up to lure you to their site. They make you desire a product you never knew you needed and then make you feel like this is the only time you will ever buy it at this discounted, low price. If today is the only day you can get 30 percent off of something, that doesn’t mean you need it. Save yourself some money and unsubscribe now.
While online shopping is a definite no-hassle way to purchase the things we need at low prices, taking advantage of the accessibility is a bad idea. Not only will you spend money you wouldn’t normally spend, but you’ll buy things you don’t even need. Take these steps to deter yourself from falling into the trap and save money today.
This is a very interesting study showing that a drug used for treating the symptoms of Alzheimers disease, memantine, has been found to reduce impulsive thoughts and spending in 8 compulsive buyers.
I’m not sure that everybody, who is a compulsive shopper or overspender, needs to be treated with drugs, but certainly those at the more serious end need help.
In another article discussing the same study, the author discusses the case of Star Thompson,who spends £1000 a week on clothes. This despite the fact that she already has wardrobes full of unworn clothes, including 200 bras and 15 pairs of £250 Ugg boots!!
The author, Dominique Jackson of the Mail Online, states:- “The sooner the Thompsons, and the rest of society, recognise that shopping in this way and on this scale constitutes a serious psychological problem, the sooner the sufferers will get the help they so clearly need.”
I couldn’t agree more with Dominique Jackson. What do you think of treating compulsive shopping with medications? Is it a worthy use of health dollars? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
4 Reasons Why Having “nothing to wear” is NOT a Disaster! ….nor a Justification to go out and Buy Something!
May 11, 2012
You know the one… You’ve been invited to a wedding, birthday party, company dinner, or in fact just about anything… and the first words out of your mouth are…”But, I’ve got nothing to wear!”
Now, that is patently not true, because:
a) you have not spent the whole of your life in bed, naked, and hiding under the covers nor
b) walking around in public naked. This is not acceptable behaviour in most modern societies and you would probably have been arrested or taken to see a doctor!
It is not a disaster for the following reasons:-
- Firstly, the definition of disaster from Dictionary.com is: a calamitous event, especially one occurring suddenly and causing great loss of life, damage, or hardship, as a flood, airplane crash, or business failure. No mention of not having anything to wear!
- At most functions you attend, you are not the centre of attention…( unless of course, it’s your wedding)…and very few people will notice what you are wearing. (NB If it is your wedding, that is a justifiable excuse to buy something new. I am assuming that you will have been planning it for some time and have the savings to go out and buy it!)
- The occasion is not a fashion show …well not usually anyway…and almost always, it is about people celebrating the occasion. That means that you have been invited for your company not your clothes! Therefore, “that old thing” is probably going to be perfectly suitable.
- Unless you are the Queen, or Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, chances are that nobody will realise that you have worn the outfits in your wardrobe before! People are just not that observant. More importantly they are pleased to see you, not your clothes.
Of course, if you have planned to buy a new outfit, because you truly need it ,and not just want it, it is lovely to be able to wear something new to a special occasion. We all love that.
However, if it is not in your plan, especially if you are trying to stop overspending or reduce your debt, an invitation to an occasion does not justify buying something new to wear. Remember it is about the people and the celebration, so “that old thing” will be just perfect.
Tell us about any creative ideas you have, that gets around this common situation.
Have you ever opened your credit card bill and been absolutely shocked at how much it is? Worse still, have you ever been too scared to open it, knowing you were going to be shocked? How about going into your wallet and going “where did that $100/$200/$300 etc go? We call this being in the “money fog”! Essentially not having any clue how much money we are spending or have spent.
The money fog is almost always worse when we’re using credit cards, because the spending is often unconscious. In other words, you don’t really have to think about it, you just hand over your card without even considering what the balance already is. Provided you’re not at your limit you can easily do a day of retail therapy, or compulsive shopping, without giving the total amount spent another thought! You can just shop until you drop! Whilst you can also be in the money fog when using cash or debit cards, reality is closer at hand! You will either run out of money, need another trip to the money machine, or your debit card or EFT POS card will be rejected. Your spending therefore has to be, if not completely , at least partially, conscious.
Conscious spending is being aware of, not only how much you’re spending, but also being aware of what you’re buying! Do you really need it, or have you just seen it and want it, RIGHT NOW?
I know that when I was at the peak of my overspending, I could have a day out shopping without giving a thought to how much it was costing, or if I really needed what I was buying. As I was a very regular Internet banker ( I had to be, to keep juggling my money!) my shocks at how much I’d spent came pretty early on! The unneeded purchases were often obvious very early on too! I might have “needed” a painting but did I need ten?
As the reasons you overspend, or shop compulsively, are many and, often, complex there isn’t a quick cure. However, if you only use cash or debit cards, the harm you can do is minimised. The other key is tracking your spending, that is, write every single cent you spend down.
If you are concerned about your spending or any of this, please seek help. The Financial Recovery℠ Institute has a list of counselors http://www.financialrecovery.com/?p=find-by-area. If you cannot find one in your area I, and a lot of my colleagues, offer counseling by phone or via Skype.
Do you have a story of being too scared to open your credit card bill? Please share it with us below in the comments section.
April 16, 2012
You know the one with the young woman and the bubbles above her head… which say ” I deserve a little splurge”, “I’ll buy myself an early birthday present” “It won’t be on sale for ever” and “I’ve had a couple of hard weeks”.This is a link to the web version. https://comms.anz.co.nz/serioussaver.html?pid=mkt-pbr-ad-hp-jan12-serioussaver
This bit I really get. I used to use variations of each and every one of those statements, as justifications for my overspending and putting more “stuff” on my credit cards. I knew a whole lot more I can tell you. So too do my clients now, those who are overspenders and/or chronic debtors! They know these excuses and variations of them eg. “I should be getting a bonus next month” ” I need this as I haven’t got anything to wear to Jo’s party, Sue’s wedding…” or whatever.
They are all examples of justifications or excuses for spending money when, on some level, we know that we shouldn’t, we know we can’t afford to and/or we know that other people probably wouldn’t be doing it if they were in the same place as us, financially that is.
The bit I don’t get is, that the person using those excuses would be drawn away from their overspending habits, by a savings account with a good interest rate and some other positive benefits.
Maybe some would see the error of their ways and start saving instead of spending, but I know I wouldn’t have and nor would most of my clients. The reality is, that if you are an overspender or chronic debtor and using those justifications for your spending, in almost all cases you are struggling to pay your bills and debts and there is little money left over to save, if any.
The ANZ ad says ‘Saying no to temptation has never been so satisfying”. They may well be right; saving instead of spending is very satisfying. I just need a lot more convincing that the young woman in the ad, if she is using all those excuses for her spending, will be tempted by the prospect of saving and earning “up to” 4.5% interest. Taken altogether, those excuses spell to me a problem with overspending, which is not insignificant and requires some expert assistance.
I would be interested to hear your comments.
March 19, 2012
Often my clients admit to me that they feel ashamed that they are in debt, and not able to manage their money as well as they think they should. I can really empathise with them as I know that was how I felt too.
In all other aspects of my life (well most of them anyway LOL!) I was successful and competent. My overspending and chronic debting were my “dirty little secrets”, which I hid, or tried to, from everyone. I was very ashamed that I couldn’t control my spending as well as I controlled other aspects of my life. I was intelligent and could write fantastic budgets – I just couldn’t keep to them.
I now know that having money problems or issues with money behaviours, such as chronic debting and overspending, has no regard for gender, race or income level. Nor are they an indicator of intelligence.
Almost always they are a way of coping with some emotional factor or other. In my case, I was using buying myself stuff, as a way of caring for myself!
Faulty thinking that surely was, getting myself into debt over and over again was only harming me. Despite causing me loss of sleep and enormous angst, I just couldn’t see it and repeated my excuses like mantras to soothe me, as I spent. “I need this” “I deserve this, I work hard” ” I’m not responsible for anyone else so I can just spend it” (Sadly, I didn’t realise I wasn’t looking after me either!) “No-one else will buy it for me so I’m just going to do it!” I knew them all!
It wasn’t until I found the Financial Recovery℠ Institute and completed my Money Minder® Autobiography that I had some “aha” moments and began my recovery journey!
If you recognise your story in any of this ask for help sooner, rather than later.You will then be proud of yourself, not ashamed!
Does any of this resonate with you, either for yourself or a loved one? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
September 30, 2010
Diana Clement, a freelance journalist, wrote an article for the NZ Herald on how, no matter how much we earn, we often spend more…or at least don’t save it!
She interviewed me because, as I said, if it was an Olympic sport I would have won the gold medal!
You can read more here http://www.nzherald.co.nz/personal-finance/news/article.cfm?c_id=12&objectid=10675874
February 25, 2010
I don’t know how many of you have been on a diet… but my guess a few of you have. Does the word diet turn you off….make you think of all the foods and sweet treats you’ll be missing out on?
I know it did me and now when I’m trying to lose weight (like right at this moment) I never talk about being on a diet. It just triggers something negative in my brain and makes me think ……deprivation.
It’s very similar for a lot of people who are working through issues with money.
When my friends used to ask me if I had a budget, or worse, tell me that I should be on one, it would just make something crawl up my spine! My brain would immediately hear deprivation and I would almost panic. It would almost make me want to go out and spend……like a child doing the opposite of what was asked.
Now I am a woman of at least average intellect, and I could write a budget for myself, no problems. What I couldn’t do was stick to it.
I now understand that, at least partially, that was because I didn’t understand what was behind my need to spend to the limit of my credit. I now have a whole lot of insight and instead of shopping (the impulses will still come up), I understand that I need something emotionally rather than materially and attend to those needs. I learned this from my Financial RecoverySM counselling and my work with the MoneyAutobiography®.
With these programmes I now teach people to work with spending plans not budgets. The difference is that you plan your spending, rather than planning to budget/restrict. It may be semantics but for those of us with an issue with overspending or a shopping addiction, it works. It places the choice in our hands, and allows us to make decisions about our spending and if need-be adjust our spending as we go through the month.
February 3, 2010
I have been a bit under the weather for the past couple of weeks and really have been unable to do very much at all.
However, the one thing I did do, was keep track of my spending, which as a former overspender is very important. It was pretty boring spending too! Doctors, xrays and food pretty much did it. For one who used to love to buy shoes and jewellery , (my favourite compulsive shopping items) it was pretty unexciting.
I am proud that I didn’t buy myself a treat, (because I deserved it) because I was feeling so lousy! The “I deserve it” used to be a pretty common excuse for my shopping addiction.
So, I remain on track with my spending and know just where my money has gone – and believe me a lot of it has gone – because I’ve been tracking it in my MoneyMinderR.
Now what’s left is for me to get back on track with my work. This has been a good start!
December 4, 2009
It used to be that we would then hear how many shopping days that meant. Now, however, when the shops are mostly open 7 days a week and until all hours, it makes little difference, you can shop any day and I’m not even going into internet shopping!!
Here in New Zealand, for many it is also the countdown to the summer holidays, although, having been in Christchurch for 4 days and wearing winter clothes, one could be excused for wondering!! So, even without the winter weather, this is notoriously a stressful time of year.
There are parties to plan, organise and attend. There are meals out and in, to plan, organise and attend. There are holidays to plan and organise, and then there is Christmas day to plan, organise and attend (unless of course you don’t celebrate Christmas) If you have children, there are all of their end of year functions to plan, organise and attend! One word for it – BUSY! Tired already?! Stressed?! It’s not over yet!
You are now expected to shop – for meals, for holidays and of course, for Christmas presents. Even if money is not an issue for you this is stressful. What to buy for Dad, Grandma, Auntie Collette etc?
It is a really good idea if you can, to make a Christmas present list, together with a budget before you even enter the shops. If you can’t get as far as knowing what you are going to buy for Dad, at least know the limit of what you want to spend on him and don’t go over. On my website, I have some other tips (My top 10 Tips) for reducing the amount you spend at Christmas. Go here to download for free http://www.financialclarity.co.nz
There I advocate just taking the budgeted amount, in cash, and no credit cards, when you go Christmas shopping, then you can’t go over! This is particularly if you are inclined to overspend, compulsive shop or, have any kind of shopping addiction. Of course, the same trick works when shopping at any time, not just at the holiday season.
This season, as I said in the beginning, is stressful by it’s very busyness, try not to make it more stressful by incurring debt as well. Most of all enjoy and have fun!