How much have you spent today? How much have you spent in the last week? How much have you spent since quarantine started? And most importantly, what have you been spending them on?
With the anxiety-ridden year everyone had, one of the coping mechanisms was online shopping. And while it’s true that online shopping saved us the hassle of going out to get essential items, the convenience also made us more prone to impulse shopping. That little bit of joy we get from a new package arriving punctuated our pandemic days.
When do you know it’s too much?
If you’ve bought something you never needed before the pandemic, and you didn’t even think about buying it before the lockdowns started, it might not be an essential purchase. When you buy food and personal hygiene items, and even when you buy cosmetics online, you’re getting items that were already part of your life before the lockdowns. You’re essentially replenishing your stock. But when you’re adding unnecessary items that are not essential or helpful to your life in quarantine, perhaps it’s time to press pause and reevaluate your priorities.
Is home improvement an impulsive decision?
One of the trends during quarantine was to improve the home, whether by doing something as simple as adding plants or choosing to completely makeover a room. There are cases where home improvement can be deemed essential. If you need to work or study from home and you need an organized and aesthetic place to be productive, that’s okay. If another family member is staying over and you need to convert a storage room into their bedroom, that’s also understandable. If you need more breathing space to avoid the sense of isolation, your plants are not a bad investment. However, if your home is already in tip-top shape and you’re deciding to do minute adjustments and buying what you already had simply because you wanted them to look prettier, that might indicate that you are shopping impulsively.
What to do to fix the issue
Deciding to stop online shopping is not easy to do overnight. You may have gotten used to it so much that it has become an impulse, and the ads on your phone might not be helping either. If you know a few people who have started their businesses online, you may justify your shopping as a way to support their local business.
One simple way to change this is by making a list of items you need to buy. Designate a budget for your online shopping for the month, and buy only the items that are on that list. If an item is outside your budget, tell yourself you will save for it first. Yes, this is even if you have extra money to spend. The goal is to train yourself not to go into purchase mode as soon as you see something you like.
Give yourself some time to observe your spending habits during quarantine and make the necessary changes to get your finances back on track. As the world slowly reopens, you’ll be thankful if you have more savings than unnecessary trinkets.