First Person: Controlling My Online Shopping Habit

Yahoo Contributor Network

Online shopping has made it so easy for me to part ways with my hard earned money. Not only me, but my kids too! (It's kind of sad that my youngest child would rather shop online than go to Wal-Mart.) After stumbling over a pile of smiling Amazon boxes in the middle of the night, I decide enough was enough. A quick review of the past month's order records and I knew I had to get my online shopping habit under control. In just one month's time, I spent over $300 on books, toys, DVDs and clothes. While that's not every month, it's not far off. I usually spent around $100 per month on stuff I really don't need.

Since Amazon was my "shopper's paradise," I decided to change the way I shopped, focusing on how I used this virtual warehouse.

I introduced my kids to the Wishlist feature. I remember flipping through the Sears toy catalog for months, making a wish list of all the things I wanted. I introduced my children to that old habit of mine. Now my kids can browse without spending my money. I remind them that they can shop on their birthdays, for Christmas and after important events, like they made the Honor Roll. Not just because it's Friday! When I can afford it, we cruise through the Wishlist and make a purchase. So far, it's working.

I leave items in the cart for 24 hours, unless it's an emergency. Did I really need that Limited Edition "Winter Is Coming" sword from the Game of Thrones? After 24 hours of hanging out in my shopping cart, as it turned out, I did not. I saved myself $199 plus shipping. I like this new wait 24 hour rule.

I only shop with gift cards now. Once in a blue moon, I sell old DVDs and books on Amazon with my Seller Account. Instead of money, I chose the option to convert my earnings to gift cards. Boy those have come in handy! I would rather shop with a gift card than go over board with a debit or credit card.

I do not shop after hours anymore. Shopping post Ambien, or after a few glasses of wine is not a recipe for success or savings. I never shop after bed time anymore.

I stay away from bidding sites. I am so competitive that I will continue to bid for something that I have only a feigned interest in. Bidding sites are not for me. If I can't "Buy It Now," I don't want it.

This change in spending has certainly encouraged me to show some self-control. I hope my kids learn something from my spending experiment.

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