How to Manage Your Shopping During the Pandemic
Updated: May 9, 2022
In the past few months, online shopping has gone up because of the pandemic. It’s not just about online stores being safer to purchase from due to its “socially distant” nature of buying; it’s also partly because a fair number of people have turned to retail therapy to get through this crisis.
However, even if you’re among those fortunate enough to have extra cash at the end of the month, shopping is probably not the best thing to use it for.
You may be wondering why so.
We live in a period of high economic uncertainty at the moment. Even if a vaccine for COVID-19 were to be released in the next few months, hysteresis of the recession and a shaky job market remain likely in the aftermath.
Thus, it’s far wiser to ensure that any spare cash you have goes into safeguarding your financial future, not shopping as entertainment.
For that reason, here are some tips you can follow to curb your shopping habits.
Make Buying Harder for Yourself
Online stores have made it convenient for consumers to keep coming back and buy from their websites nowadays.
For instance, they save your credit card, billing, and delivery address so that any further purchases later on are easier to make.
If you think about it, since there are fewer hurdles between you and the buy button, you’re more likely to buy again later.
So why shouldn’t adding hurdles result in the opposite outcome?
Make it harder for yourself to purchase items online by deleting your credit card or billing details from your favourite online stores. Doing this means when you want to make an online purchase in the future, you have to actually get up and get your credit card and key in all the information.
In the future, when buying from a shopping site, you can opt to click “no” when a prompt appears asking if you would like to save your payment information.
You can even delete shopping apps or bookmarked stores from your browsers and mobile.
If you ensure that you have to take more steps just to shop again, the annoyance of it all may well prevent you from impulse-buying in the future.
Reassess your possessions
Do they spark joy?
If you have heard of the Marie Kondo method, it encourages you to reassess your possessions and identify the items that “spark joy”. This is a loose translation of the Japanese word, tokimeku, which means to flutter or to throb, as you would when you feel excited. The whole idea teaches that you should only keep things that give you excitement because it has a sentimental value to it.
On top of clearing your things, it is also actually a good way to dissuade yourself from buying things you don’t need.
You might discover that even just organising your wardrobe can prevent you from buying a lot of new clothes on impulse. That’s because a lot of people have clothes they’ve never even worn!
Take some time to reacquaint yourself with your possessions and you may find yourself discovering items you would have bought otherwise.
This method is tried-and-tested and is proven to be effective. Preventing impulse purchases make sure you’re only buying things you truly need.
Delaying your purchases means you put items in your shopping cart, then leaving them for several days without checking out. A good minimum delay is 3 days, although one that lasts even longer would be better.
You can use this time to decide whether the purchase is a need or a want, or even find a better deal.
If you believe you still need it after 3 days, you can go ahead and purchase the item. You should have had enough time to reflect on its use and value by then.
Convert the Item’s Value into Labour Hours
Another way to dissuade yourself from making purchases thoughtlessly is to convert the item’s price into your actual work hours.
This method is a good reminder for yourself of what things cost you in terms of labour hours.
For instance, if something costs $75 and you make $25 an hour, you can tell yourself before checking out that buying that item costs you 3 hours of work.
You can then ask yourself if it’s worth those 3 hours and if you can afford to spend that sort of time and effort on that object.
Get a Financial Advisor
We know what you’re thinking - what does this have to do with curtailing your shopping habit? Read carefully.
You see, a lot of people often chalk up their inability to save money, build up an emergency fund, or put together an investment portfolio/retirement fund to an insufficiency of income.
This rings true, in a fair number of cases, particularly given the slashed wages some have been getting due to the pandemic.
However, it’s also true that many people could certainly hit financial goals by approaching the problem from the other end: by reducing expenses instead of increasing income (which is difficult especially right now).
This is where a financial advisor can help. They help you regulate your expenses more intelligently, as well as plan your finances for the future.
Additionally, in the process, you’ll be sure to get advice on how much to allocate for things like shopping.
They can also give you more tips on expense planning and financial strategy in a world struggling to come to grips with a pandemic.
Set Yourself On The Right Financial Path
Achieving financial freedom is not only about having lots of extra cash for shopping. It also means taking ownership of your finances and controlling them instead of the other way around. It means being able to live the life you desire without having to think much about the financial impact because you are prepared no matter what happens.
If you want to get started on the right financial path, we can put you in touch with experts that will help you begin your own journey to financial freedom. To learn more, contact us today.
Written in collaboration with our financial advisory partners at Virtus Associates.