Are YOU guilty of overspending online?
Every time you pick up your phone or switch on your laptop, you’re bombarded with social media adverts, shopping apps and newsletters advertising the latest must-have buys.
So it’s of little wonder that so many of us find ourselves overspending online.
Speaking to FEMAIL, Ellie Austin-Williams, Financial Coach & Founder at This Girl Talks Money and Andy Russell, CEO of Wealthify, explained there are simple steps anyone can take to help curb the habit, leaving you with more money in your pocket at the end of the month.
Some of them focus on fostering good spending habits, like ringfencing an amount of money for treats or asking a friend to hold your accountable in your saving goals.
Others are designed to improve the way you use the internet, like setting up a separate email folders for newsletters packed with tempting treats.
Here, Ellie and Andy share eight of their most effective tips…
Ellie Austin-Williams, Financial Coach & Founder at This Girl Talks Money and Andy Russell, bucksays CEO of Wealthify explained there are simple steps anyone can take to help curb the habit, leaving you with more money in your pocket at the end of the month. Stock image
Use Pinterest to plan purchases ahead of time
Pinterest is a great source of inspiration, whether you are planning a wedding, looking for new recipes, or renovating your house.
But it can also be an invaluable tool when it comes to planning for big budget purchases.
The key is to figure out what you really need to buy, and what is simply something you ‘want’.
By focusing on the ‘needs’ – at least most of the time – you’ll soon save money.
‘By actively designing your interiors or outfits before you shop, you can avoid buying impulse items that don’t fit anywhere in your house and end up forgotten about,’ Ellie and Andy said.
Put items in your shopping basket… then wait to buy
In the digital age, it is common for shoppers to add huge amounts of items to their online shopping basket and forget about them.
But this can actually be a benefit, according to Ellie and Andy.
‘Yes, it’s tempting to click through to checkout, but if you can add items to your basket or favourite items and then press pause to go and complete another task or watch your favourite show, you can disarm the urge to buy all of the items in your basket,’ she said.
Then, if you find yourself still wanting or thinking about the purchase, you can always come back to the basket and finish the transaction.
Many people find that they splurge a lot of money when they are alone. But it can be easier to avoid spending so much when you have someone else, an accountability partner, to make sure that you are saving those pennies. Stock image
Find a friend to hold you accountable
Many people find that they splurge a lot of money when they are alone.
But it can be easier to avoid spending so much when you have someone else, an accountability partner, to make sure that you are saving those pennies.
‘Whether it’s your best friend or your sister, find someone who struggles to say no to shopping as much as you and make yourselves accountable to each other,’ Ellie and Andy explained.
‘Check in every couple of days to encourage each other to avoid impulse purchases.’
It is the same idea as having a gym buddy, which has been proven to make it easier to stick to a workout schedule.
Ringfence money for treats
‘It might sound strange, but ring fencing an amount of cash each month to spend on whatever you want can help you spend less overall,’ Ellie and Andy explained.
‘Similar to dieting, when you restrict spending to the extreme, it can ultimately lead to a bigger splurge, so the key is giving yourself some flexibility.’
So whether it is a new dress, a mini break or a night out with the girls, by setting aside a certain amount (and sticking to it!) you know you have a treat to look forward to each month.
Reduce your time scrolling
Allowing ourselves time to decompress and get out of the house as well as off our devices can actually be the key to not overspending on social media.
Ellie and Andy explained: ‘Getting outside and switching off from the digital world can hugely reduce the urge to splurge, as you are disconnected from the heavy advertising we’re exposed to on websites, in our inboxes and on social media.
‘Put your devices away and enjoy the real, physical world more.
‘From crosswords to quizzes to sketching, find yourself an entertaining outlet to help distract you from the urge to open up another shopping app in spare moments.’
Set up an email folder for shopping emails
It is all to easy to find yourself with a string of email subscriptions, often to newsletters and alerts from companies pushing their latest products.
Once you see them on screen it can be tricky to resist the urge to click ‘buy now’.
But you don’t need to unsubscribe to avoid these tempting emails, Ellie and Andy explained.
‘If you don’t want to unsubscribe completely but do want to control how much marketing you see, one clever way to reduce the visibility of these emails is to set up automatic filters,’ she said.
‘It means emails from specific brands get sent to a separate folder. That way, you can dip in as and when you wish.’
Try a ‘one in, one out’ rule
You may have got to the point where your wardrobe, house or flat is completely overridden with items.
If that’s the case, it might make sense for you to commit to the ‘one in, one out’ rule.
You might already use this approach when it comes to your wardrobe, but it can work just as well with a subscription service or items for your home.
‘A one in, one out rule will force you to figure out whether you really want to commit if you simultaneously have to get rid of something to make space,’ Ellie and Andy said.
‘It won’t work for everything, but for discretionary spending give it a go.’
Have an emergency stash of ‘fakeaways’
It can be very easy to come accustomed to takeaway breakfasts, lunches and dinners for convenience purposes
But if you find yourself scrolling through food delivery apps all the time on your phone, Ellie and Andy have a solution for you.
‘After a busy day, popping onto a delivery service can feel like the best option to save time and energy, but it’s rarely the wisest decision for your bank balance.
‘Keep a handful of comfort meals in the freezer and save yourself the cost (and often disappointment) of a food delivery.’