Many Americans have discovered the ease and convenience of shopping their favorite retailers online and it has led to a rise in online shopping addiction. For some people it is the thrill of shopping, and online shopping is an even faster way to satisfy their craving to shop. For others, it is a way to feel good about themselves or reward themselves. The consequences of the spending spree might not catch up with them for weeks or months, until they can’t pay their credit card bill and finally discover just how much they have been spending.
So what can people do if they think that they have an online shopping addiction?
- REVIEW: Review your budget to see how much money is coming in and going out each month as well as the last three months of credit card statements. While going over the statements, see if you remember what you purchased. Was it an essential item, or just a whim?
- PUT YOUR CREDIT ON ICE: Cut up all your credit cards with the exception of the one with the lowest balance and interest rate. Put it in a container in water and place it in your freezer in case of an emergency. When there is an emergency situation, it will take a day for the ice to melt and you will have time to re-think if it is an impulse buy.
- ASK FOR SUPPORT: Tell your family and friends about your problem and ask them to check up on you and support your attempt to curb the online spending. This may mean doing alternate activities together away from the Internet.
- PAY DOWN DEBT: Savings accounts do not have a very high interest yield, so make sure that all credit cards, which charge much higher interest rates, are paid off as soon as possible before undertaking a serious savings program.
- START SAVING: Set up an online savings account and set up an automatic deposit to make sure money is saved every month.
- SET FINANCIAL GOALS: Set long-term financial goals such as retirement, college for the kids, and so on. That should help rein in spending on frivolous items.
- SEEK PROFESSIONAL HELP: If a person tries to cut down on their online shopping and is still struggling, there are now counselors who can help with online shopping addictions.
Online shopping addiction is more common than many people realize. If a person thinks they have become addicted to online shopping, trying the methods suggested above can help set them on the road to recovery so they can try to get their life and finances back under control.