Four Ways to Stop Overspending Online

How NOT to buy that thing you want in just one click.

If you’ve made an impulsive late-night online purchase you regretted the next day, you’re not alone. Almost a third of Americans had made an unplanned online purchase in the month before a 2018 survey by CreditCards.com. You’re also not just weak-willed: the people who build online shopping sites and apps work very hard to make buying as easy as possible, with “express” checkouts, saved credit card information and even “you left something in your cart” emails the next day.

If you’re coming to grips with your spending habits, get ready for some soul-searching about your click count. “You have to be truthful and honest with yourself,” says Kumiko Love, an accredited financial counselor and founder of the website The Budget Mom. Love herself used to be what she calls an “impatient spender.” She clicked plenty. Then she kicked her habit by following a simple formula: she identified the worst sources of temptation and introduced some barriers, including unsubscribing from deal newsletters.

If you worry you’re spending too much online, or you’re just trying to save more or cut debt, try these steps to help take control.

  • Ban “deals” from your inbox. Emails touting discount coupons or sales—usually with a time limit—can turn want into need. Rather than rely on willpower to avoid temptation, unsubscribe from these sales emails every time they pop up. Just open the email, ignore the offer, scroll to the bottom and find the “unsubscribe” link.
  • Give it time. When you feel the urge to buy something, whether substantial or frivolous, put it on a wish list or add it to a shopping cart. Wait a week, or even a month, and see if the urge abates. Most people find it does: The average online shopping cart abandonment rate is 75%, according to a 2018 report by SaleCycle§.
  • Turn off one-click buying. Because the allure of one-click is so powerful, introduce a speed bump by going into your profile settings on the website and removing that feature, where possible. Amazon.com, which held a patent on one-click shopping for eight years, provides instructions on how to do itll.
  • Remove saved credit card information. Stored credit cards are another factor that makes shopping just a bit too easy. Force yourself to enter your credit card information manually and check out as a guest (meaning your payment and address info isn’t saved) whenever possible. You’ll have time to second-guess the purchase.

With the above practices in place, you’ll still buy what you really need online. But a bit of breathing room means you may have time to make more conscious buying decisions. If you’re looking for more ways to understand (and improve) your spending habits, check out Huntington's new digital banking experience, the Hub. There you can monitor, analyze and track your spending over time—which is all great motivation to keep up your better money habits.

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† “Poll: Most online shoppers can’t resist the lure of unplanned buys” 2018 https://www.creditcards.com/credit-card-news/online-shopping-survey.php

‡ Interview, Kumiko Love, 11/2018.

§ “The Remarketing Report” 2018. Second paragraph down specifics of a recent poll notes that 29% made an unplanned buy in the past month.First chart, average cart abandonment. https://blog.salecycle.com/featured/infographic-the-remarketing-report-q2-2018/

ll “Amazon’s One-Click Patent Is About to Expire,” 2017. https://www.npr.org/2017/09/06/548819270/amazon-s-1-click-patent-is-about-to-expire-what-s-the-big-deal