The internet has changed the way we do so many things in life, including shopping. I buy way more online than I do in person, so much so that I sometimes forget how to even use the credit card machines they have in stores now (insert instead of swipe, when did that happen?)
While I am happy to make most of my purchases from the comfort of my own home, there is a big downside to being able to shop whenever I want at all hours of the day and night. I end up spending money on stuff I don’t necessarily need and didn’t plan to buy. And that’s not great for my bank account.
I’m not alone in my impulse-buying habit either. Some studies have shown that impulse buys account for as much as 40% of all money spent on e-commerce.
But just because this is normal doesn’t mean I wanted to continue with this habit. The good news is, I found a really simple and effective way to dramatically reduce my online shopping. Here’s what I did.
This simple move made all the difference
To spend less money online, I made the choice to unsubscribe from all marketing emails that come into my inbox. When the emails showed up, I simply opened them up, scrolled down to the bottom without looking, and hit the “Unsubscribe” button.
It took me a few months of diligently doing this with every single email from a store that came into my inbox — especially since I was signed up for a lot of emails from stores. Most places incentivize you to provide your email by offering a discount, or they sign you up automatically when you make a purchase unless you figure out how to opt out.
Now, my email has been blessedly free of pretty much all store newsletters announcing sales or coupon codes, and it has actually made a huge difference in my spending habits.
When I compared credit card statements over a period spanning several months both before and after I started unsubscribing, I found that my spending online was down about 32%. And, there were numerous stores I had purchased several things from that I basically forgot existed once I stopped getting their emails in my inbox.
Could unsubscribing from marketing emails work for you too?
Unsubscribing from emails designed to sell you something is an easy way to not buy as much. After all, without ads coming to tell you what a good deal you are missing out on, there may be some products you never even know exist or even think about buying.
The email newsletters also do a really good job of creating a fear of missing out. If I don’t buy this Halloween fall centerpiece at this amazing price, it will be gone forever and my dining table will go empty. I’ll regret it for Halloweens to come, always wishing I’d spent the $24.99. At least that was the mindset I was falling into when I was getting marketing emails all the time.
You really have nothing to lose by not letting stores flood your inbox with their promotions, so why not try to unsubscribe for a few months and see if you notice that your credit card bills are a little smaller?
If you’re worried about missing out on coupon codes (which was my big concern), you can always install the Honey app in your web browser that finds discount codes for you automatically when you’re shopping online. You’ll still get your savings, but only when you’re on a site you really need to visit to buy something you wanted because you decided that and not because a marketing email convinced you to do it.
So, go ahead, hit that unsubscribe link when emails start flooding your inbox. Hopefully, you’ll have the same success I did and your bank account balance will grow as your wasteful online shopping habit comes to a halt.
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