About 6 years ago I thought online shopping was stupid and would never catch on.
I was wrong. Now, I wish I could do 100% of my shopping through the internet. There are a few main reasons I prefer making purchases on my computer as opposed to going to a store.
- Crowds! – This probably doesn’t need to be said, but nobody is going to steal your parking spot after you waited in line with your blinker on when you’re sitting behind a computer screen from the comfort of your home.
- Deals – When I purchase things online I have the ability to check 100 different stores in seconds to find out who has the best price on something I want. If I were physically at a store, I’d have to drive to 3 other stores to make sure they had the best price and dealing with those crowds again.
- Convenience – From my phone, while I’m watching TV and helping kids with homework, I can buy presents from Amazon for the birthday party this weekend and they’ll be delivered to my doorstep in 2 days.
- Avoid Impulse Buys – When you go to the store, you can always be tempted to pickup a few extra things that weren’t on your list. On the internet, while they do a great job recommending add on products, you can typically just stick to your list.
But with all the benefits that I’ve enjoyed with online shopping I’ve learned it can be easy to bust your budget when you’re making those purchases on the internet.
Because you’re using a card instead of cash! Making purchases with cash is the easiest way to make sure you stay on budget in your given categories because once they money is gone, you have to stop spending.
Here are the 2 ways to help you stick to your budget with online shopping:
- Create a budget category for online transactions in your monthly budget. Before the month begins, think through any of the major purchases you’ll be making online and budget for them. Then transfer that amount of money into a separate checking account. This checking account is yours exclusively for online shopping. Don’t give Amazon Prime your main checking account card! You’ll be tempted to over-spend. Just use this checking account and give them that debit card entirely for your online purchases.
- Use the cash from your other categories, by depositing it back into your online checking account. Let’s pretend I want to buy a shirt online. At the beginning of the month I gave myself $100 in my pocket cash category, so in my wallet are five $20 bills. If I want to buy that shirt online, instead of in a store, I’ll just deposit that $20 back into the bank, only I’ll put it into my dedicated online shopping account.
Setting up a dedicated online account is the best way to manage your online shopping to make sure that you don’t blow your budget!
What about you? What are your tricks for staying on budget with your online spending?