The arrival of COVID presented the world with a good degree of challenges. For the most part, we have done our best to adapt our habits and let’s face it, the online world of commerce has never been happier. E-marketer reports, “Retail e-commerce will reach CA$52.04 billion ($39.22 billion) this year.”
Your wallet, digital or literal, however, is no doubt suffering significantly. In our present climate, even the boomers are going online. Whether it’s to order food, pay bills, pay for in-person purchases or all areas of online shopping, is it possible that we are becoming a little too reliant on the digital world and a bit too lenient with our personal finances?
Here are three areas to give careful attention to in an effort to strike a balance between convenience and good financial habits.
1. RECEIPTS ARE KEY TO BALANCED SPENDING
Receipts are the window to our personal finances – if we actually keep track of them! Virtual receipts are a fantastic way to support the environment, save trees and technically keep account of your spending. Like myself, if you have already acquired the bad habit of ditching your receipts, virtual receipts make it even less feasible to account for your daily spending. How can you keep better track of your spending? Here are three easy ways to keep a better account of your expenditures.
- Make a Receipt Jar | Even if you do your best to limit paper receipts, everyone ends up with a fair amount of them lying around. Rather than hunt down every pocket, purse, catch-all, and car console, designate a single jar or bowl for paper receipts. Keep it near the front door, try to make it a habit to empty your stash into the pot as soon as you get home. Whether you empty the receipt jar weekly, bi-monthly or monthly, we assure you this simple step will help significantly.
- Get Organized | If you tend to stash receipts in your car console or glove compartment, especially if you keep a detailed account for business purposes, a small accordion file will become your best friend. Separate your receipts into categories (i.e. admin/food/gas/etc.) for an easy transfer into the home office. Even if you don’t need your receipts for your taxes, you can still get a pretty good idea of your day to day spending habits by seeing which folders fill up first.
- Use an App | Personal financial apps just keep getting better and better. Apps are especially helpful when your main transactions are virtual. For the first few weeks, compare your original receipts (printed or email) with your app’s account of spending. You want to be sure that the app you have chosen is the best for your spending habits. You can check our list of the top financial apps in our last blog post.
2. MAKE WISE USE OF SUBSCRIPTIONS
Monthly subscriptions can be deadly, enabling us to overspend and accumulate things that we genuinely do not need or even want. While those clothing, trending and toy subscriptions are expensive, convenience aside, some websites offer a recurrent purchase of the same item at an interval that works for you. The benefits of such an offer are,
- Household Staples | Recurrent subscriptions are outstanding for such household items as toilet paper, Kleenex, cleaning supplies, toiletries, etc. Even when the items are regular price, you will still end up saving more money. Think about the last time you ran out for laundry detergent. Can you honestly say you got back home with just a container of laundry detergent? Probably not. Curb the instant gratification buys and set up a worry-free”, “never run out of…” recurrent subscription. Plus, you can cancel or modify at any time without penalties.
- Discounts | The majority of subscriptions offer you an excellent discount. This means that your purchases match sale prices you would find in-store or even way under promotional retail value. Just be careful to read the fine print before subscribing, as the better the deal, the more the company will hold you to your full subscription period.
- Careful Spending | For some, a high-quality subscription to clothing or learning toys for their children is worth the higher price tag. Once you have designated a particular area of want or need items, you may find yourself window shopping less and buying those products less often. If this is true to your situation, you will be more careful about spending, knowing the pros have got you covered – and it comes straight to your door!
3. MAKE SPENDING A CHALLENGE… LITERALLY
Let’s face it, keeping note of our spending, especially after the fact, is probably not enough to deter our online shopping addiction. (It’s okay; we’re all addicted to online spending, no judgement.) Try putting these three tips into practice!
- Clear Your Cache | Having your browser and device store your banking information, especially debit and credit cards, is one of the best things ever. We have developed into a generation reliant on ai and digitally stored information. I mean, when the last time you dialled a phone number from memory? If you find yourself always clicking ‘Place Order’ or ‘Use as default payment,’ try clearing your cache regularly. Check out as a guest when buying online. You will probably find yourself less likely to buy as often.
- Keep Your Wallet in the Car | This is by far the most efficient tip for reigning in your online shopping habits, especially as the cold weather sets in. Keep your wallet in your car (or if you are wary of that idea, in the garage or basement.), and I promise you that the next time you go to order online, you will most likely prefer to close your laptop, as opposed to venturing out into the cold to grab your card number.
- Be Accountable… to Yourself | Set a cap on your spending or an alert when you have reached a certain level of spending. A visual prompt is always helpful and can jump-start your budget-focused mind.
Whether you may be a bit of a shopaholic or simply want to keep yourself in check, these are easy but fool-proof ways to get a handle on your online shopping. Go ahead, give it a try!
If you need a little help paying off the bills or financing a repair, 24Cash is here for you. As a Canadian company, we are truly devoted to supporting fellow Canadians in their times of need. Apply online for our small loan services and pay it back on your terms. We’ve got your back, 24/7.