Spending too much online? Put some guardrails in place (and don’t shop drunk)

Online shopping has made it easy to get near-instant gratification, but that purchase could also come with some regret.

A survey of 2,000 Americans by online shopping platform Slickdeals found that 74% of online shoppers had buyer’s remorse after buying items online. Respondents, 39%, felt something they bought online was less valuable than expected, and 32% said they spent too much money in the first place.

There are some guardrails consumers can put in place to control impulsive online shopping. The easiest is to not store your credit card information on e-commerce sites frequently visited.

“Retailers already make it super-easy to buy,” said Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst at LendingTree. “Don’t make it easier by enabling one-click shopping.”

Another good rule for nonessential online purchases, especially expensive ones, is just to sleep on it.

“If you’re adding something to an online shopping cart, let it stay there for 24 hours before you buy it. If you still want it at the end of that time, great. If you don’t, or you are less enthusiastic about it, maybe you shouldn’t buy it,” Schulz said.

Don’t let mood drive online spending.

“We all know about retail therapy. We’ve all probably had times when we are really excited, or really sad or down. Those can be challenging times to buy,” Schulz said.

One more definite no-no: Do not make spontaneous purchases while intoxicated.

Six in 10 in the Slickdeals survey admitted shopping online while inebriated — with 83% of drunk shoppers buying something “dumb or frivolous.”

A survey by personal finance site Finder found that drunk shoppers spend an average of $309, while shopping under the influence.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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