You are Here > Home > Budgeting > Shopping online: how to avoid overspending

Shopping online: how to avoid overspending

Jun 24, 2014

online shoppingAccording to World Wide Worx, which monitors the local e-commerce landscape on an annual basis, in conjunction with MasterCard, online shopping has stayed in line with forecasts over the past few years – slightly surpassing last year’s expectations. A report by the Boston Consulting Group states that online shopping accounts for approximately 1.9% of South Africa’s economy and is anticipated to grow to 2.5% by 2016.

“With the increase in online shopping in South Africa, we are seeing more and more people spending their salaries online and swiping their credit cards to buy clothing, technology and food items,” says Wikus Olivier, debt counselor at DebtSafe.

When you see an email pop up in your inbox alerting you to the 70%-off online sale starting in five minutes, you quickly log in and add that lavish pair of shoes and designer handbag to your virtual cart, realising the deal’s about to end, and — click! — they’re yours.

“Online shopping can be quick and convenient. This is a positive thing should you perhaps not be able to leave the kids alone at home and need to buy some groceries, however, for retail therapy addicts this could be too easy and it leads to a lot of people getting into credit-card debt with the click of a button,” says Olivier.

To avoid spending on unnecessary items, here are a few tips when shopping online:

Set a budget

Work out how much you want to spend and stick to it. Always remember to add in the delivery costs as this can add quite a bit on to your purchase.

Decide what matters

What are your must-have features versus those that are nice to have? For example, if you are purchasing a laptop, is it necessary to purchase the extra storage or is the standard amount that comes with the laptop sufficient?

Compare products

The last thing you want is to receive your product and find it’s not what you thought it would be and now you’re stuck with it. Always read the reviews online and compare prices to make sure you’re not being overcharged. Sometimes the convenience is not worth the extra costs.

Hit “pause” if your dream dress is out of stock

Should you log on for a web-only sample sale and find your favourite item has already been sold, you might be tempted to buy something else instead. Tell yourself, “Try again tomorrow,” and log out.

Don’t keep your credit card on file

By having your credit card details on file you are on the fast track to one-click impulse purchases. Opt to enter your payment info each time you shop online, and use those extra minutes for an Is it really worth it? gut check.

End online buyer’s remorse!

Retailers often use “cookies” – files of your personal data stored by web browsers like Firefox and Safari – to come up with those “If you liked that, you’ll love this” recommendations. Some websites might even use the information to quote you higher prices based on your shopping habits. Delete cookies in your browser’s preferences from time to time and see if you start to get better deals.

“What is important to note is that just because it is easier to shop online it does not mean it will be easier to pay off the credit card debt. Whether you shop online or from the local supermarket, using your credit card and giving into impulse buying needs to be managed carefully,” concludes Olivier.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Maya Fisher-French author of Money Questions Answered

Previous Articles

Funeral policy fraud on the increase

When fraudsters access your personal information, they can use this information to take out a funeral policy in your name, and then claim benefits on the policy using a fake death certificate and other supporting documentation. “Finding out you are the victim of a...

SARS issues guidance on crypto assets

On 27 August 2021, SARS provided further guidance on the correct tax treatment of crypto assets and how this must be declared in people’s tax returns. SARS published a document on its website entitled Crypto Assets & Tax. The publication should perhaps best be...

Self-service facility for GEPF members

Technology is making it easier for GEPF members and pensioners to keep track of their pension information and claims process. By downloading the new GEPF self-service mobile app onto your device, you can remove the frustration of standing in long queues at GEPF...

Video: Being rich vs being wealthy

In his book The Psychology of Money, Morgan Housel writes about the difference between being rich and being wealthy. He defines riches as an income you earn, because that allows you to take on the debt to buy that R800 000 car or R40 000 handbag. Wealth on the other...

High-risk land investment leaves angry investors out of pocket

Many South African investors who bought UK property developments through SA-based property marketing company SJ Capital, have seen no returns for over 11 years. Investigations have found that the investment is extremely high risk and that investors were not fully...

Listen: Top tips for financially savvy kids

Maya (@mayaonmoney) chats to certified financial planner Gugu Sidaki (@gugusidaki) about ways to skill our children so that they can better manage money as adults. Gugu is author of My 3 Piggies, a series of books for kids all about money. Also listen to this podcast,...

Treasury’s solution to early withdrawal

As part of its ongoing retirement reform process, National Treasury is proposing the introduction of a two-bucket retirement system to provide for shorter and longer-term needs. John Anderson, executive at Alexander Forbes, says it may work along the same percentages...

Video: Marriage and money

When couples marry, including Customary Marriage, they will automatically be married under community of property, unless they sign a separate antenuptial contract. This is seen as a way to protect women, especially those who stay at home to raise the family. The term...

The NSSF will not meet the needs of South Africans

While noble in its aim, the establishment of a National Social Security Fund (NSSF) is largely unworkable. In August, the department of Social Development issued a Green Paper on Comprehensive Social Security and Retirement Reform, which outlined a “super fund” to...

Life insurers see a 44% jump in death claims

Death claims statistics released recently by the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA) have shown a massive 44% jump in lives lost with an overall increase of 64% in the value of claims paid compared to the previous year. Between 1 April 2020 and...

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This