Stop shopping your way through this pandemic 1

Stop shopping your way through this pandemic

Aneth Ng-Lim

Posted at May 31 2021 04:27 PM

In our country of more than 110 million Filipinos, at least 80% have gone social, meaning they are wired, connected and socially active. Between 2020 and 2021, Filipino social media users rose by 22% or a staggering 16 million, one more thing we can blame on life on lockdown and the ongoing pandemic. 

These are just some of the highlights from the Digital 2021 report published by We Are Social and Hootsuite.

What do people do when they are connected? Apparently they are not just documenting their pandemic lives in social feeds, or commenting on posts of celebrities, families and friends. They are clicking their way through shopping sites and grabbing offers left and right.

As many as 89.3% of Internet users between the ages of 16 and 64 now search online for products or services with an intent to buy. And almost 70% of them actually made a purchase. Good news for e-commerce, but if you are one of these online shoppers, are you saving or simply spending?

One of the advantages of online shopping is supposedly lower prices. E-commerce retailers generally have lower operating costs and pass on their savings to the consumers. It’s also quite easy to compare prices online so the sellers make it a point to price low or reward customers another way, such as with discount coupons for next purchase or free items.

But if you are treating online shopping as window shopping, chances are you are simply spending and not saving. At a time when we all need to tighten our belts, here are some tips to help you hold on to your money so you can park it in savings and investments instead.

#1 Stick to your shopping list.

If you browse with no list on hand, you could easily end up shopping for items you don’t really need like mobile fans you can hang around your neck, or decorative wall stickers, or too many LED flashlights. A list will help you track your spending, and also chase down best prices for these items. If along the internet highway you see something you like, add it to the bottom of the list and come back to it later. If it still looks attractive (and affordable) after you have bought all your needs, then you can indulge.

#2 Always price check before you check out.

One of the things I love about the Internet is you can have several windows open and browse across shops for best prices from the comforts of your home. Sometimes you can get really lucky and discover a site that offers the same item on a buy one get one offer. Or with generous rebates that can stretch your budget for the month. Of course you also need to price in other fees like concierge fee and delivery fee. Make sure you do the math so you come out the shopping winner.

#3 Do not save your credit card details online.

I admit it can be very convenient on check out, but with no credit card details saved, you will always need to take the extra steps of taking out your wallet, getting your credit card and keying in all the information before you make a purchase. These extra steps may be what you need to wake up from a shopping haze and make you realize I can live without this item or two or more. It’s also safer in case your computer has more than one user, or will be sent for repairs. Guard your credit card information as you would real money because in this age of e-commerce, they have the same value and currency.

#4 Turn off sale notifications.

Reminders are welcome but not when it makes you spend for items you can do without. Do you really need to get SMS or emails from every shopping site you have visited? Most sites offer discounts if you subscribe to their newsletters. If you have some planned shopping, then go ahead and sign up, But once done, consider unsubscribing to clear your digital clutter and free yourself from spending temptations. Some sites actually spam you with multiple offers in one day – and even the bravest of shopping souls may lose that battle.

#5 He who fails to plan, plans to fail.

The best shopping is planned shopping. To get the best deals, you need a strategy that does not allow for impulse buys. I know some people who start their holiday shopping in July, at a time when stores replenish inventory and want to offload their last season items. If you shop with no list on hand, or any kind of plan, you are sure to go home with many items you do not need and likely paid more for them too. Always think before you click!

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Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.