One night you are watching television and a commercial comes on for an interesting product that you think you might want. Your phone is nearby so you look up the item just to see what is being said about it. It’s easy to buy things, especially on Amazon where your credit card information is stored. You can buy with just a click. Before you know it, you have ordered the item for yourself and one for your sister because she might like it too.
That’s a scenario that’s been played over and over since the coronavirus first hit the US. It’s so easy to make that cash free purchase. It’s not just young people either. People of all ages have figured out how simple it is to use Amazon, Walmart, Instacart and other sites.
These websites make purchases uncomplicated because the companies want you to buy. It’s a marketing ploy that many of us can’t resist. Somehow we think we need this product and it can make our lives more fulfilled, easy or healthy.
Buying everything from furniture to groceries has never been easier than it is today. Studies have shown that when you pay without using cash, it’s easier to spend money because it doesn’t really seem like money. That doesn’t mean you need to buy every impulse item you see.
This might sound like a dirty word, but do you have a budget? If you do, make sure all purchases get added including those things you purchase online. At the end of the month you can see exactly where your money went. You may be surprised at how much you spend online.
Mint is one app you can put on your cell phone to help with budgeting. It’s user friendly and helps you figure out where your money goes each month.
According to Visual Capitalist, Americans had a spending spike from the end of March through the beginning of April when COVID-19 shut down a lot of businesses. People were using their spare time to stockpile items that were hard to find like hand sanitizer, toilet paper, masks and other supplies.
Restaurants were offering carry out only, so many people were getting food delivered. Clothing, groceries, medication and other home supplies are also being purchased online. Grocery deliveries were off the charts in those first weeks of coronavirus.
Along with the food, groceries and supplies in your cash free purchase, you also get delivery fees, tips and other charges you are not used to paying. These can quickly throw your finances into turmoil.
In these uncertain times, watching how you spend money is more important than ever. See where your money is going. Prioritize what you want versus what you actually need. After a couple months you may see patterns emerging. Contact me if you need help organizing your finances or other aspects of your life.