In our consumer-oriented society, shopping has almost become a hobby in itself. It’s so easy to spend a day at the mall and lose track of what you’ve spent amongst the frenzy and glamour of shopping. Likewise, having the latest gadget or technology is becoming more and more of a necessity in our lives. Amidst this atmosphere, it is therefore no surprise that shopping is a troubling issue for some- those who over-do it learn to dread the credit card bill at the end of the month. The trouble we get into while buying can truly affect our lives in negative ways, creating stress and guilt.
One way to overcome this is to restrict your shopping to online. There are a number of reasons that online shopping can benefit you and create a better relationship between you and consumerism.
Benefits of Online Shopping
- No consumer atmosphere. The fact is, malls (and shops in general) are designed to make you spend as much money as possible. From the moment you enter to the moment you leave, malls assault you with advertising and calls to action, demanding you part from your precious cash. This is why it’s so hard to resist spending extra when we’re at malls, and why it’s so easy to fall into the consumer trap. All around us are people with the latest clothes, tech and products, encouraging us to get the same. By shopping online, you negate this heavy influence and do only your OWN shopping, not everyone else’s. Shop online and keep a clear and level head, rather than being influenced by consumer culture.
- No impulse buys. Although online stores often have very enticing deals, it’s usually a lot less tempting to simply grab them and buy them on the spot. Without the physical item in front of you, it’s harder to trigger that “need” factor that often wins in regular shops. Furthermore, rather than simply taking it up to the counter and putting it through, largely forgetting about the price, you need to put it through a length check-out and payment process, which forces you to look at over and over and decide whether you really need it.
- No pressure. Sales assistants will often push you into a purchase- in fact it’s their job. Of course they need to earn money, but it can come at the price of you ending up with something that isn’t exactly what you’d wanted. Shopping online removes this added pressure. Without sales assistants around tapping their foot and leading you on towards the purchase, or convincing you to add in unnecessary extras, you’re free to make up your own mind. When purchasing electronics or appliances, another advantage of shopping online is that you can read a variety of unbiased review websites, rather than being forced to believe whatever the sales assistant tells you.
- No surprise bills. When you shop online, you have to know how much you’re spending because you’re constantly reminded as you go through checkout. This means you can keep better track of your spending, rather than putting it at the back of your mind until the end of the day.
However, remember to stay safe when shopping online. Only use secure, reputable sites, and never give out your credit card info if you’re in doubt.
When done correctly, online shopping can really help your relationship with consumer culture. By separating you from the ads and imperatives, you can shop with a clear head and only buy what you need. Take the pressure out of shopping, and just go at your own pace. Eliminate all the voices telling you what you “want”, and only buy the things that you really need.