It is hard to believe the month of August is almost over.
The online shopping ban was very eye opening for me.
I have always prided myself on not being a “shopper.”
I am not into clothes or shoes or makeup or any of that–so in my head I did not “shop.”
But I was SOOOO wrong.
The ease of buying items online had crept slowly into all parts of my spending. Groceries, toiletries, school supplies, clothes, etc.
Here is what I learned after this month of no online shopping:
I browsed A LOT
I never realized how often I opened different apps just to browse for items I did not need.
Walmart, Target, Amazon. I thought it was pretty harmless because I wouldn’t BUY the items….I would just save them for later or add a little “favorites” heart to them.
But I realized this month that each of those browsing sessions created desire for those items and took up mind time.
Extremely intelligent minds exist behind all these apps, and they know how to appeal to me with items I have looked at before.
And each time I would open these apps I was not only reminded of what I left behind, but I would see something I didn’t know I needed.
The “add-on” effect was wasting lots of money
Since I do not have Amazon Prime or Walmart+, I always had to hit a certain price threshold to get free shipping on these sites.
So a $5 shower curtain would quickly become a $35 purchase.
How? The “add-on” effect.
Because of all my previous browsing and “save to cart,” it was always so easy to add a few items to reach the shipping threshold.
I just add-on a few items, hit $35, and my items ship to me free! So instead of walking into a store and buying a $5 shower curtain, I would receive a confirmation email telling me I spent $35.
I always felt a bit of guilt, even though the add ons were usually food items or toiletries we would use.
So this month, without the online shopping, I did not have that added on wasteful spending.
Sure, at the grocery store I always throw in a few items that aren’t on my list. But nothing like $30+ of stuff I don’t need.
I am financially tougher without online spending
It is just a fact that I do not feel the burn of online spending like I do at the store.
Not only do I have to carry the extra items throughout the store, but I have to physically scan them, and pull out my card to pay for them.
There are more moments in a physical transaction to rethink my purchase. Online it is way too easy to add to cart and checkout.
This month without online shopping made me so much tougher. I used up what we had. I got creative with food again.
I paused more, and in those pauses I put unnecessary items back and consumed intentionally.
More Zero Dollar Days
Since I was not buying or browsing online, I ended up working more days.
It sounds silly that these would be correlated, but it’s true. I had more free time in my days off and was more productive with it.
So when new substitute jobs popped up, I had the energy and desire to work more.
And then a funny thing happened. Since I was working more and was not at home browsing, we had more zero dollar days.
Instead of spending money I was making money. A happy coincidence.
I am content
Online shopping and browsing breeds discontentment. You are constantly bombarded with images of things you do not have.
When I removed the online shopping and browsing temptation, I felt very happy and content.
I was suddenly grateful for all the things I DID have. I was no longer looking out at the world with the “I wish I had” lens. I was looking in with the “look at what I already have” lens.
No more tracking and less emails
I was so sick of all the emails and tracking numbers.
Delayed orders, boxes at my door, random delivery drivers at my door. SO many emails.
I did not realize how much all of this annoyed me (and Kevin), until it was removed.
My daughter wanted some rainbow rubberbands for these bracelets she loves to make.
In the past I would have easily bought them on Target.com and had them shipped to the store for pick up.
Instead, we went to the store as a family and browsed the craft aisles looking for these rubberbands.
When we finally found them we cheered and happily carried them to checkout so she could use her money to buy them.
It was a whole experience instead of a quick click.
High Impact Online purchases feel good
I did made 2 online purchases this month. They were time sensitive, so I made an exception.
One was coffee for my mom’s birthday. I had always wanted to send her some from 1 of our favorite AZ coffee shops, so it felt good to finally do it.
The 2nd purchase was contact lenses. I planned to delay the purchase until September, but I realized my prescription would expire and then I would have to spend $100 on a new eye exam.
So I went ahead and bought those online to avoid paying for a new eye exam.
Since these purchases were high impact and time sensitive, they were perfect candidates for online shopping.
That is what I want from my online purchases going forward–intentionality.
There are definitely times where online shopping saves time, money, driving, etc.
Also, there are several items we love that we can only find online (coconut wraps and my son’s favorite beef sticks). I will continue buying some of these items online in the future.
But this month taught me how much time and money I wasted online in the past.
It taught me how much mind time I spent desiring random items.
Going forward, I would like my online purchases to be batched and intentional. Perhaps once a month for hard to find items.
My goal with these challenges is learning more about my habits and getting better.
This month I met my goal. I have less boxes at my door and more money in my pocket.
But more importantly I have less desire for stuff I don’t need.