how to buy less stuff on amazon
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Shopping

7 Ways To Avoid Buying Everything You See On Amazon

Shopping can be a source of instant gratification for many people, but it also puts a dent in your wallet if you aren't thoughtful with your purchases.

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7 Ways To Avoid Buying Everything You See On Amazon
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Though I don't do a ton of online shopping, when I do I find it very easy to get sucked into a vortex of "stumbling upon items I never knew I needed." This can include everything from clothes, to gifts, to books, to basically whatever else shows up in my "recommended purchases" column. Shopping can be a source of instant gratification for many people, but it also puts a dent in your wallet if you aren't thoughtful with your purchases. With that in mind, here are some ways to avoid making spontaneous, probably unnecessary purchases on Amazon when you're browsing at 2 am right before going to bed.

1. If you really love an item, put it in your cart and come back to it a day later

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This is a classic "Mom" tidbit of advice: "Honey, why don't you sleep on it and tell me if you still want that toy car tomorrow, and I'll look into it." Seriously though, I've managed to talk myself out of a few almost-purchases just by not buying the item in the heat of desperately wanting it. In the light of day, suddenly those adorable ballet flats don't seem as crucial to your future happiness.

2. Resolve to only pay for things with Amazon gift card money

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This is a principle I generally try to stick to, though of course I don't have such a generous influx of Amazon gift cards that this is really possible. However, paying for things only with gift card money is a good way to motivate yourself to look for the best deals on whatever item you're looking at. It's also a good way to streamline your purchases and make the most of those $25 birthday gift cards that seemed boring when you were younger, but now fill you with excitement about future purchases.

3. Resist the urge to go on Amazon when you're feeling the itch to shop

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It may sound simple, but one of the best ways to temper your online shopping is to just not go on Amazon as much. That way, you won't stumble across as many "can't-miss deals" and won't feel a sudden urge to empty your wallet just to add yet another pair of cute leggings to your closet. For those die-hard online shoppers, this advice might seem like quitting shopping cold turkey, but consciously avoiding the website that sucks away your money might be the easiest way to spend less money on Amazon.

4. If you're looking at clothes, see if the item you're looking at fills an actual need in your wardrobe

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When I browse online for clothes, I try to make sure that I'm only actively looking at items that I really need. For example, if I'm looking to replace my beat-up ankle boots with a new pair, I'll do my best to only browse the shoe section. It can be tempting, especially on websites other than Amazon, to casually migrate into the "tops/blouses" section and stray away from your original shopping intention. Sticking to your guns about what you're actually looking for could help remove that temptation to buy another cute top "just because."

5. Make sure you don't already own a similar version of whatever item you have in your cart

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This more happens when I shop in person than online, but it's important to recognize that a big reason why you may be attracted to a specific item online might be because you already own something just like it. Then, suddenly you end up with two coral-colored short-sleeved shirts, which could have been avoided if you had just done a quick sweep of your closet before clicking the "complete purchase" button.

6. Ask yourself if this item will still be popular or in-stock in three months

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Of course, it's impossible to predict the exact online lifetime of anything, especially an article of clothing. However, stopping to ask yourself this question could help prevent you from buying stuff that's all the rage "right now," but probably won't be popular in a month. There's nothing wrong with buying something that isn't that popular with other people, but if you're looking into a particular style of jeans that you see all around you right now, chances are high that you're just buying them at least partly because you keep seeing them everywhere.

7. Unsubscribe from as many store emails as you can

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This can apply to Amazon purchases as well as purchases from other retailers, but those darn store email chains that give you 10% off your purchase just for signing up can really zap you of your time later on. Even if I love a certain store, I generally shop infrequently enough that my shopping schedule won't be dictated by the emails they send me. Still, getting off of those promotional email chains could have the exact "out of sight, out of mind" effect that you need to curtail your online shopping habit.

Shopping can be a fun activity, but it can also be a useful exercise in mental restraint. Of course, everyone can fall prey to that "have to have it" purchase at any time. But if you are a little more strategic with when and how you shop on Amazon, you're a lot less likely to groan when you check your next credit card statement.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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