Be Mindful of the Subtle Damage Online Shopping Can Do To You Finances

the downside of online shopping

Just this morning as I sipped my coffee on the couch after an hour of work in my home office, I quickly remembered that our vacuum bag is almost full and I need some more bags. I logged into my Amazon account and ordered a few to be here in two days with my Prime shipping – I have twins who are 2 that are home with me all day while their big sisters are at school and anytime I can avoid shopping with them is a good time. After a few minutes, I’d also loaded up my cart at Sephora with makeup to restock some that’s running low. I checked out and had all this accomplished before I’d even taken three sips of coffee.

I did it all sans make up, my wet hair up in a bun until it’s time to dry it and in my fancy red bath robe my husband loves so much. I did not have to fight traffic. I did not have to speak to strangers. I did not have to put on pants. It was a winning situation all the way around. I’ll online shop all day long, and it makes me happier than actually going out in public to shop. It’s convenient and things are here in a matter of two or three days, so it works well. However, it turns out that there is a big downside to online shopping for many, and we thought we’d see if online shopping is really worth it or if it’s costing you more than you might imagine.

Spending More Money

This might sound a little bit like a strange situation, but it’s true. The internet has these things called cookies. I don’t understand them, and I won’t pretend to understand them. However, the internet always seems to know that I’m interested in a pair of Tory Burch flats or YSL lipstick, and even when I’m on a website about dogs, I see Nordstrom showing me the flats I looked at a week ago in passing or the lipstick I’ve been eyeing. Now I cannot forget those items and I’m more tempted to purchase them.

The computer can also monitor your spending habits – as do online stores. If they assume that based on your past purchases that you have more expensive taste and make expensive purchases, the internet finds a way to steer you toward more expensive items rather than the same item that might be on sale if you shop in person. It’s a tricky process, but you need to comparison shop as far as prices are concerned when you are shopping online. Otherwise, your internet cookies might trick you into paying more.

More Chance of Keeping Items You Don’t Like

I recently ordered a dress from Nordstrom. Had I tried it on in real life, I never would have purchased it because it’s just too short. However, I tried it on when it arrived at my doorstep and I was disappointed in how short it was. I said I’d return it (Nordstrom does offer free shipping and returns all the time, after all) and just get a refund since I’m never wearing it. However, I didn’t. It’s been months and it’s still in my closet because I was too busy and too lazy to get a new package for it, put the label on, fill out the return information and then send it back. It’s costly, and it’s a huge downside to online shopping.

I’ve learned that unless I stick to brands and items I buy frequently and know without a doubt it will fit every single time, shopping online costs me far more because I’m more apt to leave something in my closet ‘to return’ and end up keeping it because I forget all the way across. That’s where this downside comes into play.

Free Shipping Options

Who doesn’t love free shipping when it comes to online shopping? It’s why we do it, right? I love when I can get on the computer and buy things and have them shipped to me free of charge, and it makes shopping that much more amazing. However, it’s not always the least expensive option. The downside to online shopping is that you often have to spend a minimum dollar amount to receive free shipping. If you are spending that, you are getting a good deal.

Let’s take Old Navy for instance; free shipping on all purchases over $50 is their standard offer. If you’re spending more than that, you can safely assume there is no downside to that particular shopping experience. However, if you are only spending $30, and then you find yourself spending an additional $20 so you can get that free $7 shipping, you’re actually spending more. That’s the downside; you’re spending more to shop online than you might in the store.

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