How to keep online shopping in check

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How to keep online shopping in check

If you’re like an increasing number of Canadians, you enjoy the convenience and time savings of online shopping.

But those same features can make it so easy and attractive that online shopping can become a cash siphon — and even an addiction. If you do it often, it’s also easy to lose track of how much you purchase until it’s too late. Here are some tips to help you keep online shopping in check.

Budget for your online habit

  • Set a budget for the categories you usually purchase online.
  • Have a dedicated credit card with a lower credit limit just for online purchases.
  • To really enforce your budget, consider using PayPal as your payment method and deposit your monthly limit into your PayPal account rather than linking it to your credit card.

Track your spending

  • Keep email receipts of your purchases in a separate folder or print them out so you don’t lose track.
  • Confirm that all charges are accurate by comparing receipts against your account statements.
  • Check your accounts frequently to ensure no additional unauthorized charges appear.
  • Consider signing up for notifications through PayPal or your credit card to receive a text message after each purchase of $1 or more. You’ll be able to check that the purchase amount is accurate — and you’ll also be alerted to unauthorized charges immediately. (Many fraudsters will begin with a very small charge of just a dollar or two and if you don’t contest it, they’ll continue with more outlandish spending.)

Keep online spending in check

  • Avoid coupon apps and retail email subscriptions that push deals your way and create a sense of urgency with a relentless stream of hot offers.
  • Delete shopping apps from your mobile devices. They encourage a shopping addiction and makes you want to buy more.
  • If you have a serious addiction to particular sites, consider limiting access with a website blocker tool such as StayFocusd.

As with any habit, online shopping provides an enjoyable temporary rush. But if it gets out of hand, that rush can easily turn into remorse.