When it comes to money, the internet is a great tool in lots of ways; you can use it to tax your car, pay your energy bills, schedule a weekly groceries shop and buy tickets for a concert. However, this easy way to pay comes with a few downsides too. Number one is that, sometimes, it’s just too easy to spend money when you really should be saving it. It’s so simple to click the ‘pay now’ button without really thinking things through, and then feel that uncomfortable jolt of guilt and anxiety a few hours or days later when you check your bank statement. We’ve all been there, we’ve all done it (and then wished we hadn’t).
So, how can you become the ultimate responsible online spender?
Schedule Your Screen Time
The first step is to schedule online spending time.
Most of us schedule our general screentime depending on working hours, sleep schedules and other commitments, but setting specific slots of time aside when you ‘allow’ yourself to spend money online adds a whole new level to the game.
The internet is perfectly placed to be a perpetual advertisement, and the more we use our web browsers like Google or apps like Instagram, the better tailored that advert becomes to our personal interests. This makes it almost impossible to ignore as it seems to know exactly what we want.
In turn, this can lead to spontaneous spending and impulsive purchases. By setting aside certain times each day to complete online shopping, make entertainment purchases, or even look for new insurance, some of the urgency is taken out of the activity and therefore you can make clearer decisions.
It also means that online spending doesn’t interfere with the rest of your life.
Set a Budget – and Stick to It!
Even without step one in play, it’s important to set a clear budget for yourself before spending any money online. Whether you’re shopping for something specific, completing microtransactions within a game, or purchasing a new app, it’s good to know in advance how much you’re prepared to pay before stopping.
This takes away any element of shock or surprise when you later see the transaction on your bank statement or within your money management app.
If you are already a convert to the envelope system, then you’ll know how much difference it can make to allocate a firm budget beforehand rather than making a purchase with no figure in mind. The most important point here is that, once the budget is decided on, you must stick to it, no matter how great the sales are this weekend or how much you want to book tickets for an event next year.
Trust in the process and you won’t have to lose out on anything.
Use Trusted Payment Methods
Speaking of trust, it’s a good idea to inform yourself in advance about which online payment methods are the most trustworthy and reliable.
It’s no good finding an unbelievably cheap internet-only bargain if the site selling it turns out not to be legitimate. Trusted review sites such as VegasSlotsOnline work hard to provide their customers with all the most secure deposit methods currently in use at online casinos, but their advice can be applied to just about any situation that involves an internet transaction.
That includes buying a new pair of fancy running shoes, ordering lawn furniture for the yard, and putting a deposit on a summer holiday – all of these examples necessitate paying online.
Well-known methods such as charging the amount to your credit card or using an e-wallet are covered in VegasSlotsOnline’s suggestions, alongside less obvious but legitimate options like e-checks and bank transfers.
Go for recognized, trustworthy brand names like PayPal or Skrill, and set up extra security through your bank card with Verified by Visa or Mastercard SecureCode.
Learn to Utilise Vouchers, Promos and Offers
Although it is easy to get sucked in by the insistence of ‘sales language’ online, you can also use exclusive internet-only deals to your advantage too.
Companies will often employ this tactic to attract new customers to their website and to save money on the overheads necessary to make a sale in a physical store. So, why not take them up on it? If it’s a good deal and will save you money, there’s no issue with accepting a great offer or promotion.
You may even acquire a voucher code after checkout to use on your next purchase with the same brand.