Shopping online can be as easy as click, click, buy. But if you don’t watch out, it could become a habit that wrecks your finances.
The combination of anonymity, the convenience of not having to go to a store and the variety of products available can fuel online shopping addiction, according to April Lane Benson, a psychologist specializing in compulsive buying disorder.
“All of these are triggers for people who are compulsive buyers,” said Benson, who is also the author of the book “To Buy or Not to Buy: Why We Overshop and How to Stop.”
Those tendencies can be hard to fight as online retailers sweeten deals through events such as Amazon Prime Day and other flash sales.
And psychologists and financial experts alike say they have seen an uptick in patients and clients who struggle with these habits.
Financial advisor Winnie Sun, founder of Sun Group Wealth Partners, said she sees bad online shopping habits forming especially among her millennial and Gen X clients.
“The default is, ‘I’ll just Amazon it,’” Sun said. “They don’t really take the time to shop or compare price.
"For them, it’s all about immediate gratification," she added.
Older individuals are also fueling their online shopping habits via mobile phones, tablets and computers, said Terrence Shulman, founder and director of The Shulman Center for Compulsive Theft, Spending and Hoarding.
And both women and men fall prey to these tendencies, Shulman said.