How to avoid shopping online when you're working from home and cooped up all day


If you're one of the thousands of employees asked to work remotely amid the coronavirus pandemic, chances are you're spending a lot of time cooped up at home on your laptop. It can be tempting to break up the day with a little bit of online shopping, but now might not be the best time to spend money on things you don't necessarily need.

Of course, if you're out of essentials, load up your online Amazon or Walmart shopping cart. But before ordering clothes, shoes, electronics or other non-essentials, consider these three tips to avoid overspending while you self-isolate at home.

Set a 'browsing time'

Rather than turning to online shopping whenever you feel bored or restless, "give yourself a window of time to browse and shop online a few hours a week," Sara Skirboll, shopping expert for RetailMeNot, tells CNBC Make It.

This will not only help curb unnecessary spending, it'll keep you on task during the workday.

Wait 24 hours before checking out

Online stores make it easy to immediately check out with the click of a button, but before doing so, give yourself 24 hours to think about the purchase. If it's an impulse buy, postponing it gives you time for the impulse to cool off.

Asking yourself a few questions can also help you avoid impulse buys: How will it add value to your life? Is it actually a good deal? Do you really need it?

Two more pro tips: Put a blocker on certain websites where you tend to overspend and remove your credit card information from any sites where it's stored. Both of these strategies will make it a little bit harder for you to actually follow through with the purchase.

Do your research

If you've thought about the purchase and are set on buying it, shop multiple sites and price compare before placing the order. "This is something shoppers should always be doing before making any purchases," says Skirboll. "Check other retailers and make sure you are getting the best deal before clicking the first offer you see."

And remember that in certain industries, prices tend to drop at certain times of year. If you want to save money, sometimes when you shop matters more than where you shop. "An item to consider looking into this month is winter clothing," says Skirboll. "As we bid farewell to the colder temperatures, last season's winter clothing and gear will need to be cleared out for the new inventory."

"At this time, avoid buying items like spring apparel and TVs," she adds. As tempting as it may be to upgrade your television while you're spending more time at home, "the next big discounts will be found during Prime Day in July." 

Don't miss: Financial planner: Here's when you should temporarily stop saving for retirement during the pandemic

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