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Aussies addicted to online shopping: 8 tips to save

Mobile use, social media and a never-ending sales season means Australians like Isabel Stilin are finding it harder to escape the sales. Images: Isabel Stilin, Getty

The Iconic, ASOS, Petal and Pup, Showpo: there are a lot of online stores, and 26-year-old Isabella Stillin browses them everyday.

The social media manager might not buy something every day, but as a young woman who works in social media, and lives for social media outside of her job, it can be impossible to resist.

“There are so many online shopping sites at our fingertips now it is hard to stay away.”

Isabella’s story isn’t unusual.

According to PayPal data released today, Australia is a country of bargain hunters, with 68 per cent of us constantly on the hunt for a sale.

And nearly one in five Australians admit to suffering from sales-FOMO, explaining that they feel that if they don’t buy an item when they see it on sale then they feel like they’re actually losing money.

“What we're finding is that in the last three months, over half of Australians have been impulse buying,” PayPal shopping expert Danielle Grant told Yahoo Finance.

More than one in four Australians have bought something online on sale but later regretted it, the PayPal data shows.

In the last three months, the average shopper spent $108 on impulse purchases and bought 2.7 items. But for younger shoppers, that number is even higher.

Grant puts it down to mobile shopping, and just how easy it is to flip out a phone and begin scrolling through social media or websites.

It’s something Isabella has experienced. In the last month, she estimates she’s spent $500 on shopping. She waits for the sales, pointing out that most big shopping sites will send out daily newsletters about the different sales going on.

They draw her in immediately.

“I have definitely gone overboard and regretted it before but I think everyone is guilty of doing that every now and then,” she admitted.

“My problem is that sometimes I forget to return the item so it ends up at the back of my cupboard which is a waste.”

Asked whether she feels sales FOMO, Isabella said the feeling resonates strongly.

“But, I have just moved out so I am definitely trying harder to be more vigilant about how often I shop the sales.”

This is the message Grant wants to get across: “Be really conscious about how you’re shopping.”

Tips to curb your spending

1. Exercise discipline

Grant suggests shoppers stick to a plan and a set budget.

It’s boring, but it works.

2. Sign up to your favourite brands’ newsletters

Signing up to your favourite brands can also be a helpful step and means you only buy products when they’re on sale.

3. Or not

But if you know that sales draw you in even when you don’t need anything, this might not be appropriate.

According to consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow, if you’re already addicted, emails are only going to tempt you more.

“Delete all shopping apps on your phone,” the psychologist recommended in a piece for Medium.

“Remove your saved passwords and credit cards, so you have to actually get up and get your credit card if you want to buy something. Clear your cookies and cache regularly to avoid the retargeting advertisements that follow you around the web, trying to get you to buy something you looked at.”

4. Check the store’s refund policy

It’s critical that shoppers check the store’s refund policy, Grant added. Outfits often look, fit or feel different to how they appear online - you don’t want to be caught out.

5. Use price comparison tools

Comparison tools like Google Shopping and Price Grabber can also help compare prices to make sure you’re paying no more than you need to, while apps like Shopback and Cash Rewards will actually return a certain portion of the purchase to you.

But it all comes back to the first point.

6. Remind yourself of what you already have

If you have a shopping addiction, there’s a decent chance you have lots of clothes you’ve never warn. Take a look at your wardrobe - there might be some items in there that you forgot about that you love and others that should be returned to the store or passed on to someone else.

7. Hit pause

If you’ve found something you think you need to have, go for a 30 minute walk or wait until the next day to hit “complete checkout”. If you’ve forgotten about it, or care about it less by the next day, this is a sign you were about to make an impulse purchase, and you don’t need the item.

8. Budget, budget, budget

“Make a plan, and make sure you’re shopping within your means,” Grant concluded.

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