You don’t need us to tell you this, but 2020 was a hard year for most. But so many years can have stressful (or euphoric) ups and downs. Maybe you found out you scored that big promotion or maybe you’re trying to forget about that argument you had with a friend or family member. All of this can result in a lot of retail therapy (whether for yourself or in the form of gifts for loved ones). Luckily, there are things you can do to reduce your stress and cut down on your emotional spending—so close that Amazon Prime window and follow these five tips to help you get through it all unscathed.
1. Spare your inbox the sales
Do you really need to know about that flash sale from Old Navy for the 20th time? Probably not. Do yourself a favor and unsubscribe from the stores you know you’re likely to shop from. If you’re prone to online shopping when you’re stressed out (or bored in quarantine), not getting email alerts for every sale might save you from the impromptu shopping spree. Just because you miss a sale doesn’t mean that you’ll actually miss it—and your wallet won’t either.
2. Forget your passwords (on purpose, this time)
Credit card information already stored on your laptop or cell phone? It can be a little too easy to make a purchase with your credit card information literally at your fingertips. By removing the saved information from your computer, it’ll be one more step you have to go through to make that purchase—and who wants to get up to dig through your wallet for your credit card when there are endless movies and TV shows to watch or stream?! (Not to mention those new hobbies you’ve picked up while staying home all year to enjoy.) By creating an extra step, you’ll be less likely to press “buy” on a whim.
3. Check your list, twice
Sometimes a little time can help you make a better decision, particularly if you’re on an emotional shopping spree. Instead of buying something right when you see it, wait a few days to see if you think it’s actually a good idea or not. If it’s in your budget, it’ll likely still be there a few days later. If it’s not, it will give you time to decide it’s not in the budget, and wait ‘til your next paycheck or set up a savings goal. You’ll thank yourself for thinking it through.
4. Don’t be afraid to get creative
After a year of quarantine, a pandemic, and working from home, it can be easy to justify a few extra purchases for yourself or loved ones, but just because you deserve the world doesn’t mean you need to buy it. If you’re approaching the edge of your budget or spending cap, consider choosing a lower-priced gift, DIY-ing the artwork for your walls, or opting out of plans that include spending a lot of money. Particularly during this year when finances are tight for many, your friends and family will understand if you’re on a tighter budget.
5. Close those tabs and step away
Shopping can be an easy outlet for stress because it’s something you can control in an instant. But understanding that you’re quick to press “buy” when feeling high or low also means you’re capable of finding another outlet. Consider something else you can do to resist the urge when temptation strikes, like throwing yourself an at-home spa day, reading the next chapter of a book, or testing out the perfect cookie recipe.