I Stopped Online Shopping and Here’s What I Learned

Young girl have problems with her credit card till shopping online.
praetorianphoto / Getty Images

If you have an online shopping habit, you’re not alone. According to a list of top e-commerce statistics from Forbes, 79% of shoppers shop online at least once per month. That’s likely because it’s so convenient; a whopping 91% of people make purchases from their smartphone. Not only that, but there’s a constant barrage of targeted ads to tempt shoppers to make purchases on social media platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, with 96.9 million people doing so. In fact, 40% of people make a social media purchase due to social media influence — also known as a desire to “keep up with the Joneses.”

Due to certain factors, such as convenience and temptation, kicking the habit of buying things online isn’t easy. However, it can be done. Here’s a firsthand account from someone who stopped online shopping and what she learned by doing so.

Why Did You Shop Online and How Often?

“In the era of online shopping, I found myself seduced by the convenience and broad array of products available,” said Iesha Mulla, parenting expert and co-founder of Parental Questions. “On average, I was shopping online multiple times a week, often not out of necessity but to fill spare time or indulge in retail therapy. Looking for unique items, comparing prices across different platforms and the rush of finding a good deal were among my primary motivations.

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“Yet, over time, I realized the downsides. The constant bombardment of advertisements, impulse buying and accumulating unnecessary items took a toll on my mental peace and financial stability. This realization was a turning point, prompting me to reevaluate and ultimately curb my online shopping habits.”

What Caused You To Stop Shopping Online?

Mulla said she stopped shopping online due to a combination of factors. “The main one was the realization of a spiraling financial situation,” she shared. “I was spending beyond my means, often on items that were not essential. Also, the thrill of shopping began to fade as I became aware of how manipulative some marketing techniques can be.”

“The environmental impact of online shopping was another reason,” she added. “The carbon footprint of deliveries, the wastage in packaging and the repercussions of returned items all started weighing on my conscience. I found that shopping online was eating up a significant chunk of my time — time that could be better spent on productive or fulfilling activities. The decision to stop wasn’t easy, but in retrospect, it has been a beneficial one.”

How Difficult Was It To Break the Habit of Shopping Online?

Mulla admitted that breaking her online shopping habit was no simple task.

“It felt synonymous to battling an addiction,” she said. “The urge to browse and shop, particularly during free time or when sales were on, was powerful. I stumbled, succumbing to these urges more times than I’d like to admit. Yet, each slip-up served as a stark reminder of why I wanted to quit in the first place. Over time, I learned to replace my shopping habit with more constructive activities, like reading or outdoor walks, which helped in diverting my attention. I won’t deny that it’s still a struggle, especially when everyone around me continues to indulge in online shopping, but I’m learning to stay steady and am proud of the progress I’ve made.”

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What Valuable Lessons Have You Learned?

“Since putting an end to my online shopping habits, I’ve noticed a significant positive impact on my finances,” said Mulla. “The money previously spent on impulse buys or ‘good deals’ now accumulates into considerable savings. I’ve learned the value of mindful spending, distinguishing between ‘wants’ and ‘needs.’ No longer being swayed by swift promotional emails or targeted ads, I make more thoughtful and essential purchases. This change has also reduced clutter in my living space, leading to a more organized life.

“The most unexpected lesson is the amount of free time I now have, which I’ve started investing in hobbies and personal growth. Cutting off online shopping was initially challenging, but the benefits have been well worth the effort.”

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