If you get carried away with online shopping and impulse buying, using Shopper Stopper will fight the temptation for you, helping you to stop spending.
We all know how easy it is to get a bit carried away with online shopping, especially when it’s just so easy to shop at the click of a button and at any time of the day (or night!).
With the kids tucked up in bed, and nothing much to do on an evening, it can be really easy to start browsing through online stores.
I mean it’s just like window shopping, but without having to get dressed, or contend with children pulling the clothes off manikins! Plus the bargains you can get online are so much better than on the high street.
There are so many more discount online shops, or Facebook pages dedicated to bringing you “deals” on an hourly basis. But they may not be cheaper than you can get on the high street, or elsewhere, and the fact is, you probably don’t need them. However, it can be the impulse to drive us to spend.
Problem is I’ve seen myself do it in the past.
I add an item to my basket, then maybe another as the girls would like it.
Then I see that if I spend over £30 I get free delivery, so I aim for that target. Sure I don’t need to spend another £8, but I’ll make a saving “overall”. I then add more stuff I don’t really need.
All the time my bank account is getting lighter and I’m just buying stuff for the sake of it.
Does this sound familiar?
Buying things through boredom, because you think you’re getting a total bargain?
Online impulse shopping
According to research, over a third of us have admitted that we regret purchases we’ve made on impulse.
It might seem harmless enough if it only happens occasionally but it can really add up if you do it a lot. And as many as one in ten of us are guilty of impulse buys pretty much all of the time.
As a worst case scenario, it can do major harm to your finances and get you in serious debt. Not to mention the stress, buyer’s remorse and guilt it can cause!
You can’t stop yourself buying these things! Even when you decide to return items you may have to pay even more money for the return delivery fee, which still doesn’t help with finances!
You also can’t turn back the clock, but you can look to change what happens next.
You can use a tool to block yourself from accessing certain shopping sites when you’re browsing online, so you don’t make the same mistakes in the future.
The free Shopper Stopper tool is all about making it harder for you to do those rash impulse buys that your budget won’t thank you for!
It’s been set up by the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute (a charity set up by Martin Lewis from Money Saving Expert) and Plexus (a social enterprise that aims to help improve well being through digital tools) because of the strong connection between impulse shopping and mental health.
It doesn’t matter whether your shopping habits are driven by your mental health though; Shopper Stopper is designed for anyone who wants to get back control of their spending.
How does Shopper Stopper work?
The Shopper Stopper tool is a browser extension that is available on Chrome, Firefox and Microsoft Edge.
The idea is simple – you set time windows in which it’s okay to access certain shopping sites. You can do this for any site you want and choose the time frame you want.
Think of it as a way to unofficially dictate the “opening hours” of the sites that tempt you the most!
This is a great option if you know there are times that you’re most likely to fall off the wagon and start shopping. Some people find themselves doing this in the middle of the night if they can’t sleep, for example.
Close online shops
If this is one of your weaknesses, you can tell Shopper Stopper to “close” the sites you know to be most tempting during this time…a lot like a bricks-and-mortar shop!
If you try to access a site at a time you’ve set it to be unavailable, you’ll get a pop-up message reminding you about Shopper Stopper. It will also come up with some ideas for alternative things to do to stop you thinking about shopping.
You can choose what this message says so why not create something really motivational that makes you really determined not to go ahead and start shopping.
Use this as an opportunity to remind yourself what you could do with the money you’ve “saved” such as cutting debt or paying some big bills. Perhaps add your favourite quote, or a hint of what you’ll use the money for instead if you’re saving for something special.
If you truly need to use a site when it’s “closed”, there is a way to get access. You can put forward a friend who can “reopen” it on a temporary basis on your behalf. Just make sure this is someone who will hold you accountable and won’t let you regain access if it’s not a real emergency!
How to get Shopper Stopper
Signing up is easy – just enter your name and email address, choose a password and you’re good to go.
You can then install the extension, which will show in the top right hand corner of your browser.
It’s discreet but you’ll definitely know it’s there when it stops you trying to shop at the banned times!
Getting help with mental health
The Shopper Stopper tool could help anyone.
You may be a shopper who needs to reign in on your spending. But you could also have mental health problems and find that spending online is an outlet.
If you need help or support with mental health please do reach out for support today.
Ricky Willis is the original Skint Dad. A money-making enthusiast, father, and husband to Naomi. He is always looking for unique ways to earn a little extra.