When I started writing this column, I wanted to share the unexpected benefits of reducing my internet shopping habit.

At the beginning of the year I set myself the personal challenge of reducing my purchases from several times a week (what a shame) to a few times a month. As time went by, I realized that I had to be aware of fewer deliveries and I had more money in my account at the end of the month.

Until COVID-19 arrived. Now reducing online shopping is more than just a fad or a New Year’s resolution. For millions of people, reducing expenses is a pressing need.

If you have to cut expenses on secondary things, here are some tips to change your financial habits without feeling deprived of things.

The positive side

Negative news abounds, which frighten and generate alarm and sadness. But it helps to know that something positive can be drawn, according to Denise Downey, financial adviser and owner of Spokane, Washington-based Financial Trex LLC.

Depending on where you live, you may be forced to suspend some expenses, on travel, sporting events, haircuts, outings, and other things. This involuntary savings can help you make changes that you would not have made on your own.

“Those decisions come alone right now,” says Downey. “It doesn’t make sense to ask ‘Am I going on vacation this year?’ That decision has already been made. ”

“If you want to get a silver lining to this, it’s that it helps people cut expenses by eliminating decision making.”

It is all a matter of perspective. If you can, focus on the benefits. For example, enjoy seeing that you have more money in your account at the end of the month and that the balance on your credit card is no longer rising.

It is true that so many clothes, cosmetics or the new scented candles do not reach me anymore. But just as I enjoy getting to something, I love the idea of ​​not spending as much.

Take back control

Obviously, buying fewer things online will save money, as long as you don’t incur other expensive activities. The same goes for other types of expenses. Reducing expenses saves money.

And it can give you the feeling that you’re “back in control” of your life, according to Drew Harris, financial planner for Charlotte, North Carolina-based Greenway Wealth Advisors LLC.

“It is a good way to take control, assuming responsibility for expenses,” he said.

Reducing expenses implies that certain things are sacrificed. But one frees oneself from the stress that spending on things that aren’t really needed can cause, and the guilt that those purchases generate.

You end up feeling better. Psychologist L. Kevin Champan says that “you can feel that you are in control of your life if you discard things that are difficult to pay.”

Basically, you feel like you’ve accomplished a goal and you like the changes you’re making.

New habits

Don’t be discouraged. Reducing expenses is not going to last a lifetime.

But you may not feel the need to spend again like before the pandemic. And that is fine.

Chapman says that many people will get used to spending less, especially if they find other less expensive activities that replace online shopping.

Try to incorporate new habits instead of old ones. Harris suggests going for a walk, talking to family and friends, or finding a cheap activity that you enjoy.

Another example? Downey says her children always had extra activities when they left school. Expensive activities. But since the family locked themselves in the house, she notes that everyone feels happy and entertained, even if they don’t have so many things to do. This leads her to think that she may not enroll her children in so many activities when life returns to normal.

When the pandemic passes, you will surely have more money than normal. And you can give yourself some luxury, paying in cash.

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