Stress shopping, or the habit of shopping to reduce stress, may, unfortunately, increase your stress more than ever. The situation may become worse if you have a tight budget and most of your paycheck will be drained if you can’t control your spending. The eagerness of shopping may dissolve quickly, and it might be replaced by guilt and anxiety of making big credit card bills.
5 Signs of Stress Shopping
- Impulsive buying – You don’t take too much time to decide what to buy. You are a believer in the “buy first, worry later” theory. You often buy things that you don’t need or didn’t think about.
- Compulsive shopping – You feel a strong urge to visit the stores when you feel stressed. Normally this shopping habit triggers when you are frustrated or anxious.
- Indulgent buying – You might have a thought that you need to buy an item that you’ve planned to buy for a long time. You rationalize your buying and think defensively about your shopping.
- Shopping alone – You like to shop alone. This is because you don’t have to answer or explain your purchases to anyone.
- Positively, high on emotions – Whenever you experience a rush of positive emotions and excitement, you have a strong urge to shop. Practically, shopping makes you feel good.
You won’t be noticing how much your stress and anxiety are increasing your credit card bills. Due to the COVID – 19 you might be spending too much just to be prepared to live at home during the lockdown. So, control your overspending habits and find smart shopping ways through credit cards.
How stress shopping can affect your personal finances
a. Stress buyers shop in large quantities
During the current coronavirus outbreak, people have started shopping due to stress and panic. People are rushing towards the stores to create a stockpile of shelf-stable foods and health-safety products for the coming days. This is the core reason behind the massive crowds in multiple stores and the growing cart sizes. People are shopping due to pandemic stress and picking up toilet paper or cereal boxes in large quantities. This kind of stress shopping may increase the cost of buying commodities compared to a regular grocery bill.
However, this has reduced to some extent. With time, this habit will eventually decrease, as people will have enough supplies stocked in their homes.
b. Stress shopping increases financial anxieties
Due to stress shopping tendencies, people buy in large quantities and most of the time it was unplanned shopping. People do not estimate how much they are going to spend at a time.
As a result, people may overspend due to stress shopping without thinking about their monthly budget. People sometimes purchase groceries that they normally do not use. But those items may cost hundreds of dollars which practically affects their household budget. The situation gets worse when a significant amount of that grocery goes to waste.
Overspending due to stress shopping may increase unexpected expenses. This may increase your overall credit card debt and affect your savings for an extended period.
Due to such financial situations, you might be facing financial stress, which may cause negative effects on your physical and mental health.
c. Stress shopping boosts undesired purchases
During a stressful shopping period, shoppers do not think about what to buy and what to avoid. They often forget about their actual requirements and purchase undesired goods. They normally try to scoop up whatever they find on the store shelves and pick up in large quantities.
So, it can be said that stress shopping does not encourage thoughtful buying. It only boosts undesired purchases which eventually increase spending. As a result, people may experience a financial crunch for a month or so.
So, what will you do? How will you avoid this?
Here are some tips to avoid the effects of stress shopping with credit cards during high-stress times:
1. Prepare a shopping list
Before hitting the store and buying everything you notice, prepare a list of things that you need to buy in the first place.
People may think shopping using credit cards is an opportunity to earn extra rewards or points. But, this strategy is effective for those credit cards which charge annual fees to their customers. Try to choose a zero-annual-fee card with good reward benefits. Apart from that, you should keep in mind that during such a crisis, you must save as much as possible from your paycheck.
Building a huge credit card bill throughout the month and exceeding your monthly budget won’t be helpful for such purposes.
Here are a few credit cards to consider for reducing overall credit card bills:
|Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card (Issued by Chase) for Amazon Prime members||
|TD Cash Credit Card||
|Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card||
|Capital One® SavorOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card||
2. Buy only what you need
You need to be 100% sure what items you already have in your inventory and make sure you do not buy those things again. You might have enough sanitizer bottles to make it go for the next 3 months, so why should you buy it again? You might have stocked up medicines for your parents in your medicine cabinet or a few packets of coffee before creating the shopping list. So, now you should cut off such things from your shopping list. This is one of the smart shopping techniques to prevent stress shopping with credit cards during this crisis. It’s wise to assess what you have before you add things to your shopping cart.
You must also consider whether or not to buy some of the most in-demand products, such as hand sanitizers or masks. These are the most needed things right now all over the world and have limited stocks in stores near you. So, why don’t you try to make them at home? There are some DIY methods that you may find on the internet and can make such products all by yourself. Homemade gel and sanitizer recipes include things that you can find in your home, for example – isopropyl alcohol, aloe vera gel, and tea tree oil.
It might take a while to make an inventory or prepare sanitizers or masks at home. But, to save money from your credit card shopping, it’s worth it to try such things.
3. Opt for online shopping
If you want to avoid stress shopping with credit cards, you should try shopping online for all types of essential items. Shopping online enables you to compare products and their prices between different sellers and also between different e-commerce websites. There are many differences in the price of sunglasses on eBay and Amazon. So, you must compare and go for the seller which gives you more discount. Some sellers may allow you to pay through installments, mainly for a large number of purchases.
Some credit cards are tailored for a few specific online e-stores. If you get such cards you might get big discounts on all the items, compared to using other credit cards. Don’t forget to maintain a budget, track your spending, prepare a shopping list, and tell others how to stop stress shopping by making online purchases. This way you may save money from credit card bills and can get the best products at reasonable prices.
4. Track your spending and credit card balance
During such a critical situation, people may forget what is stressful shopping and may engage in panic buying. As a result, you may end up increasing your credit card balances. You may incur huge credit card debt at the end of the month and may need to pay interest charges if you do not pay the entire amount in full. Interest payments will be an extra cost that’ll make all of your purchases more expensive, and it may put pressure on your next month’s home budget too.
Before every shopping session, you must determine what’s your ultimate budget for shopping. You should decide if you want to use your credit card or make payments via cash transactions. In both cases, track how much you are spending on a list of items. Calculate your total credit card balance and decide how much you can afford to pay in that billing cycle.
If you notice that your credit card balance is about to jump over your head, stop right there. You should immediately hide your credit cards, and start using cash or debit cards for making payments.
If you want to use credit cards but also want to save money, it will be wise to use a low-interest credit card instead of a high-interest reward card. This is one of the smart shopping ways that you may also suggest to others.
5. Beware of the COVID-19 credit card scam calls
During this economic crisis, due to the Pandemic, few cases of scam phone calls and text messages were also noticed. Fraud and scammers have actively created difficulties for credit cardholders. These imposters are calling in credit card users and introducing themselves as bank executives or health/government officials. They are stealing credit card information and other personal details while spreading generic information about the pandemic. If you receive such calls or messages relating to COVID-19, be alert. Just end the call as soon as possible, without revealing your data. To avoid text messages or emails, avoid clicking on any links.
They may also contact you, on behalf of your credit card company or online stores, and offer you discounts if you sign up for a reward program. Do not entertain such sign-ups. These are nothing but ways to rob you. If you want to avoid stress shopping with credit cards, then you must become aware of such scams too.
In the shadow of this pandemic, it is quite difficult to shop for essentials. Most things you need might get out of stock. It can all get very stressful. But you must not lose hope and should take it as a day-by-day challenge.
Don’t panic and provide information from this content to your family about what stressful shopping is, how stressful shopping can affect us financially, and how to stop stressful shopping habits through credit cards.