According to reports (here, here and many others), Singaporeans are spending time and money on online shopping more than previous years. And those figures are just going to increase as online shopping gets even more prevalent.
Most millennials who are tech-savvy and heavily influenced by social media are guilty of online shopping, sometimes beyond their abilities and limits.
Online shopping is too easy and that’s scary
Spending money used to be a lot harder in the past. We had to actually get out of our house and buy from physical shops. But online shopping came along and made spending a whole lot easier. Of course, the “credit” does not go entirely to the online shopping platforms – the credit companies get a piece of that too (
no pun intended).
Because it’s getting increasingly easy for us to buy things, it’s frightening. It’s convenient but at the same time, scary how quickly our money can slip through our fingers.
The Bogleheads (an investment club set up by the followers of John “Jack” Bogle, founder of the largest mutual fund in the world, Vanguard Group) mentioned in The Bogleheads’ Guide to Investing that most of us earn more than a million dollars in our lifetime, and the credit companies definitely want a piece of that.
Spend less time, save more money
It is tough to resist the amount of beautiful (and maybe quite useless, actually) things we can buy on the online shopping platforms. What’s worse is online shopping platforms are making it easier and quicker for us to check out their deals (
no pun intended again).
The more time we spend on these online shopping platforms, the more we will find ourselves in a position where we are exposed to deals, coupons, and offers. Be it via email or social media marketing, these “deals” are just hooks to get you to buy more items and spend more money.
It can be as simple as unsubscribing to the promotional emails from these sites. Spend less time browsing the huge array of items and you will save more money – and time. Use the extra time to learn about how you can invest in your future instead.
Invest for future
We should live in the present and enjoy every moment of it. But that’s not to say we can’t think of our future. Living in the present but not forgetting to plan for the future is an important skill (and necessity) most of us should have, especially the millennials.
For every three millennials, about two think that they won’t have enough money to retire, according to Well Fargo’s survey. That figure is taken from the US but we must understand that Singapore’s standard of living is actually the highest in the world, according to a 2016 study.
That means we should be more worried than the millennials living in the US. Nevertheless, the comforting fact of the matter is millennials have time in their hands. They have decades of time in the workforce to save and invest for their future and financial goals.
One thing is for sure, though, it never pays to be wary and start early. The power of compounding works best with consistency and time.
The next time you feel the urge to shop online, ask yourself if you really need anything. It might be a very innocent browse through Qoo10, Taobao, ASOS or Lazada among many other online shopping websites, but you might end up buying things you don’t use or need anyway.
Instead of spending hours every week on online shopping websites, one can actually consider learning more about personal finance and investments. Instead of spending money, one should think of how to create extra sources of income. That is how we grow wealth and achieve our financial goals.