How to Prevent a Drunken Online Shopping Spree


It used to be that drinking and shopping took some effort on your part, since you had to get yourself to a brick-and-mortar store in order to actually make purchases. It wasn't really a situation many of us would find ourselves in. But online shopping has made it possible to shop while buzzed.

Browsing Amazon or eBay after a night of drinking may not seem like a terrible habit to indulge in. You're safe at home, after all, and you can crash in bed after your wine and shopping binge — and there's always that hilarious moment several days later when your purchase finally arrives and you get to open the mystery box. But drunken shopping sprees aren't cheap. According to a survey, the average amount of money that drunk shoppers spend in a single evening of tipsy debauchery is $206.

While having a funny souvenir of a memorable night may be a justifiable use of your money the first time it happens, making a habit of drunk shopping can throw a major wrench in your financial plans. Here are six ways you can keep your wallet safe from your worst shopping impulses when you are tempted to drink and shop.

1. Carry cash

While most drunken shopping sprees are now happening online, in-person tipsy shopping is still a problem. This tends to be more of an issue when your drinking venue is close to a shopping destination — like when you are on vacation and can drift from the bar to the cute boutiques without having to set foot in a vehicle. There are also plenty of opportunities for you to spend your money in person after a few drinks have loosened your purse strings, including "Sip and Shop" events set up specifically to encourage that behavior.

The easiest way to thwart yourself from making unnecessary purchases is by carrying cash for the evening. That helps you to reduce the potential damage you can do to your finances by limiting the amount of money you can spend in one evening. (See also: Is an All-Cash Diet Right for You?)

2. Post sticky notes everywhere

Believe it or not, sticky notes can be a form of time travel. Your past self can use the sticky note to remind your future drunk self why you don't want to waste your money on more iTunes purchases or cute shoes. If you know you're likely to shop under the influence, write out notes to yourself about why drunk shopping is a bad idea. Go ahead and list the reasons why you are going to regret your purchase in the morning.

While a single sticky note can get this across, putting additional notes so that your computer screen is covered with them will really force your future self to remember that your past self is serious about this issue.

3. Turn off one-click ordering

One-click ordering means you can go from being unaware an item exists, to coveting it, to buying it, all within seconds. Add some beer to that equation, and it's even more likely that you'll be scratching your head over a delivery in a few days while lamenting your lighter wallet.

Removing your credit card information from your favorite retail sites can help to curb your drunken shopping habits, since you will have to get up to get your wallet and enter in your credit card information in order to complete your sale. The work necessary to enter in your information will either sober you up enough to make you question your need for cardboard cutouts of the Golden Girls, or will be more typing than you can handle in your inebriated state.

This is also a good reason to remove your account information on any shopping sites, so that you are forced to type in your mailing address every time you shop. That can be enough of a barrier to keep you from recklessly drinking and buying. (See also: 39 Mindless Ways You're Wasting Money in Every Part of Your Life)

4. Block retail sites when you know you will be drinking

There are many apps and browser extensions out there to help force you to be productive when you are feeling the siren's song of your Twitter or Facebook feed. But these tools can also help you to manage your drunk purchasing behavior. Simply set your app or browser extension to block you out of shopping sites anytime you are likely to be drinking — such as on Friday evenings or after your weekly happy hour with friends.

5. Remove shopping apps from your phone

It's entirely possible to spend your rent money without leaving your house or even booting up your laptop, which means you will need to cut off this additional source of temptation: shopping apps on your phone. Not only do these apps make it far too easy to shop after you've had a few, they don't do you any favors while you are sober, either. These apps allow you to spend money without feeling any pain of payment, which makes them especially dangerous when you are drunk.

Remove those apps from your phone, and consider replacing them with apps that will also be fun to surf without spurring you to spend money. For instance, the Pinterest app can give you the feeling of virtual window shopping.

6. Be prepared to make returns

While opening up the mystery box you receive after a night of drunk shopping can be exciting, it's a much better policy to simply return your purchases without opening them. Go ahead and send it back rather than clutter up your home with a purchase that only seemed like a good idea when you were at the bottom of a glass of wine.

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