Despite the tough economic climate, technology is making it easier than ever to spend money like it’s going out of style. Shopping from the comfort of your couch or gambling in your bathrobe can be so easy that we don’t stop to think about how much we’re shelling out. Here are ten of the ways that the internet makes quick work of your retirement fund.
- Auction Sites – Auction sites like eBay make spending a small fortune as easy as pie; the lower-than-retail prices and wide array of available goods are almost irresistible.
- Flash Sale Groups – Fashionistas and home décor enthusiasts are well-acquainted with the flash sale groups. Notifications are sent via email, informing members of an impending event; for a very short time, generally less than three days, high-end designer goods are available at deep discounts. The lure of 95% off of haute couture pieces is undeniable.
- Online Gambling – Blowing money in a casino is easy enough; when the internet offers the opportunity to play the same games in your underwear, a small fortune can be spend in no time flat.
- Multi-Player Fantasy and Simulation Games – Few things are as addictive as an online role-playing or life-simulation game. Unfortunately, the companies that put them out understand the loyalty of their fan base and are constantly introducing new expansions and add-on packages. These charges, in addition to monthly subscription and membership fees, can add up very quickly.
- Wholesale Sites – There’s something about a discount that makes a perfectly rational person feel certain that they should buy 144 boxes of cocktail umbrellas or 100 plastic whistles. Because the internet makes it so easy to find these wholesale vendors, it doesn’t take long to end up with an empty wallet and a house full of trinkets.
- Secure Pay Services – The act of entering your credit card number for a frivolous purchase can often make you think twice before clicking that Check Out button. Secure pay sites and vendors that store account information to enable “One-Click” purchasing know this, and have eliminated the step altogether. Without that last chance to rethink the purchase, it doesn’t take long to overspend.
- Access to Collectibles and Other Rare Items – Once upon a time, collectors of rare items had to save up their money and make the trek to a dealer or convention to make purchases. Now, it’s as simple as locating a forum of like-minded collectors or dealers around the world.
- Buying Music – Since the advent of iTunes, it’s a snap to spend a bundle, .99₵ at a time. Finding one track that you love leads to the purchase of an album; when you fall in love with it, you have to buy the entire discography.
- Free Shipping – Many vendors offer free shipping after you’ve spent a minimum amount; most of us will keep adding things that we don’t need, spending $50.00 to save $5.00 on shipping charges.
- Product Suggestions – The product suggestion is the impulse-buy section at the supermarket on steroids. Just before you complete the transaction, a site will show you what other users who were interested in the items you purchased bought. Suddenly, you’re seeing products that you forgot you wanted; in to the cart they go!
Story by Melanie Slaugh