Amazon Fast

Thirty-seven orders in six months. Thirty-seven things I could not live without. $1851.16 spent with a swipe of my thumb. That’s what I discovered while scrolling through my account the other day.

Returning to the US after a year abroad, this time with a real smartphone, meant I could now download the Amazon app and order whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, and get it in two days. I wanted a lot. I had sold my house and most of my belongings before traveling, so I needed to fill up another place with more stuff.

Amazon was not new to me, but having it on my phone was new. It wasn’t long before I automatically reached for my phone every time I wanted something. Amazon never failed me. They always had the cheapest prices and they had everything, even a three-pack of the deodorant I had grown to love in Asia but could not find in any store here. 

I bought a TV stand, and then decided not to get a TV!

Sure, I did visit actual stores when waiting two days for a product seemed impossible, but the more I used Amazon the more convenient it became. It became a habit to open the app and browse through Amazon’s suggestions for me. They seemed to know what I needed before I even realized it!  

In the old days, I used to make lists, on paper, of things I thought I needed. I might find what I was looking for after going to several stores over the course of many weeks. Sometimes I would buy the item, or wait for it to go on sale, or pass by it wondering why I thought I needed it in the first place. There was time and space between my brain thinking of something I wanted and my purchasing it. 

Amazon has erased that distance and changed my habits. I now just think, swipe and buy. It’s too easy. There is no wait time anymore. 

I never knew what an “Easy Lotion Applicator” was, until I decided I needed one after a visit to the dermatologist. And I got a Christmas tree in the same order.

After reviewing my Amazon purchase history, I began to realize that Amazon was getting in the way of one of my goals:  to save money. If I had been Amazon-free for my year abroad without giving it a second thought, then why do I depend on it so much now?  I wondered if I could save money by skipping Amazon.  Not to mention the countless hours I could save by not browsing, reading reviews and meticulously researching every product I buy.

The day I accidentally pressed “buy now with one-click” while researching silicone muffin pans, I began to wonder if this was a good thing. (I kept the pans, though, along with the three metal ones I already have.)

So I’ve decided to go on a fast, an Amazon fast. I’m deleting the app from my phone and will try to avoid purchasing anything from Amazon for the first six months of 2018. After that, we’ll see how I’m doing. Can I actually survive without Amazon, or will I just shift my spending habits to other retailers? I’m hoping that if I put more distance between thinking and buying, then maybe I won’t purchase so much and will save money for my future goals. I’ll start this fast as soon as I use the Amazon gift cards I got for Christmas! (Maybe I’ll stock up on that deodorant.)

As much as I love this for my guest room, I’m embarrassed to have spent so much on a file cabinet.

Wishing you all a new year of reaching your goals.  Happy New Year!  

Comments (8):

  1. Jeff

    December 31, 2017 at 07:27

    Hahhaah I love and relate to this so much Tim! This reminds me of a piece I saw in the New Yorker. Great stuff!

    • Tim Flanagan

      January 12, 2018 at 21:04

      Thanks for reading, Jeff. Good to know I’m not the only one!

  2. Lori Liguori

    December 31, 2017 at 08:34

    Oh, Tim!!! Too funny!!!! I just discovered Amazon Prime, too………maybe we need a support group!

    • Tim Flanagan

      January 12, 2018 at 21:05

      I’ll join.

  3. LInda Wight

    December 31, 2017 at 11:29

    Haven”t pit it on a phone , but have used it sparingly. Good luck.

    • Tim Flanagan

      January 12, 2018 at 21:06

      That’s good. You have more self-control than me.

  4. Anne Cylkowski

    January 30, 2018 at 10:43

    Ti m I just had the time to read this post. You’re right convenience does not give us time to think. I know this isn’t that big but when Ron and I moved here almost 18 years ago we would not switch our bank, because we did not want the convenience. Oh who am I kidding Ron and I don’t have the discipline to pause and think before buying. Not making it so convenient certainly has avoided a lot of unnecessary buying and a lot more time for other things. In fact all this time we’ve never had a debit card linked to our bank account we only did this less than a year ago, because we needed to order some parts for equipment online. That gone well because we do not carry it with us or use it for anything else.

    • Tim Flanagan

      February 2, 2018 at 23:03

      Great advice! So far, my plan is working. I don’t even go to Job Lot anymore. It’s all about changing habits.


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