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