My Your Smart Money Moves Column has an underlying theme of always trying to get you to think. While often it’s about money saving opportunities or financial planning strategies, I’ll throw in a different article here and there to make you consider what is going on in life. One of the bigger worries I have for most of you, with the increasing amount of purchases you make through the internet, is catching the dreaded disease ‘clickyitis’. (Wouldn’t it be cool if I made the slang dictionary in a few years with this one? Clickyitis is the trap that retailers get you into by clicking in a Pavlovian type response to the very buttons they want you to click without even knowing you are spending more money. How does this happen?
- Go Daddy (www.godaddy.com) – Now, when you register a domain with Go Daddy, they first automatically fill the extra $7.99 box (in the middle by the way) instead of the domain only box. Immediately after this, they give you a pop up that tells you to save 66% by registering .NET, .INFO, and .ORG like you need three more domains. You can also register .TV, .CO, and .XXX if it will make your heart content. When you continue to checking you can add e-mail, website hosting, and website building as well. What I found downright nasty, is that they default to registering the domain for 5 years instead of one or two and then they actually ask you to round up to donate to charity! If you move through this quickly, clickyitis will get the best of you.
- Shopping Sites (www.amazon.com)– You have got to humbly give a ton of credit to Amazon as being one of the etailing leaders in today’s new economy. If you’ll notice, Amazon’s website isn’t particularly pretty in design, but it’s loaded with links and button. Just go to the TV’s section and you’ll see over 30 visual buttons to press and another 75 links to click to keep you motion. Remember, the job of a brick and mortar store is to buy TIME. The longer you stay in the store, the more apt you are to purchase something. Nothing is really different in this game of separating you from your money through online shopping. The more time you spend on the etailers website, the better of a chance they have for you to buy something. Make sure you really know why you are at the website so you don’t get mesmerized into a game of clickyitis with Amazon. They will win every time!
- Groupon (www.groupon.com)- Did you ever wonder why QVC and Home Shopping Network have been so successful. These programs capitalize on the very core of our emotions. Groupon is no different. Do you really need 62% off on a monogrammed necklace you don’t need? Are you sure you want 54% off at the Havana Cuban restaurant when you don’t even like Cuban food? How about 42% off at the local frozen yogurt place Swirlin Twirlin when you never go out frozen yogurt at all. My point here is that a picture is worth a thousand words and when those images come at you, you’ll likely scan to something you THINK you need, but you DON’T. Just take a few minutes before you click YES, and second guess yourself on whether or not you really what they are selling.
Yes, clickyitis is catching our nation faster than a bad case of poison ivy. Clickyitis works most severely on the core of our central emotions and makes us do things we don’t want to do as we demonstrate our irrational behavior with our money. Make sure you read the fine print, read what it says next to the button you are clicking, and read this out loud to yourself . . . “Do I really need to make this purchase?” Only you can decide if you can catch yourself from being infected by clickyitis!
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Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS®, is co-CEO of oXYGen Financial and is a top ranked personal finance blogger (www.yoursmartmoneymoves.com). He is a regular contributor to Investment News, The Wall Street Journal, and The Atlanta Journal Constitution. Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Advisor Services, LLC (NFPAS), Member FINRA/SIPC. Oxygen Financial is not affiliated with NFPAS.