Don’t Store Your Credit Card with an Online Shopping Site (318/365)

My single biggest temptation with online purchasing is to buy books for my Kindle. I absolutely love the ability to have a lot of books in my hand at any given time, and the idea of adding to my library without acquiring something that takes up physical space is very nice, too. (I do still like to own paper copies of books that mean a lot to me, but most of my reading now is either from library books or from digital editions of books.)

Part of the challenge I have with this is that ordering books for the Kindle can be incredibly easy. Amazon wants to store your credit card information and, once they have it, all you have to do is click once to buy a book. It’s delivered to your device(s) without a second thought, except that you’ve just charged some amount ($1 to $15) to your credit card.

For a book junkie like me, that’s a dangerous proposition. I either need a lot of willpower – which I really don’t have – or I need smarter tactics.

Thankfully, there’s a pretty straightforward tactic that really works well. I just don’t keep a credit card number stored on the site.

Amazon Cardboard Boxes
Photo by Akira Ohgaki

It seems clunky at first. If I do make the decision to buy a Kindle book (or anything else from Amazon), I have to dig out my credit card, enter the info, and make sure the box is checked to ensure that my card info is not saved. It is clunky compared to a one-click system.

However, the clunkiness has a huge advantage for me.

In the time that it takes to do those things, I’m actually thinking about whether or not I really want to complete this purchase.

Do I need this thing that I’m entering my credit card number for? Should I even be buying this?

Can I get it at a better price elsewhere? Maybe I should shop around a bit first.

Can this item wait until later? I do have a lot of books to read already.

That pause is often enough to convince me to not buy the item at all. The fewer unnecessary items I buy, the more money I have in my pocket at the end of the month.

This philosophy works with any online retailer. Simply don’t save your credit card information there and you’ll find it much easier to resist the temptation to order.

This post is part of a yearlong series called “365 Ways to Live Cheap (Revisited),” in which I’m revisiting the entries from my book “365 Ways to Live Cheap,” which is available at Amazon and at bookstores everywhere.

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