The internet has brought us wonderful things, but restraint is certainly not one of them. Before the internet came along, shopping was an outing, an effort – you had to actually GO and FIND the item you wanted before you could buy it. This gave us enough time to seriously consider the purchase. But online shopping changed all of that.
This is especially relevant here in Japan, where we tend to crave items of our own culture – “foreign” food, English language video games, books actually worth reading – and oftentimes the internet is the easiest and most convenient way to purchase. Then, once you get your Japanese language skills down, you have a whole new world of Japanese shops online to battle with! There’s no end to the impulse purchasing madness, and it used to bring me right back down to ZERO a few days after each pay check to pay off the credit card.
Assuming for one that you’re not willing to trash your credit card, and yet you’re willing to accept that perhaps you are addicted to online shopping (as I myself am), then I think I may have a genuinely workable solution for you! Wait for it… Scrapbooking!
Here’s what I started doing a while ago now: whenever I find something I think I want to buy on the internet, whatever it may be, I print a copy of the page – just something with a little picture and price tag or something is sufficient. Then I cut out the picture and paste it into my “want to get” net-shopping-prevention scrapbook. Just the fact that I now have it pasted in there is often enough ~ it’s not so much that I really desperately wanted to buy it, more that I wanted to remember it’s existence beyond a mere Firefox bookmark. Hard-copy visual bookmarking I guess you could call it. Then, assuming you do actually want some of the stuff you pasted into your book, you can flick through it at the end of the month and give yourself ¥10,000 limit to go crazy.
Don’t try the impossible if you know it’s not going to work for you – be reasonable. Good luck, and let me know how it works out for you in the comments.