A lot of us today have grown so used to spending money online we hardly notice when we’re doing it. That sounds wrong even to say out loud (or rather, write), but that doesn’t make it any less true. Younger people in particular – those in the “millennial” generation or below – have grown up with digital shopping options. It’s only natural, really, that online spending would, and does, become second nature.
Given a degree of discipline and responsibility, there’s nothing wrong with this! Online shopping is convenient, and provides us with all kinds of services we might otherwise never enjoy. But discipline and responsibility can be easier suggested than practiced where this particular topic is concerned. And in the following areas in particular, millennials would be wise to take care not to spend carelessly or recklessly.
1. Digital Subscriptions
Signing up for one digital subscription usually isn’t a big deal. For instance, you might sign up for the emerging podcast service Luminary’s premium service for just £6/month, or even Audible for £12/month. Perhaps there’s a mobile game that asks for a few dollars a month to keep fresh content coming, or a digital magazine of some kind that costs, say, £25/year. Taken individually, these are not devastating costs. However, surveys have suggested that most people don’t know how much they’re spending on digital subscriptions. In other words, a lot of those individual costs can start to add up, and it can be hard to keep track. It is therefore a good idea to keep careful track of anything of this kind you might sign up for.
Not to single out one company, but it’s particularly easy for a lot of people to overspend at Amazon. Now, the company is fantastic, broadly speaking. It provides just about every conceivable product one might want to order, and on top of that it also supplies millions with TV, film, and literary content of their choosing. It is, to put it simply, worthwhile. However, Amazon is also so easy to use, with its simple interface and quick payment systems, that shopping there can cease to feel like conducting a financial transaction. In other words, from a psychological standpoint, if you shop frequently on Amazon you can start to feel like you’re just picking things out rather than actually buying them. It sounds almost silly to say, but just remember that these transactions cost real money!
3. Mobile Games
We mentioned mobile games above among the examples of digital subscriptions that can sap your money, but really they deserve their own category. For the most part, these games appear to be either free or cheap, and even the ones that tempt users to make in-app purchases never really seem to be asking for much. As with subscriptions though, it’s easy to let these purchases pile up. Just this year a study indicated that the average mobile gamer spends $87 on in-app purchases (or roughly £67). If you are one to play games on a mobile device, this is definitely something to keep in mind.
Betting doesn’t get quite as much public attention as, say, mobile gaming, but it’s still something that’s increasingly designed to attract younger consumers. Millennials tend to like to be informed, whether on sports, politics, major pop culture events, or anything else one might bet on. And with attractive, modern designs, accompanying apps, and various options for free bets, wagering platforms are exceptionally good at attracting attention and turning that interest into regular betting activity. There’s nothing wrong with this in theory. There are ways for people to bet cheaply and responsibly and enjoy it as a sort of hobby without losing much money. However, it’s also easy, once again, to lose track of just how much you’re spending.
5. Augmented Reality
This last point is more of a prediction than a statement about any current trend. However, given that it’s widely expected that digitally connected glasses will soon spark massive growth in augmented reality tech, we should be prepared to watch our spending. Specifically, it’s believed that Apple and some of its competitors will be releasing new AR glasses as a form of wearable tech. This tech will make AR far more practically useful than it is now, and could conceivably lead to entire new categories of mobile apps. Spending, we would imagine, is going to be easy.