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Perceived Overspending Risk

This risk is about the ease of shopping online and how easy it is to overspend beyond one’s budget. Many older people interviewed were retired and had financial limitations and were very conscious of their spending habits. This risk perception includes concerns around the need that ICT products and software need regular updates and upgrades. In addition, the growing cost of staying connected, either through a less optimum connection services or a reluctance to upgrade devices causes concern.

For Dawn, these perceptions of risk manifest in the following ways:

Example 1
Dawn 3_edited
“Overspending is easier online than in a regular store.”

Example 1

The overspending risk was expressed by many older people talking about how easy and quick it is to purchase someone online with one or two clicks. For instance, Dawn is concerned with how easy it is to buy things online and then forgets she has bought it until two items of the same thing arrived on the same day. It was so hard for her to return the item that she ended up giving the second item to her sister. She is worried she may get into financial strife if she doesn’t curb in her online shopping.

Example 2

Example 2

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“I worry about spending too much when I’m shopping online.”

For some seniors, it is harder to compare things online and they end up spending more on one item than expected. For instance, Dawn bought shoes online, but they didn’t fit her. She had to pay the postage to return the shoes but by this time, her size was out of stock. The company wouldn’t refund the money and gave her store credit. She is worried about buying another pair of shoes and that she’ll forget she has this store credit. Now Dawn won’t buy anything online as she’s too fearful that she’ll be out of pocket and is spending too much online.


Can you relate to those example above?  Go to strategies to learn about how Dawn can address these issues.

Individual Strategies for Managing Overspending Risk

Strategy Illustration 1


Mindset. As a rule of thumb, avoid spending when in stressful day or in a bad mood. Negative emotions can reduce cognitive ability and increase impulsiveness, making it hard to control spending. accounts.


Take your time. Give yourself time or at least a day to "cool" off and think through a purchase to determine whether you really need it.


Overspending temptation. If you are an over spender, do not trust yourself to stop the behaviour. Delete apps that might be tempting, or contain an easy to purchase, one-click shopping buttons.


Hidden expenses. When calculating costs of devices and software, make sure you include peripherals that you might need. Ask question that might help you understand your spending needs. Do you need to upgrade your software? Will you need to improve your internet connection speed? These extra costs may play a role in your overall budget.


Do your research. Compare products and research options to ensure you are getting the best value for your needs. Make sure you ask questions to help you understand your product needs. Do you need really to upgrade your software? Do you need to improve your internet connection speed? These extra costs may play a role in your overall budget.


Budget. Develop a budget for online expenses. Try to stick to it as it will help you avoid unpleasant surprises. Consider using an offline shopping list before going online and stick to it.


ICT equipment. It is important to keep products up to date, but you may not need the latest model. You can often get products made 1-2 years ago at a heavily discounted rate. Consider buying ‘factory refurbished’ products or second hand.


Product maintenance. You can extend the life of your device by replacing batteries and deleting apps no longer being used to increase data storage 


Apps. Remove spending apps from your phone or tablet to reduce temptation. Also be wary of apps that have a free subscription for a limited period as you are likely to forget to de-register from it. Some apps charge large annual of monthly fees which you pay as soon as your trial period is over. If you are disciplined with setting dates, then use a calendar reminder to let you know the time is up.


Advert blockers. Set up website advert blockers so you are not inundated with adverts and different products.

Relational Strategies for Managing Overspending Risk

Strategy Illustration 2


Seek assistance. Share your concerns about spending with family and friends. They might help you come up with managing strategies that work for you.


Discuss your challenges. Share your online shopping experiences and spending concerns with your family and friends. They might help you come up with managing strategies that work for you. You can also learn from their experiences with overspending.


Apps. Ask someone you trust to go over your subscribed apps and, with your permission, delete anything that might be costing you too much.


Consider joint purchasing. Some software come with licences that allows use in 3 or 5 devices. Consider buying these licences with friends.


Budget buddy. Follow a budget and create social barriers to make it harder to shop. For example, find a friend who accepts to be called every time you start engaging on a bigger purchase. They may help keep you accountable for what your purchase.
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Strategies to Managing Perceived Overspending Risk

Overspending risks are aligned both with the person’s ICT ability and the person’s confidence to overcome the perceived risk and try to engage with the digital device. There are individual strategies people can do themselves to manage this risk, as well as relational strategies which consider the role of social influence on a person’s ability to try new things and interact with ICT.

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You may be interested in
Other potential risks that Dawn is facing:

will this digital device work the way I want it to – it includes forgetting instructions and managing passwords.
concerns about feeling incompetent, getting frustrated and being overwhelmed with digital technology.
fears focused with online payments, losing privacy, identity theft and automatic payments.
worries about online transactions, not receiving the purchased goods and processing errors.
concerns that digital devices encourage physical inactivity and becoming addicted to the devices as well as the strains on eyesight.
Dawn Strategies 5
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