Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

The 6 Stages of Online Shopping as a College Student

Thrown from the comforting nest of your home filled with childhood friends and family, college is a time of exploration. It’s a time for acquiring knowledge and experiencing new things. College is also a time where you never have enough time to do everything. Juggling classes, work, social life, and extracurriculars is pretty tough to do.

Between all of these activities, where does one find time to relax? More importantly, where does one find time to shop?

Enter the wondrous world of online shopping. Never again do you have to carve out hours of your day to physically go to the store and scour the aisles for that special something. Never again do you have to interact with another human in order to make a purchase. Never again do you have to leave the house to buy anything. What a time to be alive!!!

The only issue is, you probably don’t have the most money in the world as a college student. In fact, one might even say you’re teetering on the brink of early-onset financial ruin. But that doesn’t stop you from having a good time. And it certainly doesn’t stop you from doing some retail therapy every once in awhile. Regardless of your reasons for this pastime/necessity (you decide), here are the six stages college students go through when they online shop:

Stage 1: The Hunt

Having already established that you’re one step away from having microwavable corndogs and cereal for every meal, you have no patience for $200 crop tops or $50 plush cashmere socks. The filter option becomes your best friend. You have items listed in low-high ascending order, the price range set up to $100, and of course you’ve already combed through the sales/clearance section. You’re not here to window-shop. No, you’re here on a mission.


Stage 2: The Overload

You get a tad bit sidetracked. $20 here, $20 there. Everything seems so cheap when you think about it separately! That is, until you get mentally winded from browsing and mosey on over to see what gems you’ve actually put into your cart…

How is your total already at $675.56??!! Your basket is virtually bursting at the seams. You can’t afford all of this! Or you possibly could, if you’re willing to forego your rent for the month, but luckily logic prevails at the last minute.


Stage 3: The Reduction

SO. Which of your cherished items get voted off the cart? Time to read some reviews. You’re hesitant to believe people with the usernames “wolfheart” or “babymagic905,” but hey, you gotta start somewhere. You sorrowfully end up moving half of your basket to your wish list. Maybe after the next paycheck, $200 headphones.



Stage 4: The Final Sweep

You think you’ve cut down your cart to the absolute “essentials,” but a tiny voice in your head annoyingly whispers “Do I reeeeeallly need this??” to at least three more items. After all, that money could be used to pay for late night Boot pizza. Or concert tickets.

Or your student loans.


Stage 5: The Guilt

Online shopping is not online shopping unless you experience copious amounts of guilt throughout the whole process. Not only did your 10-minute “study break” turn into two hours worth of research and price comparisons, but you also come to realization that you’re still spending money you don’t necessarily have on things you don’t necessarily need. And the price of shipping alone is almost enough for you to call the whole thing off. But does that stop you from indulging in your materialistic wants and needs?


Stage 6: The Purchase

Nope. The prior guilt you had manifests itself into a challenge, as you pigheadedly click “Place My Order” on principle. You avoid checking your bank account for a few days and pray that everything will work itself out. Soon, the remorse vanishes as the excitement of getting your package kicks in.


And sure, money can’t buy happiness, that’s true. What money can buy, however, are short bursts of elation as you anticipate your delivery. And if you have multiple deliveries consecutively en route, isn’t that close enough to happiness for the time being?? Or at least enough excitement to make you momentarily forget about the impending doom of finals and strangers asking you what you want to do for the rest of your life?

Probably not, but I’m going to keep telling myself that as I make poor financial decisions late at night.

Similar Reads👯‍♀️