5 Sneaky Ways to Stop Advertisers From Tricking You Into Spending More Online

ad blockers

Have you ever been browsing online and seen an ad for something you searched for just the other day? Kinda creepy, right?

Using the power of retargeting, marketers can continue to show you ads when you leave their site. That new gadget or piece of clothing that you decided to pass on can follow you all over the internet — and may even sway your behavior.

The internet knows a whole lot about you and your behavior. In fact, some companies have seen 50 to 60 percent conversion rates from retargeting ads. While this can be good for marketers, it can influence you in ways that you might not even realize as a consumer.

On top of that, the internet makes it easier to spend than ever. In a matter of clicks, you can drop some serious cash without a second thought.

When you’re trying to pay off debt and stick to a budget, the last thing you need is to be pushed to spend more. Luckily, with a few changes to your browsing behavior, you can remove these unnecessary temptations.

1. Use a private browser

One way to keep some information to yourself (and away from marketers) is to use a private browser. Specifics differ depending on which browser you use, but using a private window typically means that your browser’s history, cookies, and search data aren’t saved after you close the window.

This can help limit the information you share and prevent sites from using cookies to store your data. In some cases, it saves you money, too.

For example, some flight searches may use cookies to employ price-jumping. After searching for a particular flight, I noticed the price had jumped by $50 when I looked again later that day — I was shocked. When I used a private browser, however, I was able to find the same flight at the original price.

This is a sales strategy used to worry prospective buyers. They want you to think that the prices will keep shooting up if you don’t buy quickly because demand is high. As soon as the site thinks you’re a new customer, though, the prices usually go back to where they started.

2. Install ad blockers

Want to minimize the ads you see online or block all those annoying pop-ups? Consider using ad blockers for a better browsing experience. Using ad blockers can reduce shopping temptation and ensure that you aren’t being bombarded by ads everywhere you go.

I use Adblock Plus, which is completely free. You can also use their Adblock browser for your smartphone or tablet. There are some websites that won’t allow you to access their content while you’re using an ad blocker, but you can manually pause the ad blocker on a specific page if you need to access it.

Note that ad blockers won’t prevent companies from collecting your data. But at least this way, you won’t be forced to look at their ads.

3. Never save your credit card info

If you frequent certain sites, the website or your browser might suggest saving your credit card info. This will save you a few minutes the next time you shop — and that’s exactly the problem. It makes it far too easy to spend without even thinking about it.

Having to manually put in your credit card number each time is better for your account’s security. Plus, it can make you think twice about what you’re purchasing. If you’re constantly overspending when shopping on the web, never save your credit card info.

4. Clear your browsing data

You probably like to keep your home tidy — why not do the same with your computer?

Clear out your browser data and start fresh. Manually deleting your browsing history and cookies may help prevent retargeting. In order to avoid having to manually sign in to all of your favorite websites, deselect the “passwords” checkbox when cleaning your browsing history.

What really matters is deleting your browsing history and cookies. Both of these things can leave a trail for marketers indicating where you’ve been and what you’ve searched for. You don’t have to clean your browsing data too often — but definitely do so before making a purchase, just in case.

Continuing to use ad blockers and a private browser after that can limit the cookies that sites store on your computer and some of the information you share when browsing the internet.

5. Stop online tracking

Your web browser can track your every move with or without you knowing. This data can be used by advertisers to send you information and relevant ads. But you can stop online tracking using an extension such as Privacy Badger.

If you use Chrome, you can go to Preferences > Advanced Settings > Privacy and select Send a “Do Not Track” request with your browsing traffic. You may also want to alter your Facebook tracking. Facebook has a ton of information about you which is readily available to advertisers — that’s why you sometimes see targeted ads in your feed.

If you want additional privacy and to avoid temptation, you can change your ad settings on Facebook by going to Settings > Ads > Ad Settings and then change your ad settings based on your preferences. You can also change your ad personalization settings on Google. While this won’t stop ads from appearing altogether, it can help limit what you see.

Changing simple ad settings can protect you

Making some simple changes can protect some of your privacy and limit some of the ads you see which can be a good thing. Let’s face it, staying focused on your financial goals is hard enough.

Having access to the internet can mean entering a world of nonstop temptation. But making a few shifts in your browsing behavior can limit ads, reduce temptation, and improve your finances.

Using these tips you can learn how to block pop-ups, change ad settings, remove adware and more. Doing so can give you more control over your web experience and could help you keep your finances intact.

But that doesn’t mean you have to forgo online shopping altogether. Just be sure to use these money-saving browser extensions to get a good deal, too.

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Published in How to Manage Money Wisely, Smart Tips for Saving Money

  • Matthew Zabel

    These are good tips whether or not you have student loans.