Beth Martin, a designer from Charleston, South Carolina, often finds herself mentally transported to the south of France as she browses real estate listings on Zillow. It’s her way of taking a break, indulging in daydreams about lavish purchases she knows she won’t make, like an $11 million mansion or a vintage Hermes bag.

“I’m not actually going to buy these things,” laughs the 40-year-old. “But I love looking at them. It’s my way of daydreaming.”

Martin is part of a larger trend known as “dreamscrolling,” identified by US financial services firm Empower. According to their recent study, Americans spend an average of 2.5 hours per day—equivalent to 873 hours per year—window shopping online for dream purchases, from ideal retirement scenarios to luxury homes and exotic vacation destinations.

“It’s a way for people to escape and visualize their aspirations,” explains Rebecca Rickert, head of communications at Empower. “It’s the opposite of ‘doomscrolling,’ where people obsess over negative news.”

Karen K. Ho, a senior writer at ARTNews, who coined the term “doomscrolling,” warns that while dreamscrolling can be fun and distracting, it’s important to avoid overindulging. Real life often doesn’t match up to these idyllic images. Issues like financial challenges with homeownership, unexpected expenses, and the realities behind picture-perfect travel or lifestyle influencer posts can be starkly different.

Despite potential pitfalls, the Empower study highlights some positive aspects of dreamscrolling. Seventy-one percent of respondents reported that dreamscrolling motivated them to set and achieve financial goals.

Common dream items include shoes and accessories, tech gadgets, home decor, vacation destinations, beauty products, and homes or apartments. For those who indulge in dreamscrolling, here are three strategies to avoid overspending:

Set Limits

Allocate specific time limits for browsing. If browsing turns into hours of daily distraction, consider scaling back to maintain productivity.

Make a Concrete Plan

If a dream inspires a desire for a specific purchase or experience, create a detailed plan to achieve it. Calculate the financial requirements and work towards saving and planning accordingly.

Delay Impulse Purchases

Rather than clicking “Buy” immediately, save items in a cart or keep tabs open for later consideration. This approach helps avoid impulse buys, which can accumulate to substantial unplanned expenses.

“It’s all about balancing inspiration with practicality,” concludes Rickert. “Dreamscrolling can be beneficial when it motivates thoughtful planning and financial discipline.”