One day sales that once upon a time really were once a year, Dollar Stores, Target, sales for every holiday imaginable, online shopping which is fast, easy and available 24/7, credit card offers that make borrowing easy, and the overall “need” to have all the latest and greatest gadgets. We are all buying way too much!
As Spring approaches and the temptation to spruce up our homes and wardrobes sets in, along with needed items for Spring Break trips, and gifts for upcoming Mother’s Day and graduations around the corner, let’s talk Mindful Shopping. Need some tips to curb the shopping frenzy and curtail retail therapy? Then read on!
What is Mindful Shopping? It’s using a list, it’s shopping with intention, it’s putting a time limit on errands, and it’s shopping alone.
Lists? Yes, lists! For those who know me, you know I’m all about my list making. Before heading to your favorite grocery store, mall or Target, make a list! Avoid wandering up and down aisles and skip those aisles that contain items you don’t need.
Intention means you are shopping for a specific purpose. “I need a new pair of black sandals for the spring” and only looking at black sandals. I need a Mother’s Day gift and will look for a scarf.
Set a time limit! It’s so easy to get “lost” in the mall or the aisles at Target – I’ve been known to do that! “I’m going in for these 8 items and leaving within 15 minutes”. You can even make it a game of Beat the Clock!
Shop alone. I know – that’s not nearly as fun but research shows that shopping with others tends to lead to more impulse buying and over spending.
I have a laminated list of questions that I use with some of my clients. It was published by K2 Organizing, LLC and asks the following questions when considering a purchase. “Should I Get It?”:
- Is acquiring this consistent with my goals?
- Do I need it?
- Do I have a place for it without getting rid of something?
- Am I getting it for reasons other than the good deal?
- Will I be happy with my decision tomorrow? A year from now?
- Is this my only chance to get this?
- Will this serve a purpose in a way that nothing I own does?
- Do I love it?
- Will the time and space costs be worth it?
- Am I sure I am getting this for the right reasons?
- Is there a good reason that I cannot wait 24 hours?
- Will this make my life better?
How many yes’es do you have and how many no’s? Try to ask yourself these questions before you throw random items in your shopping cart. And while not on the list, I would add:
- “Am I being a good role model for my kids?”
- “Is buying this object in line with the financial goals I have set for myself and/or with my spouse/partner?”
- “Do I value material objects more than my relationships?”
I am in no way suggesting you go on a shopping hiatus. I am all for supporting our economy, and I certainly do my share. Yet, I would be willing to bet many of could use some tips in controlling the over-shopping tendency, which can lead to some serious clutter, guilt and more. So, practice Mindful Shopping and see what benefits come as a result!