For as long as I can remember, shopping has always provided some sort of comfort and satisfaction for me. For most of my life, I practiced mindless shopping which was a problem because I always ended up buying more than I could afford. I shopped emotionally or out of habit, and I bought things I didn’t really want or need.
In the past year, I gave myself only 1 rule.
I can go on as many shopping sprees as I want, BUT…. Yes there’s a catch. I can only make a purchase if the item I intend on buying will have a great improvement on my life.
The old me would have found at least 10 reasons how a new blouse would make my life better. Its almost as if shopping was a compulsive habit that I couldn’t break out of. Through my inquisitive mind and eagerness to try out new things, I discovered Minimalism and fell in love with the concept. For those who do not know about Minimalism, Minimalism is simply described as
“Simplicity, Clarity, Singleness (Richard Holoway). In short, Its simply Intentionally trying to live with only the things you really need.
I remember a few months back when I went back home to Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is a 3rd world country with majority of the people being poor and living in poverty. During this tour, we visited the beautiful Chimanimani and area in the Eastern Highlands. Beautiful landscapes and a Serene environment. On our way back from a sightseeing tour, we stopped over at what they call a growth point in Zimbabwe. This is the equivalent of a town center but usually much smaller. Here, everyone hangs out. It is the heartbeat of a village and here you find all your convenience stores, bars, supermarkets etc. Everything is very basic and making money is tough. Most people from developed countries would consider the people living here to be “struggling”, and yet when you spend a few minutes here you are welcomed by happy, friendly people, just happy to talk to someone and enjoy the time.
There’s laughter, banter, and to some extent a feeling that for a second, time stopped and you forgot all the other 1st world problems you have. For a community that has next to nothing compared to the 1st world countries, Id like to think they’re doing quite well and genuinely happy.
The point I am trying to make is even with as little as they have, there is no doubt these people could potentially be happier than people in more developed countries. I know where I live in Netherlands, people definitely have more spending power, more material things but they’re certainly not happier.
Here are 3 practical tips that have helped me on my mission to stop mindless shopping.
KNOW YOUR PRIORITIES
What do you really want in life? Like really the “Big Picture”Kind of stuff.
What is it that you value and dream about? Who is the “GOALS” version of yourself?
For me, I asked myself this question a few years back and I constantly have to remind myself of this better version of me whenever I’m about to make impulsive purchases.
In my case, my priority is FREEDOM. I want the freedom to travel and see the world. I want the freedom to quit a job that makes me unhappy, freedom that allows me to throw myself in passion projects or any opportunities that come my way. I want the freedom to experience life in its full form and this is something I know I definitely do not get from accumulating material stuff.
By knowing this about myself, It makes it easy for me to not be easily tempted into buying the latest craze of whatever product.
LEARN TO SEE QUALITY
My husband sometimes laughs at me when I go out shopping and come back with 1 item. The truth is, most of the stuff in shops that I go to is crap and Crap stuff looks better when grouped together and shops know this (forever 21, Primark, H&M) are great examples of this.
Look—I’ll be honest, sometimes I buy low quality clothes. Sometimes it’s convenience or even necessity (because it’s not easy to find good things!) But just be aware of it.
Train your eyes to see quality and you’ll automatically buy less. You’ll walk into a shop, feel a few fabrics, then turn around and walk right out.
PLAN TO SHOP
Who doesn’t want new things? We all want new things and that’s why this post isn’t about how to stop shopping. Instead its about mindless shopping because hey… shopping is not the devil here.
The last tip for being purposeful and intentional about shopping is to plan to shop.
Most of the time, we know when we will want or need new things (the change of seasons, the holidays, special events.) If you plan your shopping ahead of time, you have time to think about your purpose and what you really need.
Do you Have any more tips that have helped you to stop mindless shopping?
Please share them with us below.