Why do people shop? Aside from needing something, there are a lot of reasons why people pull out their purses and make a purchase – and they’re not always the right ones. Here are 5 times when shopping is not the answer (and what to do instead).
1. When you don’t really need something.
There are a lot of times when we buy something that we don’t really need. Sometimes that’s totally okay! You reached a goal and want to reward yourself? Spend away. You want to treat yourself once in a while? Pull out those moneybags. But if shopping without necessity becomes more of a mindless habit than once-in-a-while thing, it can lead to a lot of unwanted clutter, bills, and maybe even regret.
The answer: Think about whether you really need something when you’re buying it. If you don’t need it, think about it for at least a while to be sure you really want it before making the purchase. If you do need it, is there a way that you could borrow something similar or get it through a trade instead? Or, are you choosing to replace an item that could be fixed instead? There are a lot of ways to get a hold of things to use without having to pay for something new and then hold on to it. Get creative!
2. When you’re bored.
Have you ever wondered why the malls are packed on a rainy day, when it seems there’s nothing better to do? I’m definitely guilty of having used shopping as a quick fix for boredom in the past. In this day and age, many of us are constantly looking for something new to excite or entertain us.
The answer: Try and find some more productive ways to fill your time that don’t involve consuming. Learn a new skill or hobby, pick up a book, exercise, etc. Find what truly makes you happy, and spend your time doing that instead. Another great way to combat that constant feeling of needing something new is by practicing gratitude. Feeling more content with what you already have will reduce the need for new things.
3. When you haven’t wanted it for a while.
Purchasing something on impulse or just because it’s trendy right that moment usually doesn’t work out too well and can lead to feelings of regret.
The answer: Sleep on it or wait for a little while and see if you still want it. Always make a plan or list before you shop so that you know your priorities. Also, don’t just do something because someone else is. As much as you can, try and tune out to the current fads/trends as they pass quickly and will be out of style again in a few weeks.
4. When you are trying to distract yourself.
Shopping can sometimes be a very welcome distraction for a variety of emotions. Ever heard of ‘stress shopping’ or ‘retail therapy‘? This can get pretty serious if you are struggling to cope with something going on in your life. While shopping might make you feel a bit better in the short term, it’s only a bandaid solution.
The answer: Find the root cause of what is upsetting you and try to work through that instead. I’m sure that this is easier said than done, and don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, family, or professionals to get the help and support that you need.
5. When it won’t add value to your life.
Finally, there are so many other costs to purchasing something on top of just the price. This is known as its ‘true cost‘. Think about the cost not only of buying something, but also of keeping it, storing it, maintaining it, insuring it, cleaning it, etc.
The answer: Consider your purchases carefully and determine whether the value they add to your life outweighs their true cost. If something will end up detracting from your life instead of adding value, consider giving it a pass.
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below! If you liked this article, you might also like How to Shop Like a Minimalist. As always, thanks so much for reading!
Until next time,
Featured photo by Heidi Sandstrom on Unsplash