Despite the compromised economy and reported decreases in retail sales, people are still shopping. The levels may vary and there are notably all different kinds of shopping going on. Sometimes we shop with purpose and motive, and so our purchases are intentional and satisfying. Other times, shopping can mean merely browsing with no specific expectation at all. Ya know that kind of day… when we meander into a store looking for absolutely nothing in particular. That’s the day when we are badgered by the pushy salesperson, grit our teeth and politely respond with a “just looking, thank you.” The “shop & return-er” is a victim of indecisive shopping and can frequent the stores on a daily basis. And then there’s the shopper that loves to “shop around ” which suggests we’re being smart consumers who educate and research, prior to the purchase.
No doubt about it, shopping is a favorite pastime. People love to shop. It’s a validation that we’re doing OK, and it gives us pleasure to indulge ourselves. It feels good to buy something new. But there must be limits set or addiction can easily ensue. Make no mistake about it, compulsive shopping differs from impulsive shopping. Can you make the distinction? A compulsive shopper is engaged in obsessive addictive behaviors. It is costly and dangerous and likely to place one in severe debt. For those who spend more than they can afford, and struggle with compulsive acquiring, seeking professional help can be very effective.
If you are an impulsive shopper, your purchases may apt to be rash, and decisions often made with little or no thought. How many times have you veered off track and purchased something for yourself, while shopping for another person? As for me?….too many times to count, really. Guilty as charged. Generally speaking, a healthy impulsive shopper can usually afford their indulgences. And if regret weighs too heavy in hindsight, the item is returned without issue. Oops… change of heart, no biggie.
So what kind of shopper are you?
If you’re up for the challenge, here’s the ultimate test in self-control. Try strolling through the mall, spritz a new fragrance on your wrist and take pleasure in it for the rest of the day, without buying it. Walk into Brookstone and sit yourself on every massage chair and test all the latest gadgets, and walk away. Try on a piece of clothing because you admire it, not because you have to own it. Browse the stores for great gift ideas for a future occasion and avoid the crunch time of finding the perfect gift when you need it. Walk away from bargains. When tempted with sale items, don’t be lured into buying more just because they’re on sale. Be mindful of over- acquiring perishable products at stores like Costco. It can easily defeat the purpose of the sale because the expiration dates often beat out the inventory.
Shopping, nonetheless, can still be a fun activity without breaking the bank or even taking out your wallet. You can still appreciate, admire and find joy sans the need to acquire it. Affordability is not the real issue. Just because you can afford it, doesn’t mean you should buy it. Contemplate, prior to purchasing and ask yourself:
- Do I really need it?
- Can I afford it?
- Do I have something just like it at home already?
- Do I have room for it? /where is it going to live in my house?
With holiday spending on all of our minds and the challenging economy still impacting our daily lives, now is a great opportunity to evaluate how we spend, and what we buy. Buy better, not more.