This post explores motivators to shop (in no particular order). The goal is to identify the root cause of the urge to splurge and then find an alternative method meet the need presented. As for me, I have made a lot of progress in the last year or so to re-train myself to respond to the situations listed below. There is still progress to be made. In other words, this takes time, but it can be done.
When you find yourself shopping or browsing the Internet for deals, ask yourself what need you are truly trying to meet. You probably already have the proper resources available to you without having to make a purchase.
There are seven rooms at home that could use a cleaning, but I’m feeling antsy and need to get out of the house or office. The thing I have come to realize is that when shopping out of boredom I am usually looking for a personal connection. The best thing to do is to make a phone call or visit a friend and connect with someone who actually cares.
It is not necessarily an easy change to make. I am still trying to re-train myself to not look at shopping as a way to feel connected with the community or to feel special. On the bright side, my mom and I have been talking a lot more lately than we used to do.
2. A need to escape
When I shop to escape the daily grind, I am daydreaming and want to believe marketers’ promises that their products will make me happy or give my life meaning. When you see this ‘logic’ written out, the problem seems fairly straightforward. Obviously the problem is compounded by the fact that when you shop to escape, you are already not thinking clearly.
Alternatives to shopping when these emotions swell up include praying, counting blessings, going for a bike ride, or concentrating on a project. I love to sew and watch birds. D enjoys his garden. What could you do with the hour or two saved from not going on an unplanned shopping spree?
3. A need to celebrate
I also have a tendency to shop while (already) happy. It seems shopping really can creep into any part of your life! Rie was on the way, so I shopped and my excitement was shown in how many products I purchased. My sister engaged to marry, and my happiness for her was displayed in the gifts I gave to her and her fiancé. Sometimes it is merely a beautiful day – what better way to spend it than at an outdoor shopping strip and café?
Of all the reasons to shop listed so far, this one is the easiest to turn around. The possibilities are endless. When there is something to celebrate, you can have a party, take pictures, or make plans as needed. If it is a beautiful day you are celebrating, then take your dog for a walk, ride your bike, or enjoy a cool drink on the porch.
4. It’s a good deal
Sales are made to create a feeling of urgency. Marketers want you to understand the deal has an expiration date. They are ultimately taking away the time you need to consider a purchase. Do not let them do that to you. You know what you need. If you find a deal on something you are already seeking, great, go for it. When you find a great deal that does not line up with what you already know you need – let it go. Think of it as leaving the item for someone else who does, in fact, seek it. And do not fret over a lost opportunity – there will always be another sale.
As always, your suggestions in the comment section are welcomed, as I am nowhere close to having all the answers.
Thanks for reading!