Fight your Shopping Addiction with these 5 Tips

I’m a long-time reader of Grist, a great progressive website focused on all things green and positive. The Ask Umbra column is a favorite, tackling climate questions with snark and smarts. She’s started a new guide called the ’21 Day Apathy Detox’ which is a perfect sunny title in these dark times. You can check out the whole list here: 21 day Apathy Detox.

There are lots of awesome things on the Apathy Detox, but one of the items that really spoke to me was #17: Buy Less. I’ve long been a proponent of minimalism generally. Whether you choose to start a minimalism practice with a minimalist wardrobe or choose to adopt in other ways, it can help can help reduce stress, save you money, keep your space and your head clear, and – of course – reduce your water and trash footprint on our little planet.

messy closet image
A decidedly un-minimalist approach to closet management.

And in this article Umbra looks specifically about impulse purchases. She says, “Quitting that nonsense is better for your emotional health, credit card bill, the KonMari balance of your closet, and the war against the capitalist machine.”

She spoke with April Lane Benson, psychologist that specializes in shopping addiction, and here are a few of the tip they shared. Hopefully some of these will help you rethink your forthcoming purchases?

1. Why impulse purchases? Benson encourage you to really look at the WHY behind impulse purchases. What are the underlying factors? What inspires you to make these quick decisions? I know I am often looking for something ‘yummy’ when I grocery shop. This means I often end up wandering and making stupid impulse purchases because ‘yummy’ is not a specific thing and I’m sucker for anything to fill that craving.

2. 6 Questions: “Why am I here? How do I feel? Do I need this? How will I pay for it? Where will I put it? What if I wait?” These are the questions that Bensen suggests asking. I have a friend that won’t buy anything for her house unless she knows exactly where it will fit. A new blender? Only if there is room, or if they get rid of something else that is currently occupying that space.

3. Can you Wait? Give yourself a day to think about the coveted item… and then decide. Just like in the first question, if you can look at the WHY you might be able to give yourself pause.

4. Be cart aware: Shopping online is amazing and convenient, but because it distances us from the process of shopping, choosing, and PAYING, it’s often easier to make impulse decisions. She recommends not saving your credit cards in your favorite online stores, so that you have to actually get out the wallet and make the process a little bit more conscious.

5. Use Cash: Sometimes a credit card makes the transaction really smooth and a bit detached, but she explains that cash makes it feel much more real.

women with shopping bags image from Roderick Eime via Flickr Creative Commons; closet image from Shutterstock

 

About the Author

A vegan chef, cookbook author, educator, writer, surfer, and yogi based in San Francisco, Andrea is also the Accounts Manager for Important Media. Follow her foodie adventures at AndreaBertoli.com, Vibrant Wellness Journal, Green Living Ideas and Eat Drink Better. Find more from Andrea on Facebook and Instagram