Are you a sucker for bargains?
Do you buy things you don’t need to fill an emotional need? I certainly used to. Now I am learning to buy things I want and need and still get pleasure from finding bargains. It is possible to do this without overspending or ending up with things we won’t end up using.
On New Years Day I visited a department store advertising a door busting sale. It was a fascinating exploration into the mind of a bargain hunter. Apparently I am a lightweight compared to the people I encountered. It is not gender based sport. I watched men egging on their wives, are you sure we don’t need two? (illuminated shell trees) Well I guess we do live in Florida. And the amount of suitcases being sold made me wonder if people really are planning the move to Canada.
I had a loose plan to buy a few items. The hour-long line to try on shoes put paid to any plans for replacement ankle boots. Many of the clothing items I tried on were dirty, torn or clearly returned having been previously worn, after I eventually tired of people watching and went to another store, paying almost full price for a couple of shirts I needed.
Do you love it, need it and will you use it?
I returned to the department store later and picked a number of festive items at 75% off. As I waited in line I looked at the things
I had chosen. I remembered my decluttering mantra. Do I love it ? do I need it? can I use or wear it today? As I began returning half of my stash to the shelf, others were desperately grabbing more stuff as they drew closer to the cash register. I overheard plans to make multiple journeys in order to get the stuff home.
Shopping can be therapeutic and fun and it can lift our mood even if we don’t buy anything. I do wonder however if the people would use and enjoy the items they bought. Or would it be added to an already overwhelming hoard of junk, filling an emotional need that would never be satisfied by things.
If you find yourself buying things you don’t need on a regular basis there are some ideas that may help.
Strategies that can help
- If you must go shopping, set a budget and if you regularly overspend on credit cards, consider only taking cash.
- Make a list and include a small allowance in the budget for things you might see and didn’t plan for.
- When shopping online, add things to your basket and come back to it later. Often the item does not look so attractive when we allow ourselves a cooling-off period.
- Take a friend shopping with you who will be honest enough to tell you about the suitability of your choices.
- Ask yourself would I buy it if it were full price or am I only buying it because it is cheap?
- If you believe you have a serious problem with shopping, spending or hoarding, consider getting help from a therapist or counsellor who can help you get to the root cause of the issue.
Finding bargains can be extremely satisfying and sales can be fun. Yet there is often a reason an item was left unsold at the end of the season and It is not a good deal if it ends up unworn and donated to the thrift store.