Part four: I used to have a shopping problem, but I stopped shopping. That sounds simple. It sounds so obvious. But it is a little more complex. If someone wants to lose weight, you can’t just say ‘well, eat less’. Why are they eating more than they need to? Are they actually eating the right amount, but choosing the wrong foods and need to learn what the right foods are?
Remember parts two and three of how I cured my shopping habit? I simplified my budget and got honest about how much I was spending and how much I could spend, and made practical changes. Then I learnt to recognise how much I used and needed, and consequently what I didn’t need. Without those two changes, I probably couldn’t have stopped shopping.
Now, understand, when I say I stopped shopping, I don’t mean I made a pact to buy nothing for a year, or to buy nothing new for a year. This is a permanent change. I don’t just wander through Target or Spotlight anymore, and generally avoid shopping centres there is something particular there that I need. I don’t look at clearance racks for ‘just in case there’s something good on there’. I don’t browse a lot of online stores either. And ever so occasionally, I leave the kids with my husband and go shopping on my own: wander, browse, try things on.
When I do need to go shopping I consider my purchase. Do I have one already? When will I use this? What will I use it for? Does it actually fit? Do I have anything to wear it with? Do I really need it? If I can only answer ‘I don’t know’ to the question, then I don’t buy it. I have put plenty of things back after wandering around with them for five or ten minutes. Often if I want it but I’m not sure, I’ll leave the shop and come back later when I’ve made up my mind. If it’s gone by then, it doesn’t matter because another one will come along. Usually, I know before I even go shopping whether I need it or not.
Sometimes I still buy things that I don’t need. The worst is when I do the grocery shopping. I’m not perfect. And I’m not writing this to tell you how awesome I am and that you should all be like me. This was hard work to completely change the way I think.
Buy less and be better for it.