We’ve all been there l’m pretty sure. Mindless shopping is a pastime for almost everyone l know, including yours truly. I was, and l am still somewhat influenced by my television viewing habits. I see a nice handbag commercial (my weakness) and all of a sudden, my heart still races and l contemplate whipping out the debit card (no more credit cards for me, except for American Express) and adding to my collection. I can’t seem to bring myself to cancel my Dooney and Burke bags email notifications. Here are 4 useful alternative things to do to curb your mindless shopping.
The first and most important thing is to know what triggers your mindless shopping. It could be due to many reasons such as:
- Stress. Is your job or life stressing you out and causing you to shop as therapy?
- Entitlement. Do you feel that you deserve this gift? That you work hard, and therefore must play hard?
- Low self-esteem. It is quite common for people to shop to make themselves feel better, no matter how fleeting it is.
- Influence. Are you influenced by television ads, magazine ads and being bombarded by actors and singers in wonderful and expensive outfits, making you feel like you need to be just as hip as they are?
- Boredom. I think this is the biggest trigger for most people. There is a reason why they say idle hands are the devil’s workshop. Nothing is more dangerous than boredom and a credit card combination.
Once you identify your triggers, you can start to tackle the problems. Whenever the urge strikes to shop mindlessly, here are 4 other things you can do that will not only save you money, but might even make you learn a thing or two.
4 Useful Alternative Activities To Mindless Shopping:
Reading is becoming a lost art for most people. We are in a constant state of FOMO (Fear of missing out). This means checking Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms every few minutes. Your phone becomes an appendage. You need to shut this out and get back to basics. Reading makes you smarter, and keeps your brain sharp. You can download free books to your phone or e-reader. When you feel like mindless shopping pangs, reach for your reader and broaden your knowledge. If your focus is to reduce debt, there are great books to help you accomplish this. You can read inspirational stories, fiction, literature, anything that you fancy.
This activity not only declutters your life, it also gives you a high, which in turn boosts your energy and self esteem. Cleaning has been shown to be therapeutic. Another added benefit is that you might discover things that you had long forgotten and might be useful again. Cleaning out your closet for example might reveal an old outfit you had previously purchased but never worn (has happened to me a lot). Maybe old shoes that can be worn again, scarves that can dress up an old outfit. These can give you little boosts that is enriching and saves you money at the same time.
Helping others in need makes you feel better. You are making a difference in other peoples lives and you in turn occupy your time because the focus is no longer on you. Check out your city’s website for volunteer opportunities. It could be in the form of collecting food for the homeless, feeding the poor or even visiting the elderly. If you love animals, perhaps you could volunteer at the animal shelter. There is always a need, and it’s a win-win for all.
Exercise is known to help manage weight and to boost your energy. It is also a good deterrent to mindless shopping. If you have a gym membership, make good use of it when the urge to shop strikes. Skip watching the TV at the gym. Instead, bring your headphones and listen to music while you exercise. The benefits are wonderful, not just to your body and mind, but to your wallet as well.
It is always going to be a struggle trying to find a balance in life, especially when it comes to finances. You need to separate your wants and your needs. You must also stop comparing yourself to others and focus on being the best you. Hopefully, with these 4 alternative activities to compulsive shopping, you can start to make headway.
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How do you handle boredom and stop yourself from mindless shopping? Any other activities you can add to the list?