I have a confession to make.
I used to love shopping. To an excessive degree. To a point where it almost became an addiction.
I had serious stamina when it came to shopping and could do a marathon shopping day. In my teen years, for several years in a row, I would help my grandma with all of her Christmas shopping, for all of the family. My cousins, aunts, and uncles. I would even shop for my own Christmas presents. I thought it was fun getting to pick out my own things.
This was a herculean task as there were a lot of family members to shop for. Usually, we would try to break up the shopping days so we would shop for two, three, or four days. But this one year, for whatever reason, time was running out and we needed to shop all on one day.
It ended up being a very long day. The time spent shopping (this isn’t including stopping for food) was 6 hours long. Whew. But I wasn’t worn out by it at all. Honestly, just writing this and thinking back to that time, it is making me feel exhausted.
Now, there is nothing inherently wrong with being able to do a shopping marathon. It served me well on that shopping trip. But prolonged shopping trips can be a recipe for disaster. The longer the trip the more money you might spend and the more items you may or may not need start piling up.
I liked the way shopping made me feel. There is a reason why people say shopping is therapy. As tough times happened in my life, I realized that shopping made me feel better. Eventually, I turned to shopping or “just browsing” for any mood, whether or not I intended to buy anything. And soon you could end up spending money you don’t have to go into debt over items you didn’t need in the first place.
And the internet has made it so easy to shop or “just browse” whenever. But I realized something. Something I had to fix.
Shopping is Not Free Entertainment
So many times, I was “just browsing” or ” just-looking” or window shopping and what do you know. I ended up finding something I HAD to HAVE. Something I didn’t even know existed before that moment. Think about that for a minute.
It got to a point where I realized that I needed to make a change. When I was bored or feeling fill-in-the-mood here, shopping could no longer be my go-to. So, what was the solution? Well, it was more than one thing. And solutions might vary by circumstance. But here are solutions that worked for me.
3 Possible Solutions
1. DO NOT Hang Out in Online or Physical Stores
The temptation to buy is much too great.
2. Have a List and STICK to it
Obviously, you are going to need to shop. Whenever you do, make a list. It doesn’t matter if you are going to the grocery store, buying a birthday present, or Christmas shopping, make a list. A physical one, whether that be through your phone or with a pen and paper.
Make sure to bring it with you when you go to the store. Then, when you are shopping, don’t go to your areas of temptation, where ever they may be. If you have to shop in those areas, then don’t linger there.
3. It Takes Time
When shopping is your hobby, just like any other hobby, it takes time and effort to break it. Don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself perusing the “aisles” of Amazon. It’s a process.
Shopping for me now has a purpose. I need food. I go to the grocery store. I need to find a birthday present. I look for one. I need to buy Christmas presents. I starting searching for months in advance. (Yes, I’m the weirdo that is typically done shopping and has presents wrapped by Halloween.)
The solutions listed helped me to overcome my habit of “just because” shopping. Am I perfect at this even now? No. I relapse every now and again. But for the most part, I find that shopping is no longer a source of entertainment for me.