Most people can relate to that feeling of satisfaction that comes with shopping. Whether we’re trying on shoes, choosing a wedding gift for a friend, testing a baseball glove or picking out a goldfish for our child’s first pet, there’s something rewarding about spending money and something exciting about acquiring new things. Shopping is, in many instances, a necessary endeavor. For example, we have to go grocery shopping in order to feed our families. And for some, shopping can be a very healthy pastime and even a fun hobby. But for others, it can literally become a sort of addiction. Because shopping involves finances and requires the use of self-control, it is important to develop and maintain what we would refer to as “healthy shopping habits.”
You may be wondering why Wellworks For You is interested in a topic such as shopping habits. Well, we believe that comprehensive wellness is made up of more than just diet and exercise. While physical wellness is the most obvious and certainly one of the most important areas of health, there are many other kinds of wellness that are worthy of consideration. For example, we want our clients and their program participants to be aware of issues of mental health, relational health, spiritual health and more. Shopping habits are a common, everyday way to measure a person’s general lifestyle health.
A Guide to Healthy Shopping Habits
Below is a quick list of easy to implement and extremely helpful tricks and tips for those looking to implement some healthy shopping habits. Having these habits ingrained in the way you shop will help eliminate potential problems that can arise from unhealthy shopping. Unhealthy side effects from impulse – or “unhealthy” shopping include:
guilt from overspending
disappointment in yourself/discouragement
relational friction with your spouse
Tip #1: Pay With Cash
Studies have shown that paying with cash is mentally harder for most people and causes them to have greater impulse control while shopping.
If you’re the type of shopper that throws whatever looks appealing into your cart without really giving it a second thought, try this tactic. Rather than swiping once with your plastic, force yourself to pull out the paper bills and physically experience the hard-earned cash leaving your wallet. The more you have to go through this, the fewer unnecessary “extras” you’ll find in your cart when it’s time to check out.
Tip #2: Don’t Surf the Web
The Internet can be a dangerous place for people wanting to develop healthy shopping habits. Not only can surfing the web bring about multitudes of new ideas and images of items you might be inclined to buy, but the ease of shopping online will make actually buying these things a very real temptation.
Forget paying with cash! What’s even easier than swiping a card?…well, clicking a “checkout” button, of course. For many, the Internet presents a perfect opportunity to exercise zero impulse control.
Tip #3: Find Accountability
Shopping with friends is not only more fun, it’s much healthier too! Find a couple of friends who are willing to be “on call” for you whenever you’d like to go out shopping and tell yourself that if they can’t join you, you can’t go. These friends can help you keep track of your spending and help you decide between “need” items and “want” items. Good friends who know that you are working on practicing more self-control while shopping will be able to help you decide when it may be a good time to actually go ahead and treat yourself to something fun. But they will also be honest with you when your impulse to spend starts taking over.
Tip #4: Window Shop After Stores Close
This tactic is a win-win. You can still check out all the latest fads and get a good look at the newest gadgets, the shiniest jewelry, and whatever else you may be interested in – and you can do it all without having the opportunity to make a purchase you might later regret. If you love the feeling of being “out shopping,” you can still enjoy that same experience and the fun of walking the mall with friends. Just do it while the stores are closed! If you see something you really love, you’ll have the chance to think it over and give yourself time to weigh the pros and cons of making the purchase instead of simply buying on impulse. If the item is really worth purchasing, you can always go back later.