Wednesday, August 03, 2011

On Buying Things

Shopping. I used to LOVE shopping - at the mall, thrift stores, Wal-Mart, at the hardware store, the campus bookstore, anywhere. Especially true with thrift shopping but still relevant while shopping anywhere else is that I always felt like I was on the hunt for a sweet deal, always on the lookout for some awesome thing that I'd just HAVE to have.


Then came online shopping. I've been buying things online ever since I was old enough (probably around age 13?). I bought an entire collection of vintage Rainbow Brite dolls, one by one, from sellers on ebay. I loved stuff. I had a ton of it. I was swimming in it.

It wasn't until after college that I discovered and started practicing a bit of minimalism. I got rid of a lot of extras, and questions to myself (do I really need that? why am I buying this?) started becoming ingrained in my head. I went from avid shopper and collector of crap to a stingy shopper who is constantly paring away the excess.

So I'm in this dilemma. I still have the urge to shop - I browse online shopping sites almost every day. But I can rarely convince myself to buy anything. I guess this is a good thing? They say we should become smarter consumers, and not be duped into buying crap we don't need. I don't watch TV, and I find that the lack of commercials really helps curb my shopping appetite. Since I now work from home, I'm not out & about everyday, passing by places to spend more money. But even though online shopping will probably never go away, somehow I've learned to control my participation in it. Since it's not instant gratification the way buying jeans at the mall is, after typing in my credit card number online, I just don't feel that same sense of satisfaction. In fact, I almost always feel guilty when I get the confirmation email. (Crap, I really did just spend $50 in a single click.)

I think the trick is to let yourself look, but question yourself fiercely before slipping that credit card out of its wallet slot. Questions, questions, questions. Do I need it? Will I wear it? Why do I want it? Why do I want it NOW? Will I want it in an hour? Will I want it tomorrow? How about in a week? Can I wait for a sale? Can I wait forever? Will I even remember this item in a week?

A lot of times it's easy to justify your reasons for BUYING it, even if they make no sense (it's sooo cute, I'll wear it every day!, it's such a good deal I can't pass it up!) Instead, justify your reasons for NOT buying it using similarly possibly-unsound reasons: it's overpriced, that's WAY too much for shipping, it probably won't fit me and I'll have to exchange it - what a headache, I bet it's poorly made, it's probably on sale because nobody else wanted it, this website is going to steal my credit card number!

Yeah, they might sound crazy, but if your justifications work to convince you to make the purchase, they'll work to keep you from buying, too. At least that's what works for me.

But you don't have to take my word for it.

(image source)

1 comment:

  1. Wow, do we really have EVERYthing in common besides Lisa Frank love...?! Aside from the fact that I do enjoy TV, I could have written this...XD


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