Hey guys, have you had a day when nothing was working out well for you since morning. You had a very non-productive day so far. To distract yourself you wasted some time on social media , by seeing some images, you couldn’t help but compare your entire life with someone you did not even know. You felt so sick of yourself that without even noticing, you picked your bag and went off to the shopping area in your town/ city. After couple of hours you came back bag full of clothes you did not need, shoes that were on sale, bags that you thought were trendy but had no clue where to store them as you are running out of space in your closet.
Well I want to believe that there are some of you out there who have similar story to share because this is a true story from my life six months ago. I know it sounds bad, but I wanted to share it on the blog in hope that it helps someone who think it is impossible to break the habit of impulsive shopping. I will tell you 5 hacks that helped me come clean 😉
Disclaimer: These hacks worked on me for two reasons: (1) I was NOT in denial that I am an impulsive shopper. (2) I wanted to make an effort to stop doing what I was doing.
- Making an inventory of all your clothes, shoes, bags and other accessories: This is the first thing I did when I decided to do something about my impulsive shopping habit. Believe me, it is such a revealing process: you really come face to face with the problem. You come to realize how much stuff you have that is taking all the space in your wardrobe and boxes in the basement. While you are making this inventory, you start feeling conscious about the fact that you really SHOP a lot and that you mostly SHOP nonsense. You may also find clothing pieces that you in your sane frame of mind will never wear, why? because they are three sizes too small for you. Am I questioning your will to lose that much weight? No and Yes. Let’s be real here: going three sizes down is a hard work and will not happen in the coming two months, so why not wait until you get there? And let’s be honest if you had such a strong will to lose three sizes in two months, you would probably not be finding ways to break your habit of impulsive shopping. WHAT ! I am the only one who did that? well, I am all embarrassed now but will go ahead anyway to tell you what to do next.
- Make credit cards as much inaccessible to yourself as possible: It can be tough, but not impossible. What helped me a lot was lowering the allowance limit on my credit cards, that way after reaching a certain amount the card would stop working. I also made sure that I do not carry them around. I kept them in a separate wallet locked away in my office cabinet. The situation may vary for you but I found it helpful because most of the online browsing I did was at home. So not having credit cards accessible helped me to wait until I go to the office tomorrow and thankfully that tomorrow never came at least till the time I was trying hard to break the habit.
- If you walk into the shopping store (on one of those vulnerable days), make sure that you have NO to VERY LITTLE cash: You will be amazed to know what difference it makes when you pay in cash. I can tell for myself that paying 250 CHF never bothered me through credit card BUT paying 100 CHF in cash almost choked me to death. You somehow realize that the money is REAl and you start seeing the worth of it and somehow become more cautious as to where your money is going. Try this for a few days and you will know what I am talking about.
- Cancel the page right after you fill the shopping cart ONLINE: To curb my urge for shopping on one of those impulsive days, I made my own game. You can try if you like. Go online, of course without holding your credit card details handy, because that spoils the game and make you lose ;-). Fill your shopping cart like crazy, fill in as much as possible and cancel the page right after filling the online shopping cart. I remember doing that, and I still do it sometimes. It feels awesome. First of all, you feel good because you did something unimaginable, and that makes you feel joyous for your little victory. Second, you come to realize that the world did not come to an end really, when you canceled the page. Nothing in that shopping cart was as important as you may have thought. You feel you own the authority and power because you can anytime go to the website, fill in the cart and cancel it.
- Keep the shopping cart hanging there for days and if possible for weeks: Now that you have mastered the art of fighting and winning over impulsive urge for shopping, you can try this another little game I play often: you fill the shopping cart, keep the webpage as it is for the next day. Glance through what all you had selected. Two things will happen at this point. (1). You would still like all the choices you made in the shopping cart , in that case you quickly go back to whatever else you were doing, leave the webpage behind. I hope by this time you feel empowered enough to do that. However (2) if you realize that some of the things in your cart do not instill the excitement anymore, remove them from the cart. As you will see the total balance decreasing , you may get motivated to continue playing this game for another day. I have palyed this game over and over and believe me, in the end, there is none to a very few things that I actually bought. If Sephora people care enough to keep a check on IP addresses, they would want to kill me for teasing them like that -filling in the cart and never buying anything 🙂
So guys, these are my 5 hacks that I successfully used to get over my habit of impulsive shopping. There are so many great distractions like going for long walks, reading, painting, gym, cooking …when we are not feeling good about ourselves. Shopping should remain a pleasure activity and it should be enjoyed thoroughly but people who shop impulsively would agree that none of that happiness last longer than a few hours before it makes us feel vulnerable again, because we shopped for the wrong reasons and burnt a hole in our pocket no matter how big or small.
The degree of urge can vary from people to people but we live in the world of temptation and subscription to the shop newsletters and advertisements are the traps too difficult to resist for many of us. But with my experience I can tell, that shopping has become much more enjoyable now that I am always conscious of my shopping decisions. I am still learning to be more conscious of my choices and try to go towards minimalism, long way to go but I am enjoying the learning so far.
Please share your thoughts on the topic and any hacks that you may have used to face the monster.