A word of caution
That said, a lot of you will likely have taken to online shopping. While going on the internet and having things sent to you appears to be the way forward, there are some drawbacks here, both ethical and practical.
From a practical point of view, having things sent can be useful, especially if you are absolutely certain that what you order is exactly what you want. That is relatively simple when items like socks, books or other kind of entertainment items are concerned as those tend to be exactly as described.
Things get a little more tricky when it comes to clothing, though. You can never be quite sure which size fits you (or if it fits at all), so many people have the same items sent in multiple sizes and colours to try them on and return the ones they don’t want. Sounds brilliant, but this has two gigantic money pits built in: for one thing you are likely to keep one of each colour/model rather than sticking to one. On the other hand you’ll have to make sure to actually return the things you don’t want. It’s easy to forget and the money is invisible as it has come from your credit card.
Ethically, sending huge amounts of stuff across the country or the world is a bit of a conundrum as well: do you really be responsible for the extra unnecessary pollution, traffic problems and production of things that are never going to be used?
In the shop
Assuming you take the hint and go to an actual shop, you may be tempted to wander the isles, pick up more and more items, try them on and walk out with much more than you intended to buy in the first place.
Here’s a trick: when you find an item you like, stop right there and take it. No need to keep comparing or searching. This will only confuse your choices, lead to a lot of time spent on an unnecessary task. It will make you less happy because you are never quite sure if a better item is around the next corner. Stick with your first choice and you’ll be enjoying it more, and you’ll save time and money on top of that.
Make sure to stay focused: if you DO like to go shopping with friends as a way to spend time together, maybe you should make a clear distinction between “shopping for fun” and “shopping out of necessity”. Shopping for fun is certainly nice, but you could resolve to put a limit on your spending beforehand or even limit your activities to window-shopping to get an idea what’s there, but not buy anything right away. That way, when you actually need a new blouse, you have already see where you need to look. This will again save you time and make the whole “shopping out of necessity” thing much less convoluted and efficient.
That separation thing can be quite powerful when you are thinking about other situations where you may end up spending money when you didn’t intend to do so in the first place. If you are constantly worried about overspending, making clear decisions on whether you are going to spend money that day or if you are only looking may be your best preparation going forward.
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Hi, my name is Tilo Flache. My current mission: help my clients declutter mind and space.
This blog contains pointers for your journey towards a happier living experience.