You know the scene.
Walking out of the store shopping bags in hand, and feeling both sheer joy, and if you’re me…that third tequila drink. It’s called a shopping high. I came, I shopped, I conquered. Now, the perfect pair of jeans are MINE! Well, almost perfect.
Fast forward to a couple weeks later.
I am getting ready to meet some friends, and I bust out my new jeans. This can’t be happening. They are still too small. Remember when I said these jeans were almost perfect? They just happen to be a size smaller than I normally wear. You know, for when I lose those last five pounds.
Have you ever found yourself in this situation?
The store didn’t have my size so instead of ordering my correct size, I purchase the only right-now-slightly-too-small-option hoping desperately that my body will magically transform into one of the Hadid’s by morning.
Returning the jeans feels like an admission of failure! So, I keep them in my closet, as a torture device to remind myself of my inconsistent gym visits. Sometimes, the jeans catch my eye in the closet, and I try to squeeze into them. First, there’s a little ray of hope, then comes utter frustration and defeat. AHHH!
Does this story sound familiar?
Unfortunately, buying things that we don’t need, that do not fit us, and that we can’t afford is an all too common problem.
Turns out there are several reasons why we do this to ourselves.
The first reason is:
Buying things makes us feel more secure, and keeps us fantasizing about the life we wish we had. It helps us feel like we are keeping up with our peers and co-workers, and can even take us out of our routine and into places we would rather be. (That’s probably why I bought those Marant Sandals in the middle of winter)! In my defense they were on sale!
Reactive buying is when we buy things that reflect our feelings. For example:
Sad= I buy a new top that makes me feel better.
Had a hard day at work= I’m going to buy an expensive bag to get me through the work week.
A bad breakup= I definitely need an entire new wardrobe. Can’t be reminded of anything I wore while I was dating that a**.
Angry at spouse= Taking his card and going to buy a new pair of shoes….or three!
And the list goes on.
Let me be clear I am not your shopping buzzkill.
Occasional shopping for instant gratification or reactive buying is ok from time to time. It’s fun, and it can make us feel better! I am down for self care, but it is important to know WHY you’re shopping. Are you having a bad day? Feeling down? Check out those feelings before you run to the check out. Cheesey I know, but seriously, look at why you’re shopping, and save yourself the return postage on those unnecessary purchases.
So how do you make better shopping decisions?
Let’s break it down using the Want it Need it Have to Have it method.
This part is easy! Do you want this item? 9 times out of 10 the answer is going to be yes, because we are humans and love new shiny things.
So if the answer is yes, then next ask yourself why? Why do you want this item? Do you need to expand your wardrobe? Are you running out of casual tops? Do you need a good running shoe, because you are planning on starting a running habit? Figure out the why before you buy.
This part is very subjective so let me be clear. Cause I know ya’ll will be trying to justify some of your crazy purchases!
- Does the item fall into a category of clothing you wear often? (work, days off, social events etc).
- Is the item for a special occasion that is actually happening? Don’t be buying stuff for an invisible party you haven’t been invited to yet!
- Can you wear it with at least four other pieces in your wardrobe?
- Does it fit? Do not buy it for your body ten pounds thinner from now. You haven’t done the work so you don’t get a prize! You will just end up torturing yourself with a closet full of clothes that make you feel unattractive!
- Do you need to buy other items to make it work? If so, are you prepared to do so? Do you need to wear spanx or a cami? Will you buy those items to accompany this piece? Be honest with yourself.
- Is it like something you already have? Is it like the piece you wear ALL the time? Ok, sure it is nice to have back-ups, and you may want another cozy sweater, or comfortable shoe, but let’s not get carried away. You don’t need ten of the same item. Variety is the spice of life!
IF you answer yes to these questions then you can go ahead and make a purchase with a clear conscience.
If you both want it AND truly need it, then you obviously have to have it!
It’s all about tuning into the why behind the buy.
Don’t end up with a closet full of clothes that remind you of all the money you could have saved, the life you’re wishing for, or the body you don’t have. When we dress for the life (and body) we have now, it gives us room to create the life we want!
What are your best strategies for shopping smarter? Let me know! I read every comment and every email!