Last Friday, I had to be rescued from Costco. “What happened?” you ask. “Were you injured? Was there a fire?”
Nope. It was shopping overload. Trying to choose between tenderloins and t-bones, my attention was distracted by the nearby croissants. My inner optimist was cooing, “Ooh, if I got those for the kids we could have a Parisian breakfast tomorrow and pretend we’re in a little café!”
“But there’s no way we can -- or should -- eat two dozen croissants,” fired back my inner pessimist.
I stood rooted to the spot, unable to make a decision.
Am I buying too much? Am I not buying enough? There were just too many decisions to make!
Luckily, it was at that moment that my husband, who was waiting in the car, called to see if I had an ETA. “Please come in and get me,” I said.
So now you know: warehouse stores are my shopping Achilles heel. They’re the perfect storm of gourmet (treating myself/my family), FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) because they don’t always carry all of the same items, and potential bargains -- or are they really a bargain? Maybe I should check online to see how much this thing goes for in other stores...down a rabbit hole of information, possibilities, and options I go.
All of these options and possibilities cause both shopping overload and just plain over-shopping. It’s really easy to put extra stuff into your cart and then you get home and have to find space to put all of these things, plus plan to figure out when and how to use them all.
As we’re approaching the holiday season, now’s the time to tackle your shopping demons and set some strategies to combat them.
Strategy #1: Know Your Enemy
What situations cause you to over-buy? Are warehouse stores your downfall or is it cute boutiques? Do you go crazy with groceries and “necessities” or clothes and accessories? Maybe you over-buy for others.
If you know where you’re likely to be excessive, then you can have a little talk with yourself before you get there.
Strategy #2: Make a List
Writing down a set list -- whether it’s a list of items you plan to buy, a list of people you need to shop for, or a list of stores you need to hit -- will help you get back on track when you wander.
You don’t necessarily have to stick to the list 100% -- it’s fun to be a little spontaneous -- but think of your list as a guardrail to keep you from going overboard and straying too far from your original intentions.
Strategy #3: Save It for Later
When you’re tempted by something you probably don’t need, try saving it for later. Take a picture of it and put it in a “Buy Later” album or write it on a “Buy Later” list.
If you use a paper list, put a date next to when you saw the item so you can go back to it in a month or so and see if you’re still tempted by it. If you always carry your smartphone, use a list app such as TickTick where you can set up automatic reminders to let you know when to reconsider the purchase.
Chances are, when you look at the item on your list a month from now, away from the thrill of the shopping hunt, you’ll realize you don’t really want it anymore.
Strategy #4: Use the Buddy System
I was lucky that my husband was there to rescue me from my Costco-induced paralysis. When you’re heading into a tricky shopping situation, either bring a buddy with you (NOT someone who will encourage you to overspend!) or have a buddy on speed-dial/text so you can reach out to be talked down.
Armed with my 4 strategies, you can go forth and shop with purpose!
Now that you know my shopping demon, what’s yours?
What are your best strategies for slaying the demon?
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