If you feel bad about buying something new, I know exactly how you feel. I have felt that way more times than I care to admit.
Emotions and shopping go hand in hand. I used to buy something new after a bad day for a little lift. I bought things to celebrate big accomplishments. I shopped in the excitement of a new habit, like joining a gym for daily workouts. I’d buy new work-out clothes and shoes and the habit would fizzle out after a few months.
And then there were the post-shopping emotions. I felt guilty for spending too much money, annoyed when something went on sale months after I bought it, and frustrated when things didn’t fit right or change my life in any profound way.
As I began to change my ways and simplify my life, I discovered a few things that helped ease the pain I was creating by attempting to shop away my feelings.
Take a purchase pause.
Put a pause on non-essential purchases. Instead of buying with your money, fake the purchase on paper. For 30-60 days, keep a running list of everything you want to buy with the price of each item, but don’t actually buy anything.
At the end of your purchase pause, add up what you would have spent, and ask yourself two questions:
- Is there anything on the list I still want as much as I thought I did?
- If someone handed me the total of my fake purchases in cash, would I use it to buy all the things on the list, or use it for something else?
This experiment will provide you with valuable information to consider before future purchases.
Trade shopping for self-care.
I used to shop for every event and emotion. Now, when I feel myself getting stressed, tired, sick, frustrated, or bored, I take better care of myself. When I’m not feeling my best, I know my heart is saying, “take care of me.” and not, “let’s go shopping.”
Instead of going shopping I …
- take a walk
- go to yoga
- call a friend
- make a smoothie
- listen to Frank Sinatra
- sleep for an extra hour
- send a thank you note
These simple things provide more happiness, motivation, and energy, than shopping ever did.
You can return that.
Almost everything you purchase can be returned. If you bought something recently that is weighing you down financially or emotionally, return it. If it’s too late to return it, give it away, or sell it. Don’t hold on to something that makes you feel bad.
Sometimes, especially if you are just going through the motions, or stuck in a pattern of shopping to feel your way out of feeling, or holding on to things out of guilt, it’s hard to detect the real hold that stuff and shopping has on you. Once you begin to simplify your life, you will begin to see how your shopping and spending habits are really affecting your life.
I don’t hold on to guilt or feel bad for my past purchase transgressions, because I finally realized I paid enough. I paid with my money, my time, my attention, and emotions.
Accepting the fact that I had paid enough allowed me to cut the ties between emotion, shopping, and holding on. With that simple truth, I finally let go.
Haven’t you paid enough too?