9 mindful shopping tips that can save you money (and make you happier!)
‘Mindfulness’ is a big buzzword these days. Referring to the practice of consciously observing your body and breath without judgment, mindfulness has gained ground in our culture as a coping mechanism; a way to deal with our feelings. Part of the appeal of mindfulness is that it’s a technique that can be applied to just about any aspect of life. You’ve no doubt heard of mindful eating, and perhaps even mindful moving. Now, mindful shopping is gaining ground in response to our seemingly innate tendency towards impulsive (and compulsive!) shopping.
It has always been easier to spend money than to earn it, but it turns out there’s an even bigger problem now that we don’t tend to see or touch real cash. Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos of University College London, has shown in his research that the brain experiences more discomfort spending cash money as opposed to digital money. In other words, it’s easier to spend recklessly in an economy dominated by credit card transactions.
These mindless shopping habits can have serious repercussions on our daily lives, including buyer’s remorse, skewed financial priorities and increased levels of anxiety and unhappiness. Ultimately, it can lead to unnecessary debt, put a strain on relationships and even contribute to hoarding tendencies.
Mindful shopping addresses the emotions at the root of reckless spending, and can serve as a means of regaining control of your bank account balance – and your emotional wellbeing.
Savour each sensation – then let them go
The moment you step into a shop, your body’s five senses contribute to an overall feeling – positive or negative – about the merchandise you’re interacting with. How does it feel when you touch it? How does it look? What does it smell like? When those sensations are pleasurable, it can trigger a feeling of euphoria – and a strong compulsion to buy the product, whether or not it’s necessary or even in your budget. The key to not getting swept up in that euphoria is to take a moment to consciously observe those body sensations as merely that: body sensations. When you come across that perfect pair of jeans, for instance, those physical sensations might include a slight increase in your heartbeat, a sharp intake of breath, or even a tingling at the back of your neck. The moment you consciously take note of these sensations – without wishing for them to get stronger or last longer – you are truly ‘present’. Awareness of the passing nature of these feelings is at the core of mindful shopping.
Make a mindful shopping list
A mindful shopping list is one that serves to separate your daily expenses into ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ on an emotional level. A ‘need’ fulfils an essential, practical purpose which may or may not be pleasurable, like buying groceries so that you can feed yourself and your family. A ‘want’, on the other hand, is largely driven by the pleasure sensation of owning or experiencing a product, whether it’s acquiring another Louis Vuitton bag or an autographed cricket ball.
Spending too much on your ‘needs’? Learn how to be a savvy shopper and spend less on your groceries.