I admit it. Last Sunday I found myself spending 3 hours of my life at Kohls, all because of a 30% off coupon burning a hole in my pocket. It wasn’t that I needed anything. I was just looking for something to buy so I could feel good about getting a discount. And, I wasn’t alone. I ran into friends there doing the same thing.
These stores have it down to a science. They do research and stuff to figure out how to pull us in. And, it works.
When I checked out, tired and frustrated from trying on lots of clothes that made me look fat, the sweet young man pointed out that I spent about $20, and saved $75. He looked at me like I was the smartest person in the world. And then, for some unknown reason, he gave me a $10 off coupon that can only be used next week. I just wanted to kick him.
It’s not only advertising and stores we need to look out for. There are endless ways we can become shopping zombies.
I have a client who came to me because she felt stressed and dissatisfied with her life. She had set goals to make friends in her new community and felt more people were falling away than sticking around. In our first conversation, I noticed the word Groupon came up a lot.
She thought she could use Groupon opportunities to meet new people and make friends. What really happened was that she became so busy with her special offers she didn’t have time for the new people in her life. When deadlines approached her stress levels would rise and she would find herself canceling time with new friends to use her expiring discounts. Eventually, they gave up on her as she fell deeper and deeper into Groupon addiction without even realizing what was happening.
How are we to live within our means and in alignment with our values when we are being constantly programmed to become shopping zombies?
Staying tuned in to your highest self, what you value most, and your financial goals will serve you well. Chances are, it’s not shiny new objects you really want, but something deeper and more meaningful. This focus on values will support you in making conscious choices and putting shopping strategies in place, like the following ones that have worked for my clients:
- Read your intentions and goals before going to the store.
- Create a list and stick to it.
- Rate what you want on a scale of 1 to 10. If it is not an 8 or above, don’t get it.
- Walk away and sleep on it. Chances are you won’t want it as much the next day.
- Avoid malls and online shopping sites.
- Ask yourself if what you want will bring meaning to your life or fulfill a current need?
- Set a time limit for being in the store.
- Give yourself a set amount of cash each month and don’t use your credit cards.
- Put a note on your credit card reminding you of your goals.
- Learn to say “no” to your children. Spending money does not equal love.
- Don’t live in scarcity. Plan for small treats.
- Freeze your credit card
- Create a 30 day wait list for things you think you want to buy
- Know what you have. You may already own something that is similar or will work.
Shopping is not a bad thing unless you are spending more than you earn or stepping out of alignment with your goals and values.
We all deserve something new once in a while. But, when you get that guilty feeling in the pit of your stomach or like me, find yourself wasting entire afternoons looking for something to buy, chances are you are experiencing Shopping Zombie Syndrome and it’s time to come alive again.
I would love to hear what shopping strategies you use. Please feel free to share by commenting below.