Coupons, Discounts, and Shopping Zombie Syndrome

tired woman surrounded by shopping bags

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.

Thankful

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Every Thanksgiving I write a list of at least 100 things I am grateful for.  I decided to start my list a little early this year and this is what I have so far.

I am Thankful for:

  1. My health and the freedom it gives me
  2. My two cats who keep me entertained and loved up
  3. Amazing clients who trust me to guide them and witness their life journeys
  4. Each and every success of my clients, friends, family, and everyone around me
  5. The opportunity to give and receive as a volunteer
  6. All that I am learning from being with my friend in hospice
  7. Finding two amazing communities that feel like soul homes
  8. My friends who are trying to teach me how to receive instead of just giving all the time
  9. The many inspiring books that have come through my life this year
  10. Visits to see my son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren who I love deeply

And, this is just the beginning…

What will be on your list this year?  

 

How to Clear Out Your Wardrobe When You Don’t Want to Let Anything Go

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With the change of seasons (not that it is very noticeable here in CA), I decided to pull out my winter clothes and see what I could piece together for my cool weather wardrobe.

I have to admit that while I am not a big shopper, I do like getting a good deal.  This has resulted in my having a hodgepodge of clothes, many of which do not go together.  It is challenging for me to clear some of them out because they are nice and might fit with something new I pick up in the future.  So, even though I don’t have a ton of clothes there is a sense of chaos.

What I want is a closet with nice, well made clothes that go together.  I want to open it and see a few complete outfits as my choices for each day.

And then, all I have to do each morning is ask them, “Who wants to come out and play?

This weekend I tried to tackle the project of clearing my closet.  I must not have been in the right mood for it because I kept putting back things that had been placed in the donate pile.  Instead of pushing myself, I simply accepted where I was at and chose an easier process that might work for you as well.

  • I discarded anything stained or damaged.  My two cats have a habit of putting holes in my clothes when they do that pawing thing before laying in my lap and I’m not really a fan of the shredded bag lady look.
  • I stashed summer clothing and things I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be wearing for a while in the back of the closet where they would be out of my line of vision.
  • I put together a few outfits for casual, business, and exercise/lounging with what remained and gave them center stage with lots of empty space around them.
  • I then turned all of the hangers for this season’s clothing backwards. When things are worn and laundered they will be hung the normal direction.  In a couple weeks it will be easy to see what I truly enjoy wearing.

My closet looks much better and the chaotic feeling is gone.  My choices are more clear each day and I am only wearing things I feel good in.  It feels very peaceful to have a simple wardrobe, even when I haven’t cleared it all out.

My intention is to return to this project for phase 2 in a couple weeks and move out all those items that I am not really wearing.  The experience of enjoying a simple organized wardrobe will make those choices much easier.

Tokens and T-Shirts – How to Stay Grounded, Inspired, and Focused

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Remember those old Nike t-shirts that said, “Just Do It!”  I used to have one and I am pretty sure it had magical powers that helped me run up hills.  Just knowing I had it on boosted my focus and motivation.  I was inspired!

When we assign meaning to the things around us, we can use them to help us feel more grounded, motivated, or connected to our intentions. 

I have clients and friends who carry pocket tokens with words on them, heart shaped stones, or prayer beads.  I once carried an acorn from my friend’s farm in Tennessee so I could stay connected to the peaceful feeling I felt there.   Other ways to tap into the power of symbols include wearing t-shirts with sayings, heart shaped jewelry, or anything that triggers the feeling you want.

This morning I talked to a young client facing her first college midterms.  When she takes her test tomorrow she will be wearing a favorite necklace to serve as a reminder of how calm, focused, and confident she can be.  She is going to do great.

What would you like to stay connected to?  What can you carry with you as its symbol?  Go ahead.  Try it.  You might be surprised at how well it works.

Today, my reminder is to wear a t-shirt that says, “Life is Good!”  And, so it is!

Are You On Track to Living Your Most Meaningful Life?

We are happiest when our lives are in alignment with our core values.  Living in a way that reflects what is most meaningful to us, allows us to feel more peaceful, grounded, and fullfilled. Anything that conflicts with our values will create more stress and dissonance in our lives. Continue reading

The Gifts of Simple Living

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Simple living gets a bad rap.  It can bring up images of living in a cabin in the woods with one plate, one fork, and having to raise your own food.  Or, a house that is cold, colorless, empty, and devoid of personality.  And, what about those old, worn, and frumpy thrift store clothes you will have to wear?

The truth is living a simple life is not about that at all.   Continue reading