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Mindful Shopping: How To Be Deliberate About What To Buy
Mindful Shopping: How To Be Deliberate About What To Buy
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Mindful Shopping: How To Be Deliberate About What To Buy

Doreen Gathoni
February 2, 2022

While some may reason that choosing to be happy by getting what you want and need is being mindful of oneself, this reasoning does not consider future consequences. 

That is the implications of your spending habits on your financial habits. They say a little of saving goes a long way. Which is indeed true when you consider the savings that are to be made in adjusting your spending habits to align with your financial goals. 

What Is Mindful Shopping?

Mindful shopping refers to making purchasing decisions that realistically support a balanced, quality lifestyle through informed financial habits. 

By being a mindful shopper, you make the deliberate choice to live better and spend better, in six easy-to-do ways:-

1. Take Stock Of What You Have

The goal is to align your spending with values that support your financial goals. For example, if you are a landscaper it makes more sense to buy your lawnmower rather than leasing a lawnmower because it’s a necessary tool for your job.

By taking stock of what you have, you focus on regularly inspecting what you do have, to identify what you don’t have

The next step is to break down what you don’t have into needs and wants – so you can prioritise your budget items. 

For what you do have, learn to optimise their use; for example, fix what needs to/you can fix and make note of the items you need. Using the same example above, if your gardening/landscaping tools are malfunctioning, you can consider maintain them by cleaning and sharpening yourself or replacing some parts over buying new equipment.

Once you’re clear on what you do need, what you don't need, and what your wants are – go ahead and make a shopping list, with your budget in mind

Remember to stick to your shopping list and you’ll gradually learn to enjoy the feeling and rewards of your self-discipline. For instance:-

  • Make sure your shopping list is well laid-out. For example, group your list items' according to where you plan to shop and use that as your “personal shopping map”, to keep you on track.
  • If you are grocery shopping, start by checking what’s in the pantry, shelves, and fridge. Based on your diet preferences, buy food that complements what you have, and you can look forward to a tasty meal, as a result of your smart money move.
  • If you are clothes shopping, go through your wardrobe to note what you need and what you can fix or mend. For example, if you have a pair of jeans that are too big, take them to the tailor, if your shoes are worn-out; consider if you actually need to buy another pair or do you already have enough?

2. Shop In-Person Where Possible & Skip Delivery Fees

Getting to shop and having your items delivered to you from anywhere in the world, has tons of benefits, but unchecked, it sums up being an expensive shopping affair.

Other than the mini-workout you get when you are out shopping, here are some additional advantages:- 

  • You can negotiate further and eliminate the delivery fees - with online shopping what you see is what you get as priced. 
  • When you shop at your local stores in person, the 24/7 convenience is unavailable and you will tend to be more mindful about your shopping errands because you’ll be on a schedule and a budget. 
  • Remember to BYOB (bring-your-own-bag). No need to pay extra for shopping bags – go green and carry your shopping bag or go for any of these eco-budget friendly ideas 

3. Ask For E-receipts

Receipts are important for personal and financial accountability but the low durability of paper receipts can derail your fiscal responsibility efforts.

For stress-free record-keeping for long-term documentation and unlimited storage space for eco-friendly, money management, insist on e-receipts that will typically come in the form of app installs.  

Local stores do offer the option of e-receipts; simply sign up for their e-service and you’ll also get access to e-notifications on sales and you can start earning customer loyalty points, each time you shop at the store.

Also, whenever you use e-payment mode, automated e-receipts are generated and all you have to do is save them on your device, cloud account, or email for later reference. 

It's quite an exciting game-changer for your financial management efforts.

4. Consider Thrift Shopping 

If you’re keen on affordable, unique purchase options, second-hand shopping could be a smart move for you. 

From furniture to clothing to decorative items and more – buying secondhand is a sustainable option and a thrifty practice you can sustain due to the availability of thrift stores / second-hand a.k.a mutumba 

Another fun, cost-saving option is to have a meet-and-swap with family and friends. Think of this as a barter trade of pre-owned items where you get to skip the hassle of wading through piles of second-hand clothes and crowded streets at little-to-no cost.

5. Do your research. Think Quality Not Quantity

We often stick to what we’re used to but researching alternatives to what we’re used to buying can have numerous advantages. 

You often come across information on sustainable yet affordable options that offer value-add benefits like re-usable packaging and durable production materials.  

Quality items are made to last longer, which means you save time and money and there’s less need to buy more or replace due to breakdown or irreversible wear-and-tear.

All you have to do after is to be mindful of your purchases before and after purchase, that is, keep them clean/correctly maintain them, store properly and use them correctly

Word-Of-Advice: If you don’t find what you require (in availability and/or quality), be patient.

Check-in with the stores regularly for re-stock updates and/or keep searching for alternate stores or sellers that offer what you are looking for without compromising on affordability and quality.

6. Avoid The “Clutter Trap” 

This is an example of a “clutter trap”- Buy 2, Get 1 Free (or) Buy 2 for the price of 1’…

The trap is in that, the item on offer is hyped through different marketing tactics like price tag colour switch or a loud display or fronted by a charismatic sales personnel. However, the item is not on offer or is on offer at a very low price-cut, with a freebie included.

If you’re not yet convinced, ask yourself if the offer is worth deviating from your budget - do you need so many of the same products? 

If you only need one of something, then only buy one of that something. Buying extra items to save a few shillings isn’t the best decision, especially, if you rarely use/don't use them or you do not have space to store the items (remember, you have a shopping list to stick to). 

7. In With The New. Out With The Old

From a mindful shopping view – this means you buy to enhance yourself. 

That is, shop to compliment your current needs, obligations, and current personal style and limitations, like considering real-time healthcare needs, dietary needs, how much storage space you have, and so on. 

With the above in mind, pick out what and when you can declutter. For example, every end-of-year have a scheduled weekend to sort through your wardrobe and note what to donate, sell, re-gift, or item-swap with friends and/or relatives.

Word-Of-Advice: As you work towards regularly doing so, remember; storage is not the answer to clutter. Get rid of what you can and be more aware of what you have and what you need

Keep Calm & Mind Your Money  

Mindful shopping is every shopper’s choice made easier.

Even though becoming a mindful shopper might not be possible in a day, it’s possible to take a few minutes or a day per week to sort the clutter in your home, review your budget, browse for offers, and so on. 

Just remember to be methodical and patient, even as you enjoy trips to the store, malls, and the online shopping convenience of ordering items to your front door.

Gathoni is a skilled content developer with over 5 years of experience in content development as a graphic design and copywriter, in different industry sectors. Her passion to nurture positive, stronger, communication impact continues. You can find her on LinkedIn here.

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