There’s often a misconception, that because I’m a financial planner, I consider shopping to be “naughty”. People then confess their retail splurges to me, and I can sense guilt imbedded in their voices, as they prepare for me to judge or lecture them…but to their surprise or even disappointment, I don’t.
If you have read Mindful Money, you will know that I enjoy the shopping experience, but only when it is done properly.
You have my approval to shop, but there is one key condition: purchases must be made with careful consideration. You should shop with a sense of presence (really immerse yourself in the process), gratitude and a responsible mindset.
When we shop mindfully, we not only feel more satisfied with our purchase, but it retains a stronger practical value in our lives. There won’t be a need to constantly satiate our desire, though mindless purchases. When we shop to quench our emotional problems or without much thought, we often fill our shopping baskets with junk. Like eating junk food, our impulse purchases will give us that temporary high, yet that euphoria will gradually wear off as the long-term gains are non-existent.
Over the years, I have cultivated 7 key techniques to ensure I shop mindfully and make guilt-free purchases. I hope by sharing these techniques with you, we can all enjoy our shopping experiences with more joy, respect and dignity.
- Be a fussy shopper – when you are more meticulous with your purchases, you raise your expectations. When you demand higher quality, you will respect your purchases more and the item will have longer-term value in your life. And quality does not always equate to spending more. One of my favourite shopping apps, Klarna, immediately notifies me of discounts on my favourite items, so I never miss out on any potential savings. Because who really has time to scout for sales every single hour?
- Be exclusive – I only shop with a select few brands and stores. This gives me more certainty with their quality, durability, customer service etc. A lot of risk is removed when you shop from a familiar retailer; in particular, it saves me time, as I rarely have to return items.
- Build a wish list but curate it regularly to fit your needs – this is probably my favourite feature on the Klarna App. When I discover a covetable item, I can quickly and easily add them to a wish list on the Klarna App and come back to them to reconsider later. Sometimes I realise that I didn’t like the item as much as I originally thought (which saves me money), and sometimes I realise how much I would value and appreciate that item. Then I decide to buy.
- Consider the pre-loved market – about 80% of my clothes, shoes and accessories are second hand. This is a great way to afford luxury designer goods but also reduce our environmental footprint. I often search for pre-loved capsule wardrobe pieces at some of my favourite retailers through the Klarna App.
- Save or budget first – if I decide a product purchase will add value to my life, I either save up the money and purchase in cash or I will use Klarna’s Buy Now Pay Later App. However, if I use this, I will always check my budget and cashflow first, to ensure that I can comfortably afford the fortnightly fixed payment plan or even better, pay it off earlier than the 6-week offer. And of course, these payments always come out of my everyday savings account, with a diary note in my phone reminding me of the upcoming instalment.
- Financial Rewards – for special splurges, such as a new handbag, I will align these purchases with the achievement of my financial and personal goals. I often write down a goal, such as building up a certain amount of savings by a particular date and aim to accomplish this before rewarding myself with the purchase. This way, I can enjoy my purchases guilt free and when I wear that item, I feel a sense of pride and satisfaction, knowing that I earned the right to purchase pricier products. This keeps me on the straight and narrow, but with a sense of balance and fun along the way.
- Savour the moment – I like to shop slowly, take my time and enjoy the experience. For my online shopping, I love that it is so easy to research before buying, as there is so much free advice and inspiration online from how to style or wear your purchases before committing. I love to include this process as part of my shopping experience, normally with a coffee, sitting comfortably at home. Then when my item arrives, I am excited and welcome it with open arms, knowing exactly how it is going to work for me, or suit me and my needs. More importantly, I know it’s within the parameters of my budget.
Shopping isn’t bad, wrong or even greedy. It is a necessary part of life and helps sprinkle some colour, but like anything we do, from the food we eat, to the way we take care of our minds and bodies, it should be done mindfully. And as my shopping mantra advises, only buy what you love, value, use and appreciate.