Hunters & Gatherers
So before I properly begin, I wanted to give a little disclaimer that I am not a big fan of shopping, especially as a way of spending my free time. In fact, go shopping at the mall it’s the last thing I would like to do during my day off from work for 2 reasons.
I treat shopping as a necessity, not a hobby, sport or social activity. For me, shopping is a simple act, based on my simple needs. Which basically means that when I need to buy some material goods I switch to a hunter mode and I go hunting. So it looks like this:
- First I do my research online
- Next, I plan & organize every detail of my hunting trip
- Then I go on a mission
- I hunt the product I have chosen earlier
- And once I got my goods I come back home
I get extremely anxious in crowded places and as we all know shopping malls are always full of people frantically looking for new things to buy. And for me, that’s just too many people in one place at the same time. Call me crazy, but it’s just how it is.
In case you’re wondering why I don’t shop in several small shops instead of going to the mall. Well, that’s exactly how I prefer to buy the stuff I need but still, it’s no fun at all. So, of course, I shop online, whenever I can, because it’s easier, faster and in most cases much cheaper. Not to mention an infinite number of possibilities that online shopping gives you. You can sit comfortably at your desk find the perfect product in a matter of minutes, buy it and even chose a delivery at a convenient time for you. Well, that’s an undeniable advantage of living in 2019, isn’t it?
So I am a hunter. But it does not mean that I have something against the gatherer mode as a type of consumer behavior. Treating shopping as a social activity and an opportunity to chat with seller or service provider about all the options you as a consumer have, can be a mindful approach to shopping, too. So if you prefer to dedicate more time for shopping, going as far as you possibly can and then on the way back to gather all the stuff you didn’t notice earlier that’s completely fine with me. Everyone is different. Some people prefer to be quick, focused and decisive during their shopping trips other likes to get a closer look and try everything before they decide to purchase the product. Both of these consumer behaviors have some advantages and disadvantages.
What matters is what shopping means to you and how the act of buying new things makes you feel about yourself.
- Are you acting with awareness while you’re shopping?
- Are you truly experiencing the present moment without judging it?
- Are you mindful with your spendings and savings?
- Are you attached to material possessions?
- Do you make a mindful shopping list before going shopping?
A Mindful Consumer Or Impulsive Buyer?
- What is your consumer behavior?
- How do you make your buying decisions?
- What is your spending mode?
- What the stuff you buy says about you?
- What are the most important possessions you have?
- Are you a mindful consumer or impulsive buyer?
- What are the most important possessions you have?
Mindful, NOT Mindless Spending - shop smart not fast
Mindful spending means having control over your spending and make rational purchases. Let’s face it, the temptation is everywhere. Advertising manipulates our purchase choices and spending habits just like marketers compete to create artificial needs that have to be fulfilled immediately and at any costs which only encourages us to mindlessly spend our money. The easiest way to avoid that is to take a deep breath, think about if you really need this product or service and how it will make your life easier and more comfortable. And then ask yourself if you really want to buy it. Be attentive. Be in control.
- Make rational consumer decisions based on your real needs, not artificial ones invented by marketers to sell more and more products
- Plan your shopping (always make a grocery list, use the internet to search for discounts, coupons, and special offers)
- Improve your customer behavior
- Identify the factors that influence your purchasing habits
- Stop mindlessly spending your money constantly buying new stuff that you don’t even need or use
- Become a mindful buyer who knows exactly what their real needs are
6 Powerful Tips For Mindful Shopping
1. Think Before Act
Fear of missing out? Do you want to buy something only because everyone around seems to have already bought it and you feel inferior in some way?
Well, first of all, know you’re not alone. I’m certain most of us have done this at some point in our life and many of us continue to do that.
Another important thing is quite obvious but I will say it anyway :
Things that really matter in life can’t be bought in a departmental store. Even in the largest and best-stocked shop in the world, you won’t buy love, hope, respect, trust, happiness, freedom, forgiveness or a second chance. So before you decide to purchase a certain product, take some time, look inside yourself and ask yourself what you are expecting from that thing.
- What kind of feelings, thoughts, and emotions this certain product provoke in you?
- How, if at all purchasing it will change your life?
- Is it a practical and useful product worth your investment or you are just driven by the pleasure sensation of owning and experiencing it?
These are the things to consider before making a purchase.
2. Make A Mindful Shopping List
Before going to the shops make a mindful shopping list. Write down all the thing you are planning to buy and divide them into 3 categories:
Needs (purchase for pleasure) – important and essential things you need in your daily life like groceries, cosmetic products, cleaning supplies or medications
Wants (purchase for purpose) – the things you feel a strong urge to get to satisfy your desire for acquiring it like another pair of jeans, a designer bag or tech gadget that you really don’t need but you’ve always wanted to buy
Wishes – the things that you don’t need or particularly want right now but the purchase of which would change your life for better like a trip around the world or, vintage car or signed the first edition of your favorite book.
3. Create Your Mindful Budgeting Planner
Creating an effective spending plan is key to your financial success because it will help you to:
- Calculate your monthly income
- Determine your expenses
- Divide your expenses into different categories (This simple activity will help you to identify your money wasters and define how much extra money you can down on.)
- Put a price tag on all your expenses
- Avoid bad spending habits
- Avoid debt or go out of debt
4. Track Your Emotions
Non-materialistic life goals lead to happiness. A new car won’t help you to achieve a sense of belonging. The latest smartphone model won’t buy you respect or approval. This new insanely expensive little black dress won’t buy you, love. Money can’t buy true happiness. Or unconditional love. Or authentic friendship. Or freedom. Or a real human connection. The timeless, universal values are not for sale. And will never be. If your goal is money you will never have enough. If you are trying to fill a void in your life with material things it will never work out. Money is not the goal nor the material possessions are. That’s why it is so important to understand what quality, emotion or experience are you really looking for in your life.
- What it is you are really missing in life?
- How does shopping make you feel about yourself?
- Are you an emotional spender?
- Are you easily influenced by advertising?
- Have you ever acquired a product in order to acquire a different personality?
- Does shopping give you the same feeling as getting high?
- What the feeling is that you are looking for when you shop?
This self-reflection exercise will help you to understand what the act of buying really means to you. So take a deep breath, close your eyes, look deep inside yourself and find your answers to these questions about your consumer behavior.
Track your emotions to increase your emotional intelligence and improve your overall health and wellbeing. Practice self-awareness and gratitude when you shop.
Next time when you’ll be shopping track your emotions. Notice, define and write down what are the emotions, emotional responses, behavior, and experience you have short before, during and shortly after your shopping trip.
5. Become A Practical Minimalist
This whole new culture of materialistic capitalism gives us this illusion that the more valuable goods we own the more valuable people we are. Well, that’s a bulls*it. Materialism is a fake illusion. Nothing else. Furthermore, it’s kinda dangerous because this whole materialistic approach to life eats you from the inside out, steals your soul and in my opinion, any sense of a person. Just think about it. How many times you’ve seen thousands of people queue outside the shop, sometimes even for days just to buy some new, limited edition product. I mean, come on, that’s insane…
Not indulging in a materialistic world doesn’t mean that you have to get rid immediately of all the stuff you own. Practical minimalism is not about getting rid of material things, sell your house and live in the woods but about mindful consumption and balanced life.
Mindless consumerism and attachment to material things create SUFFERING.
Practical minimalism HEALS the soul.
6. Use Financial Apps
- Mint (link) – saving and budgeting app
- Acorns (link) – saving and budgeting app
- PocketGuard (link) – extra money spending app
- You Need a Budget (link) – create a budget within your actual income
- Prism Bills&Money (link) – organizing and paying bills app
- Albert (link) – saving, budgeting and paying a debt app
- Travel Wallet (link) – travel budget and expense app
- Wally (link) – professional expense report app
- Tycoon (link) – Freelancers app
- SnipSnap (link) – digital coupon app
- ShopKick (link) – rewards for shopping online and in-store app
- GroceryIQ (link) – intuitive shopping list app
- Bill Watch (link) – managing, organizing and reminding bills payment app
- Venmo (link) – splitting bills and sharing transactions app
- Personal Capital (link)– investment optimization app
And Go For A mindful Shopping!