How to become a mindful shopper
As published on the #lessbutluxe blog.
When you aim to reduce clutter, buy better quality, or live more sustainably, shopping mindfully can get you a big step closer to your goal. Shopping mindfully simply means thinking twice before we make a purchase. Because then we most likely buy less and better.
Why Being Mindful When We Shop?
Conscious buying decisions will save you time and money and support sustainability. Here are some examples of the positive effects shopping mindfully can have:
More free time: Buying less means you have less to take care of (clean, maintain …).
Money saved: You no longer waste money on unnecessary or ‘so-so’ things.
Sustainability: Shopping mindfully gives you the freedom to invest in fewer, high-quality items that need to be replaced less frequently.
Less to declutter: You only buy what adds value to your life – not clutter.
Fewer shopping mistakes: The more you practice mindful shopping, the better choices you make.
Lasting love instead of instant gratification: You’ll enjoy what you buy more and longer.
How to Become a Mindful Shopper
Hit the Pause Button
I truly believe making great choices needs our full attention and awareness. When we’re distracted or in a rush, it’s almost impossible to make the right decisions. Thus, hitting the pause button before we proceed to the checkout is always a good idea. Spontaneous, impulsive purchases are too often the ones we regret. So, put the things you’re about to buy back to the rack and revisit the store another day. Or wait until the next morning to proceed with your online order. And use the extra time to ask yourself: Do I love the reason why I want to buy this specific item?
Love Your Reason
I’m certainly not going to tell you what you should or shouldn’t buy. Everyone is different. We all have different needs and preferences. But there is one valuable learning I want to share with you: Always love the reason why you make the purchase. The expensive designer bag? Yes, why not. The fancy rug for your living room? Go for it. But make sure your buying decision is well-aligned with your thoughts, feelings, and values.
It’s just my personal opinion. But I would never buy what I can’t afford. I don’t use cards or lines of credit. Please don’t get me wrong. I don’t talk about necessities, such as food or paying the rent for your apartment. I know from experience how hard it can be having to stretch the limits to survive yet another month. Also, I don’t mean mid- or long-term investments. What I want to say is, don’t overspend on things that aren’t essential.
Be Aware of What You Already Have
Let’s take grocery shopping as an example. It doesn’t make sense to add and add new items to your pantry without checking what’s left from your last haul, right? We should have quite a precise overview of what we own. It doesn’t mean we have to list everything meticulously, but be aware of what we already have before adding new things.
Decluttering can certainly help you to gain a better overview. Additionally, specifically for clothes, I would also recommend creating a list of all your belongings. Below some articles that can support you with these often challenging tasks:
The KonMari Method: All You Need to Know + Printable Guide
Wardrobe Decluttering a la Marie Kondo: Pros and Cons
Wardrobe Inventory: Questions Beyond ‘Does It Spark Joy?’
Do Your Research
Before you make a buying decision, do your research. Look for examples and alternatives, compare prices, read reviews, and check out different suppliers. Take time to reflect on the planned purchases – not only for more expensive items but also for everyday goods. Just think of the food you regularly buy, or even what toothpaste you choose. Ask yourself if all these products align with your values or if there are better choices. Are they, e.g., high-quality, healthy, sustainable? Initially, this means extra time and effort. But the more you practice, the easier and quicker it gets. And after a while, you’ll have a relevant set of brands and products to choose from.
Maintain a Non-Shopping List
I guess we all made purchases we regret. For instance, something we bought impulsively and got tired of far too quickly. Or we figured out that certain brands and products no longer align with our values and (desired) lifestyle. Simply put all those things on a non-shopping list. So you have something to refer to when making your next mindful buying decision.
I’ve prepared a list of 20 Things I No Longer Buy for your inspiration, but I can genuinely recommend you make your own list. Taking time to think twice will definitely influence how much you buy and how much you value your purchases. When you shop mindfully, you’ll soon realize that you shop significantly less and, when you purchase something, you love the reason why.
And there you have it. These are my tips on how to become a mindful shopper. If you like, follow me on Pinterest, where I collect more information and inspiration around shopping mindfully and smart. Let’s share experiences! How do you prepare your buying decisions? What was your biggest shopping mistake? Love to hear from you!