Shopping used to be entertaining. A relaxing activity. A harmless pastime.
Except…Um…It was never harmless.
Shopping used to numb my wounds. It made me feel like a grown-up (ironically, since I would spend money I didn’t really have, being in debt as I was). Meandering store aisles offered a cure for boredom. Shopping was a way to make myself feel better, whatever was going on.
Students sassing back in class? A new outfit will cheer me up and help me look forward to tomorrow despite the hoodlums.
Envious of friends getting married and having babies while I’m still single? Go buy some Twizzlers and jellybeans to scarf down in front of the TV.
Nothing to do on Saturday afternoon? Wander the aisles of Target. You don’t need to need anything, you’ll find 817 things you didn’t even know you wanted!
A NEW MINDSET
My recent Kohl’s visit opened my eyes to how my shopping mindset has changed.
Where I used to cross that threshold and be instantly transported into a veritable Promised Land, I now walked in purposefully. Only to spend the $20 Kohl’s cash we had earned when Mr. COD unexpectedly needed to buy a new suit for interviews. I intended to spend as little as possible, targeting that $20 mark.
Where I used to go to Kohl’s to fill up empty time, I yearned to use up the accumulated rewards cash as quickly as possible and get out. Part of that change is due to small kids in my house; I always feel hurried to get back home on the rare occasions I get out. A smidgen of mom guilt I need to release somehow.
Where I used to be thrilled each time I received a new coupon to use at my fave store (those 30% off ones were pretty sweet), I now receive multiple offers via email daily and use them rarely, if at all. I think I purchase from Kohl’s maybe two or three times a year now, always when I need my running shoes replaced. I get the same brand and style every time and avoid the stress of trying on and debating what to choose. This is especially helpful as I need custom orthotics, which I know will fit my good ol’ standby sneaks.
Where I once would spend 100 bucks or more, so pumped to walk out with a huge bag o’goodies, I now am a more thoughtful consumer. Even if all seven of the new shirts I bought were $7 or less due to discounts, did I actually need those new shirts? Or would I now have too many choices of what to wear, making it tougher to decide? Would I end up tossing them out a few months later due to poor quality or my capricious style whims?
Walking around Kohl’s that day felt so foreign to me. I would have just ordered something online, but was loath to pay extra for shipping, thus, to the actual store I went. I knew I wanted a digital food thermometer because Junior COD had recently broken ours, so I made a beeline for that section.
I found the one I wanted and grabbed some socks to use up the rest of our Kohl’s cash (it went a little bit over, but socks are always disappearing). Yeah, I know stores only offer those promos to get us back in to buy more, but at least I ended up with a necessity! Not a super exciting shopping trip, but it was just what we needed.
REASONS FOR THE CHANGED ATTITUDE (WHY HAS SHOPPING LOST ITS MAGIC?)
- I no longer have a job, so our household income is (duh) a lot less now.
- I think of stuff my kids need more than the stuff I want. (Not always, but I’m getting there.)
- If we move in a few months or a year, I want to pack up as little as possible to take with us. Less shopping=less to pack and organize!
- I am trying to adopt more of a “use what I have” mentality versus a “buy more” mentality.
- I continue to learn and relearn that just because an item is supposedly a “deal” doesn’t make it a good deal for me.
- With two kids, chances to shop alone are rare, and shopping with them in tow is a chore, not fun.
- So many are suffering or needy in this world, and I’d rather be more able to give generously than spoil myself.
What’s your relationship with shopping? Have you always loved or hated it, or has your perspective changed over time?