What to Buy, What Not to Buy

responsible consumerKnowing the difference between intelligent purchases and frivolous purchases can be challenging. Needs and wants are more relative to the budget a person has to work with than they are to how critical the item is. A person with a lot to spend may consider a certain purchase critical while a person with a smaller budget might consider the purchase frivolous. When determining what to buy and what not to buy, it is good to consider the necessity of the item, how the item will benefit you, how sustainable the item is and the budget that it needs to be purchased under.

The things that you do buy should meet the four qualifications listed above. Most people can generally assess whether or not an item is necessary by imagining how often they will need it, or by considering how often they have needed it in the past. One should also consider how healthy the item is to themselves and to the people in their residence. Items like celery or yogurt are obviously universally healthy to most households. Similarly, one should consider the health of the planet when they are making purchases. Try to choose items that did not leave a considerable carbon footprint in order to manufacture. And lastly, one must always consider the kind of budget they have to work with when shopping. Do some research and determine what a responsible shopping budget is for your income level, then list your desired purchases accordingly.

In contrast, the things you should not buy are the opposite of the things you should. Determine if the item you desire is a pleasure purchase by thinking about if it matters as much as an essential purchase. If the item is unhealthy, you should not buy it, save for perhaps a few specific indulgences that you have chosen for that particular shopping trip. Never purchase an item that you know is unsustainable or unethical. And do not spend money that you do not have. Make sure your income supports your shopping habits and that your budget is balanced.

Keeping Your Shopping Habits in Check

check your shopping habitsEveryone can benefit from examining their personal shopping tendencies and analyzing them for areas that need improvement. What you can gather based on the discussions in this blog is that there is a decidedly healthy and logical way to approach shopping, and an unhealthy, inefficient way to approach shopping, and the method you choose can reveal a lot about you. A small, isolated purchases here and there does not really exemplify your shopping habits, but the way you shop routinely and habitually does. Habitual shopping habits can have an enormous effect on a person’s finances and other personal resources, such as time, energy and even relationships. It is not a matter to take lightly. Below are several useful pointers that can help you shop intelligently.

  • Do not shop on a whim, but rather keep a list of items you need building up. This will save you trips to the store.
  • When you have enough items on the list that are necessities, schedule a shopping trip, allowing for enough time to acquire all the items.
  • Always budget first and know exactly how much you have to spend on shopping so the rest of your finances won’t be negatively effected.
  • Estimate the prices of the items as compared to your target price to get an idea of the cost, allowing for tax and a little bit of wiggle room in case you do not estimate accurately. Be prepared to practice self control and abandon non-essential items.
  • Be sure to bring the list to the store with you, resolving to only buy the things on the list with few exceptions, only for absolute essentials that you forgot to list.
  • Shop methodically, from one side of the store to the other, practicing patience with other shoppers and workers. Pay with a premeditated payment method.
  • When you are done,¬†bring your purchases home, unpack, and revel in your absence of buyer’s remorse because the experience of shopping did not surprise you with unexpected negative consequences!

Striving for Good Shopping Habits

shopping habitsFinding a perfect balance between purchasing what you need and saving money can be very difficult. Most people feel like there is never enough money to do both right. It is very common for a person to either fall into the category of being too frugal to the point of denying themselves necessities or being uncontrolled in their spending to the point of damaging their finances. The latter of the two is much more common, as the average reader could guess. In order to achieve good spending habits and, more broadly, good mental health, it is very important for you to manage your spending habits so as not to lose control of your finances.

In order to achieve good shopping habits, you must critically examine your shopping behavior to determine whether or not you are a healthy shopper. A healthy shopper possesses certain characteristics that distinguish them from other shoppers. First and foremost, they never go for a shopping expedition without considering their budget and predetermining the amount they will allow themselves to spend. A particularly careful shopper will even list the items they need to purchase to ensure that they are only buying the absolute essentials.

Unhealthy shoppers have entirely different shopping behaviors. For an unhealthy shopper, shopping is typically much more of an impulse behavior. They may be in the habit of shopping in order to be happy or using shopping as therapy. Shopping addiction has been determined to be a treatable addiction in certain people and can easily qualify a person for addiction treatment and rehabilitation. Shopping addicts are highly unlikely to create a budget for their shopping excursions. Items purchased are frequently not necessities at all, but are instead “feel good” items that give the shopper euphoric feelings of instant gratification. This type of compulsive shopping often leads to overspending and financial hardship, which can take a serious toll on an individual’s personal life.

An Unhealthy Shopper

unhealthy shopperShopping with someone can tell you a lot about them. In fact, shopping is a recommended exercise to participate in with someone if you are trying to determine how compatible you are with them. Shopping tests our planning and executing abilities on a very basic, exemplary level. If you want to know how someone manages money, time and energy, and generally speaking, how responsible they are, shopping is a good way to find out. What would it tell you if you were spending the day with someone and they announced that they needed to shop unexpectedly without making a list or a budget, bounced around the store without a plan, their behavior erratic and confusing, then was dissatisfied with their purchases when they got home because they had forgotten items or purchased unnecessary items?

Responsible people become overwhelmed and exacerbated by irresponsible people, and need to take them in small doses. Shopping with a person can tell you a great deal about that person’s level of responsibility. When a responsible person sees that they person they are keeping company with does no preparation for a shopping excursion, it is disconcerting. The individual will not make a shopping list or consult their budget. They are driven to shop based on their feelings and whims, and will frequently be completely unprepared for the shopping decisions they will face.

In the store, their behavior is flighty and emotional. They do not seemingly have an objective or a process of any sort. They are unscrupulous about certain costly purchases and hung up on inane ones. They do not follow a methodical path around the store, but instead bounce from one end to the other unpredictably. They may react emotionally or illogically to other shoppers and employees. Someone who is more responsible and efficient is likely not compatible with this type of behavior.

And lastly, once the irresponsible person gets their purchases home, they are still frantic and excitable because they likely forgot a number of items and the gravity of the unwise purchases is finally hitting them, prompting a new process of returning to the store to return items and pick up the ones that escaped the individual in their last shopping attempt.

A Healthy Shopper

healthy shopper

Shopping is an activity that we all engage in frequently. For most people, shopping is the system used to achieve the necessities and commodities we rely on in our everyday lives. It is a very common, basic practice that we engage in, and can become a reflection of our mental health and our level of responsibility. Your shopping habits can indicate what kind of person you are and how well prepared you are in life.

For example, someone who is mentally healthy and responsible will typically be in the habit of preparing for their shopping trips to some degree. With the exception of spontaneous shopping trips for small necessities, a responsible shopper will typically have shopping excursions methodically and on a schedule. They prepare for their shopping trips by listing the items they are in need of, then weighing them against a budget. If their budget does not allow for the entire list, they eliminate items. Their planning and budgeting is meticulous and they can foresee the process of shopping in order to prepare for it.

While they are shopping, they are weighing their shopping list with time and money management, all the while practicing self control. They pass by items that would make for enjoyable pleasure purchases and focus on the necessities that were premeditated. If something unexpected comes up or they remember an item they need but forgot to list, they consult their budget in order to make room for the item. They are seldom seen dashing around the store without a plan, but rather thinking carefully about every item they put in their cart and going through each aisle systematically.

One of the biggest differences between a prepared shopper and an ill-prepared shopper is the absence of buyer’s remorse. Because the prepared shopper foresaw their shopping experience in advance – what items they would bring home and how much it would cost them – they are not taken aback at all when they get home by their purchases because they anticipated the benefits and the costs of their shopping.

What are Your Shopping Habits?

personal shopping habits

A little something that everyone has but is seldom aware of is shopping habits that are unique to themselves. Whether it is for necessities or pleasure purchases, every person has an individualized system of shopping that is a reflection of their personality and their psychology. Shopping is a task and a behavior that everyone in our culture is familiar with because we all shop routinely. Shopping makes use of our planning, budgeting, multitasking, improvising and socializing skills, which makes it an opportunity to analyze our behavior and compare it to others.

Some people exercise good habits and mental health practices when shopping. This is typically unconscious and reflects a generally responsible personality. This type of person will often make a list of what they are shopping for prior to going to the store in order to be prepared for selecting items. They will also frequently set a budget and a spending limit in order to manage the financial aspect of shopping. They have a well-developed sense of what is a necessity and what is frivolous, and shop accordingly. Their in-store shopping routine is systematic and efficient, and their manners toward other shoppers and store employees is calm and gracious. This type of person seldom has buyer’s remorse because they are very calculated in their spending.

Then, there is the type of shopper who exemplifies a number of bad shopping habits. Planning plays a small to non-existent part in this person’s shopping routine and tends to follow the person’s whims. Shopping trips tend to be made erratically instead of on a schedule and are frequently prompted by feelings rather than logic. Without a shopping list or a budget, the shopper will forget necessary items, purchase unnecessary items and frequently overspend, maxing out their cards. Their shopping behavior is unpredictable, and they may appear rude, unprepared or scatterbrained to other shoppers and store employees. Buyer’s remorse is common for this type of shopper.