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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,┬ábring 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.