The Pitfalls of Shopping

“A bargain is something you can’t use at a price you can’t resist.”  ~Franklin P. Jones

Confession: I used to be a frequent returner of items purchased.  Simply put, I’d buy things thinking they’d be fun, look good, would be nice to have, or could come in handy.  Often I was mistaken.  I’d get home and see the items in a different light.

Eventually it occurred to me that I was wasting gas taking items back to stores. I routinely had bags of items taking up space in my car that I needed to return somewhere, and it created stress for me.  The cycle looked like this:

frustration —> shopping —> relief —> regret —> return the items

I realized I often felt as though the money we’ve budgeted to give me to spend on myself each month was never enough. It turns out I was looking to things to make me feel better about myself or my home, and no amount of money would achieve that.

One day I asked God to change my perspective.  It didn’t happen in a miracle minute, but it is happening.  Recently I realized it’d been a few months since I’d been in a particular super store and when I reported this to my not-easily-impressed husband he was amazed!  Don’t doubt that God can stop up a hole inside that you’re trying to fill with unnecessary things.

Wondering whether to spend money on something?  Here are some tips:

  • It’s a good idea to take the 24 hour test – don’t leave a store with an item.  If you truly need it, you can buy it the next day (or week).
  • One form of accountability in my marriage is mentioning any purchase over $100 to Chris so I can be accountable before making a mistake.  He does the same for me.
  • Recognize shopping as a type of addiction.  Have you ever taken a “hit” of immediate (though temporary) joy by buying this season’s big-ticket item?  We humans are sneaky – we can label anything from a watch to shoes to an oven as a “necessity”.

How has shopping lured you into a short-term pick-me-up?


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