The art of slow shopping

Wednesday 19th April, 2023

I've always been prone to buyer's remorse. I vividly remember buying some software I'd saved up for when I was about 10 or 11. It was a music production programme. And I recall walking away from the shop instantly thinking I'd wasted my money. Turned out I had. I couldn't make sense of it. I never made any music and didn't become the internationally recognised music producer my childhood self dreamed of.

It was the excitement, the possibilities, and the anticipation that turned out to be the best part of the purchase. Ironically, the bit before I'd spent any of my pocket-money.

Fast-forward many (many) years, and I think that experience has shaped my consumerism habits. Leading me to spend less, but buy with intention. No impulse shopping. Or being led by the anticipation. Instead, time taken, research done and intentions set. You might call it 'Slow Shopping.'

This style of shopping has great benefits, that, for me, align with one of my values - less, but better. By thinking rather than acting when shopping, I find myself filling my life with things that I love. Things I feel invested in and want to use. Things that don't end up at the back of the cupboard or immediately on eBay.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not perfect. I work in advertising and know all too well the draw that a great advert has to get you to buy. And I continue to fall foul to it, even if I 'Slow Shop'.

So, to help, I've given myself some 'Slow Shopping' principles to work to:

Prioritise needs - this is the first step. What am I looking for, why do I need it. And, do I definitely NEED it, not WANT it.

Set a budget - and I know myself, so I add a little stretch in this. If something that meets my needs significantly better comes up in my research, I'm allowed to go 10-15% over budget.

Research - arguably my favourite bit. I'm naturally curious and like learning about new things. So, from coffee machines, to the best wood for your decking - I'm a font of semi-useful information.

Time to reflect - by that I mean don't just buy. Find the best product for my needs and then give it some time before I buy. The more expensive, the longer a gap I leave before parting with my cash. And this is where Things To Get Me comes in.

Using it, as the name suggests, to make lists of things for me to get 'me'. The 'treat yo self list', full of items I've researched, I know I want or need, and one day will get myself. It's kinda like my shopping basket for the internet, no matter where I'm looking, I know I can add it to my Things To Get Me list. And, added bonus, it helps me keep track of the price too.

Then, they're all there ready and waiting. Either for a bit of self-care and a treat for myself since I know they're all researched, and I've given myself time before buying. Or, to pick up that thing I need when the time comes.

Surely, now more than ever, we need to be intentional with our purchases, careful with money and give a thought to waste. Whisky, on occasion, giving ourselves a little treat.

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