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Mindful Shopping: Shop Like You Mean It!

Stuck in the house for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, how did we shop? For some of us, shopping didn’t change much.  We went online and ordered whatever we wanted or needed.

Some communities even stockpiled the basics not knowing how this would all pan out. A few economists expected the pandemic to trigger the deepest recession since WWII. 

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But as we waded through uncharted waters, our feeds started filling up with many  rediscovering the pleasure in baking their own yeast breads, banana loaves, and learning how to knit. A  welcome return to the simple life for our weary bodies. And with this slowed down pace many were  re-looking at how they spent their money.

Consumers felt that they were able to live with very little, and with the opening of more stores deemed non essential, many were reluctant to spend just for the sake of spending. 

With the impending economic crisis, it’s vital to stay emotionally centered and mindful-of what you plan to buy,  what you can afford to spend, and a self awareness of what you really need.

Here are some tips on how to practice mindful shopping:

Plan your shopping 

It might be a new season but do you really need another pair of black pants? Before heading off to the shops go through your closets and make a list of what you actually need.

Make a plan, research, write down the specific items, prices, and where you’re going to find each one of them. From which store? Will it be new? Are you going to buy it online? Are you going to the physical store? When you take the time to plan what you need, aware of what you have, you become more mindful about your shopping habits.

Take a breather 

If you are doing most of your shopping online now, after adding items to your cart, step away from it for a while. When you get back, reassess once again if you really need all the items.

Being so easy to buy online makes it easy to impulse buy. Better yet don’t save your credit card details on websites. Because then you have to walk away and get your card details which tends to  make you reevaluate your shopping. 

This allows you to purchase with purpose. 

Shop local 

Besides reducing carbon emissions, supporting local means you stimulate your country’s economy.

Instead of dozens of inexpensive, “on-trend” items, invest your money in a few items of clothing that are well made, locally sourced and produced ethically,  and will stay in style forever. Buying local is a win-win situation for everyone in your community.

Buy second-hand stuff

Second hand clothing shops are  treasure troves. You would be surprised at what people throw out.  In fact you should  donate your unwanted goods to thrift stores instead of throwing it out. That way our unwanted goods do not clog up our land refills.

If the thought of wearing a stranger’s clothes bothers you, then consider having a swap day with family and friends. Invite everyone over, pool together your items and have everyone go shopping. 

Remove temptations

Good planning will help evade temptations but you can avoid temptations by not downloading  your favourite store’s apps. If you already have them, delete the apps. Unfollow the brands on all social media. Unsubscribe from their newsletters. 

Do not watch “Shopping Hauls” on YouTube. Do whatever you need to do so that your brain is not tricked into thinking you need to buy a new item.

Also avoid malls and aimlessly wandering around in them. You will be tempted to buy what you don’t need even if you just planned on window shopping.

Weekly menu planning 

If you are like me then you probably overspend more on food than clothes. Having a weekly menu planner can reduce your food consumption. Just putting food in a basket because you think you need it means that you end up with a dozen cans of baked beans in your pantry.

Work out all your meal times including snacks. Buy only what you can consume for that week. Anything else would be a waste. 

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About Fatima Bheekoo-Shah
Fatima Bheekoo-Shah is the author of "Saffron" (A collection of personal narratives by Muslim women), a freelance writer and book reviewer. She resides in Gauteng, South Africa. A book nerd and avid reader, Fatima is always looking for her next great read.