The following post is from Emily of Live Renewed:
Foregoing shopping appeals to both my frugal and my green sensibilities. One of the biggest changes I have made over the past 4 years of my frugally green journey is that I don’t shop recreationally any more. In my previous lifestyle, if I was bored I would head to Target or the mall, just too “look”.
Sometimes, I really would just look and walk away without buying anything. But more often than not, there would be something that I “had” to have, or at least something that I knew I wanted to come back and get another time.
I’ve learned and grown and changed so much over the past few years, and shopping recreationally is not a part of my life anymore. Of course, there are times that we need to buy stuff, and shopping is a necessity. But now, when I do go shopping, I am reminded of all of the reasons that I generally avoid shopping as much as possible:
1. It’s HARD to shop with kids in tow.
Trying to scan through racks at the thrift store, try clothes on in a dressing room, or search for the right deal on the exact item on sale that goes with the right coupon is just harder with kiddos along. So I avoid shopping when I have my kids in tow, which is the majority of the time.
2. It’s hard to make a decision about the “right” things to buy.
I’ll admit that I feel a lot of guilt when shopping because I have so many questions running through my head: “Who made this? Were they treated well and paid fairly? How was it made? What kind of chemicals or toxins are in it or on it? Where was it made? How far did it have to travel to get to me? How can I be sure that I am not hurting or exploiting a person somewhere by buying this?”
It is a sea of mostly unanswerable questions. So the way I usually deal with the questions is just to avoid shopping and not have to answer them at all.
3. When I go shopping, all of the sudden I want a lot more stuff.
It’s truly amazing that things that I didn’t even know I liked or wanted are all of the sudden on my radar when I’m shopping. And I usually end up thinking about how much better my life would be if I had those things.
4. It turns my focus to stuff.
Because of all of the stuff I find I want — that I didn’t even know existed five minutes earlier — stuff becomes my focus. I don’t like to be consumed with thinking about stuff that I want or need. But somehow after a shopping trip, I find myself thinking about something I saw that I liked, how I would use it, and how I can find the money to get it.
5. Not shopping saves me money.
Of course, if I don’t go shopping, I don’t buy stuff, and that saves me money. I’m sure we’ve all had the experience of walking into a store to just pick up a few things, and walking out with a cart full of stuff and a much larger total on our receipt than we intended. If I don’t put myself in that situation, I don’t end up with stuff that I didn’t plan to spend money on.
6. The amount of JUNK that is available.
I distinctly remember walking through a department store after a long shopping hiatus and watching The Story Of Stuff. The way that I looked at all of the merchandise in the store was totally different. Instead of seeing all this stuff that I liked and wanted to buy, I saw all of this junk they were trying to get people to buy.
Have you ever thought about the sheer amount of stuff that is available to buy? And the materials needed to produce all of that stuff? And what happens to that stuff when it’s done being used? I mean, it really is excessive. Why in the world do we need so much stuff?
7. If I buy less stuff, I have less stuff to organize.
It goes without saying that the less stuff you have, the less you have to keep clean and organized. Since I am challenged in the cleaning and organizing areas of life anyway, I try to take any opportunity I have to make this easier on myself.
8. It teaches me to make do with what I have.
I really like the phrase, “Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without”, and it’s easier for my to apply this to my life when I avoid shopping and the wanting and needing of more stuff that goes along with it. When I’m not buying new stuff, or giving myself the opportunity to buy stuff, I learn to make do with what I already have, and I often find that I really didn’t need that new thing after all.
How do you feel about shopping? Do you shop as a hobby, or when you’re bored? Or do you avoid shopping for any of the reasons that I do?
|Emily McClements strives to live with compassion and caring for creation in a way that will impact the world. She is a blessed wife and mama to three young children, and blogs about her family’s journey toward natural and simple living at Live Renewed.|