I spent a lot of time at malls last week. And guess what? I don’t like malls.
I used to go shopping with friends as our social time, and I looked forward to the days when my mom and I would go together. Mostly because it was fun, but also because I knew she’d buy me a thing or two.
Last week, I got to see my teenage in-laws shopping: begging for shoes, trying to explain why they deserved such-and-such, randomly grabbing things just to know that they bought something.
I really don’t like malls.
And yet, the shopping urge does hit me more often than I’d care to admit. Especially when I know I need something like rabbit litter on Amazon, I end up trying to add a little extra to my cart, just because.
It’s a nasty habit - bad for my home, bad for my wallet, and bad for my stress levels.
So how can you actually get rid of those urges? I’ve been brainstorming ways to still get a similar rush without really taking ownership of new junk.
Instead of shopping when you’re idle…
Go to the internet instead. I know, I know, it would be so much better to just turn off the computer and go out-freaking-side for a change, but we’re talking about how to quell the shopping bug.
Find some blogs that you find interesting, like Refinery29 or The Cherry Blossom Girl or Un-Fancy. Bookmark them and visit them whenever you’re feeling the need to buy something.
Want to feel the rush of clicking “buy”? Well, there’s not a direct alternative to that, but there is…(drum roll)...Pinterest! Whenever you come across something you love, add it to an inspiration board.
Before you shop next, check out what you’ve been pinning lately to find out what you’re into - maybe it’s stripes, colors, or black shorts - so that you can be more intentional about what you’re buying.
Instead of shopping when you’re broke…
There’s some correlation between the amount in the bank and the desire for shopping: the less money, the more desire to shop mindlessly. I think it’s about feeling like you’re in control, when you’re actually in deep financial trouble.
But if it’s the experience you are craving, remove your credit cards from your wallet, take $5-10 cash for emergencies (Starbucks is not an emergency.) Wander the mall till your heart’s content, knowing that you can’t do any damage to your bank account.
Try things on, ask for your size, carry things around like you’re thinking about them. Just put them back when you’re done, and then go home and get yourself together.
Instead of shopping when you’re frustrated with your closet…
Dive into your closet! Go on a massive donating/tossing spree and get rid of anything you don’t love, haven’t worn, can’t honestly see yourself wearing, etc.
Getting some one-on-one time with clothes you probably haven’t seen in ages is a great way to spark your imagination for future outfits. Worst case scenario, you end up having a much more streamlined closet.
Make a list of what you think you’ll need in the future to complete the closet, then be realistic about it. I want a casual white button-down, but I can’t keep anything stain-free to save my life so I may have to rethink that.
Instead of shopping for books…
Okay, this one’s easy: go to the library. Get yourself a library card (it takes like five minutes) and go nuts. Even when I don’t read all the books I get, I feel so satisfied when I walk out with an armful of books I didn’t pay for.
I’ve become like a kid in a free candy store at the library, pacing around the aisles thinking of all the possibilities.
Instead of shopping for an updated style…
Get a haircut. Try something completely new - it’ll still cost you, but you’re going to get the update you want without the hours at the mall and the heaps of new stuff that you’ll inevitably just cram into your closet.
Or get a new shade of lipstick or eyeliner. It’s pretty easy to change up your signature style without having a major overhaul of your wardrobe.
So there you have it - a few ideas for when the rainy day shopping bug comes to bite. Most of these are whine-free and you don’t have to ask your parents for anything.
So at least there’s that.
What are your favorite alternatives to shopping?