Day 290 Recreational shopping.

Recreational shopping, I wish it was an oxymoron like – unbiased opinion or seriously funny- but unfortunately it’s not. As the title suggests, people do approach shopping as a form of recreation. Sadly, having disposable income isn’t always considered a necessity in the pursuit of such entertainment. Hence the abysmal levels of credit card debt in the Western world. Although I can’t claim to be innocent of taking part in the past, I can honestly say that I did not contribute to the credit card debt statistics. Never the less, it is something I am not proud of and I am glad I learnt to be a more responsible shopper.

Shopping is one of those temporary feel good activities, like  over eating or drug use, whose high does not last long enough to outweigh the cost. The subsequent problems only perpetuate more grief.  The habit of over shopping, whether you just like new stuff or to self medicate against life’s other disappointment, is a fool’s game. Why…

  1. No sooner do you have that new item than the novelty wears off and you just want more.
  2. Credit card debt is only going to add to your problems if you don’t have the cash to pay for these highs.
  3. Even if you can afford this habit, no amount of possessions will ever replace emotional deficiencies in your life.
  4. If you start to rely on shopping as your main form of recreation then there is a good chance you are ignoring other much healthier and worthwhile pursuits.
  5. Whether you are happy to ignore the environment or not, everything you  buy is placing a strain on the planet’s natural resources.
  6. Even if the natural resources were infinite, the pollution involved in producing these products is not good for you or the environment.

If you think you have fallen victim of this insidious modern day scourge please consider replacing it with a more productive activity. I would suggest a regular exercise routine or sport, a hobby or volunteering your time to help others. All of these activities are a much more valuable use of your time.

P.S. Thank you Bobbi for suggesting this post topic.

ITEM 290 OF 365 LESS THINGS

Another of my husband’s computer games to be donated. He decided that this item wasn’t just wasting space but also his precious time.

unbiased opinion

Computer Game 25 Things I am grateful for today

  1. Spending the day with my parents yesterday.
  2. Comments from my readers – I haven’t had the time to read yet but I am looking forward to doing so tomorrow.
  3. No weekend work shift for the first time in three years.
  4. A $7.90 train ticket that used to cost 2o something dollars – Score one for encouraging people to use public transport.
  5. Everything I have learnt in the last ten months about pointless shopping.

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.

Comments

  1. I tend to do this. It’s bad in the sense that I spend money, but good in the sense that what I do buy is all digital.

    • Hi Lynn,
      I have to admit that at lease digital doesn’t cause clutter so you get brownie points for that. Spending money isn’t a bad thing so long as you have it to spend world economies depend on that unfortunately.

  2. I have learned this: When I consider a purchase, if I have a sickly, sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, I really should walk away. Buying the item in question will not make me feel good. Justified purchases never make me feel bad like that, and I can enjoy them like they are supposed to be enjoyed, without guilt.

    • Hi Cat’s Meow,
      that sinking feeling is always a good guide to whether you need or just want something. Don’t get me wrong I still buy things I want occasionally but I think very carefully about it before I do. I definitely consider whether I am going to get the level of use out of the item to justify it’s purchase. I do however enjoy the freedom of not needing that shopping high any more and it saddens me when I am at my local shopping centre and see that dependency in some of the shoppers.

  3. I’ve never been much of a shopper – when I had time I didn’t have money and when I had money I didn’t have time, so maybe giving up the recreational shopping was a bit easier for me than for others.

    When I first started decluttering I noticed that when I bought something, I would bring it home and put the shopping bag on the dining table. It could sit there for up to two weeks. Sometimes, I didn’t even think about it in the intervening period.

    I remembered when I bought things as a kid/teenager, the first thing I would do when I got home was to take the item out of the shopping bag, open up the package, examine everything, read the manual if there was one, essentially just thoroughly enjoy my new purchase.

    The difference of course was that back then I could only afford things that I really needed and wanted. So I decided I wanted that feeling back.

    At first it was difficult. When I went into a shop I would just see things I didn’t need which would take up space I don’t have. So I gave up shopping.

    Recently, I was given some vouchers for my birthday and decided to buy some aviator sunglasses, which I have been wanting for a while. I really enjoy wearing them and I take this as a sign that adopting a minimalist lifestyle is the way to go.

    • Hi Isabella,
      you make a good point here. When a person only treats themselves to something special every now and again they will get far more enjoyment and satisfaction out of it. They will also likely put more thought into choosing something that they will get their money’s worth out.

  4. Once you stop recreational shopping, you’ll probably notice a big difference in your level of contentment too.

    It’s a lot easier not to constantly “want” stuff when you’re not out in the stores seeing it all the time.

    At least that’s what happened to me.

    • Hi Becky,
      I couldn’t agree with you more. I realised that very contentment quite soon after I started decluttering because one of the first things I did was to stop shopping. No more cravings, gotta love that!

  5. I’ve never really had the financial wherewithal to be much of a recreational shopper, but when I first started my attempts to de-clutter (don’t laugh… I really have started many times before) I determined that I had a real weakness for pens. I know this will sound hard to believe, but I always just loved different colors, and ones with big fat grippy handles…

    Anyhow, when I finally went through all of the drawers, baskets and piles, I discovered, to my utter horror, that I had THREE grocery sacks full of pens! And that doesn’t even count the trash can full of ones that didn’t work!

    Talk about theater of the absurd! So I separated out a few handfuls of my favorites, and the rest went to the struggling non-profit music school where I worked. That was over 15 years ago, and I don’t think I’ve had to purchase a pen since then!

    • Hi Rebecca,
      I used to have a different problem with pen clutter – I never bought any and yet they would multiply like rabbits at my house. I think one of my children or my husband must have been a pen kleptomaniac. It was most likely my daughter because like you she loved all the different colours although there were quite a number of hotel logo pens which could only have been lifted by my husband while on work trips.

      • I’m convinced pens breed. Or at least somehow attract themselves to one another. My husband got in the habit of bringing a pen home each night in his shirt pocket and leaving it on the first horizontal surface his came across.

        One day I gathered all these pens together and put them in a bag to take back to his work. There must have been about 100 pens. I think it might be time to do that again.

  6. I very much like to recreationally shop. I like touching things and looking at things and getting ideas for how I could make the same thing myself. I like walking and walking around grocery stores, even after I have completed my list. I love gift shops attached to museums and national parks. I like farmer’s markets. I like fine handicraft stores, and just wandering through downtown shops and reading sections of books and looking at things, and going where I want. I like seeing things that would have made me incredibly happy to get as a child. I like textures and bright colors.

    I rarely purchase things. On vacations, I buy patches (about the only souvenir that doesn’t get old for me, and continues to bring me pleasure when I see it).

    I don’t really shop to buy. That would be missing the point for me.

    • You had me worried there for a minute Allison but you redeemed yourself in the end. I had it worked out about half way through, I also love to look at things and I am a real touchy feely type but it is so nice to enjoy them and just walk away. All the fun without the clutter or the wasted money.

Trackbacks

  1. […] know I have touched on this subject many times before but Isabella’s comment on Day 290 triggered a thought in my head that I wanted to share with you. This idea is related to […]