Sunday, April 22, 2012

I've lost that shopping feeling

Sometimes I get such a strong urge to go clothes shopping.  It's one of those silly urges like wanting a whole plate of brownies; there's really no justification for it.  There are two pretty obvious reasons why I've learned some coping mechanisms to help the craving pass: first, I absolutely don't need any more clothes, and second, I can't afford it.

The best, most virtuous, way to lose the shopping feeling is to organize my closet and drawers, which seem to always need tidying.  This works for a few reasons.  For one thing, it reminds me just how freaking many clothes I own!  It also kind of burns me out on looking at clothes; I'm just over it.  Also, I come across clothes that have been buried for a while, and that rediscovery can fill the novelty void.  A pleasant side effect is orderly drawers, and usually a bag of things to take to the thrift store to donate, and a much clearer idea of whether or not there might actually be something I need.

So I'll leave that bag of clothes to take to the thrift store aside until I have another shopping urge, at which point I might give in and go to the thrift store.  It's not so bad though, because I'm getting rid of more clothes than I will come back with, and I can give myself a ten dollar limit, which is often way more than I spend.  Also, I feel like the thrift store gives good shopping bang for the buck, in terms of lots of browsing, lots to look at and touch, and relatively little to actually buy.  I can easily spend an hour looking and maybe part with three or four dollars.  Compare that to an hour at the mall: I'd be in and out of a dozen or more stores that don't sell anything for under twenty bucks.  Too tempting!

Another good remedy is to find an old gift card stashed away.  At any given time I might have a couple of gift cards with money on them and no matter where they are from, shopping anywhere can satisfy the shopping need - it's just that little splurge that I want.  Right now I have a ten dollar gift card from the Superstore, which could get me some Joe Fresh socks and undies, or something from the clearance rack.  Or that plate of brownies.  No!  I've also got some money on a gift card from a kitchen supply store: maybe some fancy tea or pretty paper napkins; there's lots to look at.  Even the few bucks on a Starbucks card could buy me a fancy drink which is a treat I almost never indulge in.  Gift cards let me shop a little without spending a lot.

A couple of other ways to ease the desire to shop: online pretend shopping, trying testers at Sephora, browsing at Holt Renfrew or somewhere else so expensive I know there's no danger of buying, and turning a mundane purchase into an experience.  If I need toothpaste, I might go to a couple of drugstores looking for the best price on a new flavour of one of the all-natural brands of toothpaste.  It sounds silly, but it takes the edge off!

Have you got any tricks to lose the shopping feeling?

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