It seems like the word ‘mindful’ can never be paired with ‘shopping’ especially since psychological research shows shopping is anything but mindful – it is addicting and impulsive. And we can’t really blame shoppers – they are bombarded from every corner with advertisements. These advertisements include billboards, newspapers, buses, influencers, social media, elevator walls, gas stations, buildings, emails, word-of-mouth, and so on.
In a world where you are surrounded by companies hiring masterminds of consumer psychology to persuade you to buy from them, and tags like “limited time offer” and “special offer” creating fear and anxiety of missing out amongst buyers, it’s difficult to shop intentionally.
Here at Coral Doe, we believe in mindful shopping. We define mindful shopping as the practice of being aware of how your buying practices affect you and the environment around you. A mindful purchase is planned out, sustainable and above all, necessary. A mindful purchase is one that does not harm the environment and is made from brands that are ethical and eco-friendly.
William Rees of the University of British Columbia reports that human society is in a “global overshoot,” consuming 30 percent more material than is sustainable from the world’s resources. He adds that 85 countries are exceeding their domestic “bio-capacities” and compensate for their lack of local material by depleting the stocks of other countries. (Scientific American).
Here are some steps you can take to buy more mindfully:
1. Shop with cash
A psychology study found that customers who pay in cash as opposed to swiping a credit card experience a higher “pain of paying” since the loss of funds is immediate. Research also shows that customers are willing to spend more when they are paying with cards as opposed to cash. So make sure you carry cash – it will keep you in cheque (pun-intended).
2. Make eco-friendly and ethical investments
This will automatically cut down brands you can shop from. Try to shop from brands that support their labor law, pay fair wages, and use ethical manufacturing practices. This includes animal-friendly policies and child-labor free factories. Research and find out which brands suit your needs. Support those brands.
3. Ask yourself a list of questions before any purchase
- How often will I wear this? If there is a dress you really want to buy, but there are hardly any occasions to wear it to, is it really a good investment? If you never wear skirts, must you buy that gorgeous skirt on 70% off?
- Do I have something similar? Chances are, that pair of jeans you saw in the shop and can’t live without is already in your closet in some form or another. If you don’t really need it, don’t buy it. Differentiate between your needs and wants.
- Can I afford this item? It’s easy to convince yourself to spend $200 on shopping but you’ll regret it when you realise you could have spent that money on something you actually needed like paying bills, maybe? That pretty coat isn’t going to pay your bills.
Choosing to be mindful while shopping can help you have more control over your impulses while you’re at the mall. There’s nothing wrong in indulging from time to time if it makes you happy but practicing moderation is the way to go.
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