Simplify Saturday: Don’t Shop Unless you Need Something

The odometer of our 1992 Corolla, which recently passed 250k miles.
The odometer of our 1992 Corolla, which recently passed 250k miles.

Some people shop recreationally. In fact, a lot of people shop recreationally. In all honesty, I was raised in a family of recreational window shoppers. While my family rarely had money to spend on extras, one of my mom’s favorite past times was (is!) window shopping.


However, I quickly left that by the wayside once I ventured out on my own. For one thing, I realized that I had so many other things I wanted to do with my time instead of spending it looking at stuff I didn’t particularly care about. Secondly, I noticed that looking at stuff I couldn’t afford led to a lot of discontent that I didn’t feel otherwise. At the time I was a young college student working my way through university and living on a very meager budget – to the fact that at one point I shared a bedroom with 4 other women in order to keep my living costs as low as possible (there were 6 of us in the small 2-bedroom apartment).


While my budget has somewhat increased over the years, it’s still rather tight. That said, I still find looking at things just for the sake of looking to be something that breeds discontent with my own lovely life. Yes, there are newer cars than our 20+ year old vehicles, there are nicer kitchens than my tiny space with its 1960s fab glitter countertops, and there is newer furniture than the hand-me-downs we use around our house. But would those things make a big difference in my day-to-day happiness? No.


The new things would definitely be nice for a while, but after a while they won’t seem new and fresh, and there would be some other thing to want. So while at some point we’ll replace our vehicles (the car that gets the most mileage recently hit 250,000 miles – it probably won’t be cost effective to keep it the next time it has a major breakdown) and make other upgrades around our house, they’ll be a result of our desire to make our space more functional and beautiful for us. These decisions won’t be made because we want to always have the newest thing, but because what we have is no longer serving our needs.


It may be tough to buck the trend of shopping as recreation, but ask yourself: are you shopping because there’s something you need or simply because you haven’t thought about doing something else? If you take that time and put it toward chasing one of your big dreams, just imagine what can happen! Plus, if you’re not constantly looking at new things, perhaps the things you already own will still seem useful and lovely.



Do you shop for pleasure? Do you find that it makes you want more or newer things? If you don’t shop recreationally, do you find it makes a difference in the number of items that you bring into your home?

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