A Quick Question That Could Save You Hundreds

Posted by Jill Chivers in Shopping Strategies, Shopping, Clothes and Emotions

Recently I was out having lunch with a girlfriend visiting from Sydney.  Our Raw Energy lunch finished, we took a leisurely stroll down the esplanade, one of my favourite spots to eat and loiter.  It’s also quite close to one of my favourite pre-loved and consignment clothing store, a kind of shopping I am particularly drawn to.

After I waved my friend off, I sauntered down to this store, telling myself I would “just have a quick look” at what they had.  This is one of the reasons I enjoy consignment shopping so much – the stock turns over quite quickly, and there’s usually something a bit different to look at, as opposed to the rails of McFashion so often found in mall stores.

I came across a particularly lovely merino wool sweater, discounted heavily from it’s consignment store pricing due to a small tear on the shoulder.  I found myself going through a range of mental machinations, including:

Well, it’s only mid winter here – I’ll get plenty of wear out of it this season.

It’s such a great colour for me – chocolate brown is one of my ‘signature’ colours, and it’s really very flattering on me.

It’s merino wool, and I love merino wool.  Such a fine gauge of fibre!

Well, that tear in the shoulder – it’s such a small tear.  10 minutes, 15 tops – I could have that sewn up.

And the price – $45 for a merino wool sweater in “my” colours from a quality, designer label – who’s ever heard of such a fabulous bargain?!

This cycle of mental machinations, otherwise known as justification thinking, was upon me before I knew it. I wasn’t even aware of beginning this cycle of thinking – it just started happening.

In my mind, I had that sweater home and was in the process of mending it, before you could say “impulse purchase”.

Before you can say “impulse purchase”, your arms can be full and your wallet lighter!

But here’s the thing that broke that circuitous thinking cycle, the inexorable conclusion of which would have had me purchasing the sweater and bringing it home for renovation:  My ability in the moment to recognise I was caught up in this roundabout justification cycle, and to stop it with this question:

Do I feel lighter or heavier, with the thought of purchasing this item?

Do I feel lighter or heavier, with the thought of owning this item?

And the answer that came up, for both questions, was Heavier.

Sure, this purchase ticked a lot of boxes, and seemed to make (some) sense.  I would have used this item (it was not an ‘orphan’ which would have been left, unworn and unloved, on my shelves).  And it was not a financially challenging  purchase – it was not going to put me into debt to buy it.

But emotionally, this purchasing decision didn’t stack up.

Emotionally, that purchase weighed me down.

And to tap into that all-important third component of red or green lighting this purchase, all I had to do was to stop for a moment, ask myself a helpful question or two, and wait for the answer.

Oh – and pay attention to that answer.  Yes, that final piece is important! (you can’t just listen to the answers that come from your most wise, intuitive self, and then ignore them – what’s the point of that?).

I left that slightly damaged, discounted chocolate coloured merino wool sweater in the store.

And I felt lighter all the way home, a feeling that has lasted well into this week.

Now, that feels good.

Next time you are caught up in a justification-fuelled purchasing decision moment, as yourself:

Do I feel lighter or heavier, with the thought of purchasing this item?

Do I feel lighter or heavier, with the thought of owning this item?

 

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