The 7 habits of highly effective shopping

If you are an emotional shopper like me, chances are you’ve already experienced this negative cycle where you blame yourself for spending too much money – on clothes you don’t need. 

I deal’ve dealt with this feeling A LOT in my life and I can say, it ain’t a pleasant one. 

Even though I know how this shopping-cycle works within me – I get enthusiastic about an item, I go over all the pro’s on why I need this item and end up checking it out, only to realize after checking my bank account, that I didn’t need it – I still find myself trapped in this cycle way too often. 

So in order to change this situation, we must first change ourselves by changing our perception on shopping and clothes. 

When I come to think about it, too much of my time is wasted on 1) browsing webshops and 2) feeling bad about how I failed at saving. And way too much money is wasted on clothes I don’t love… which is also a waste on the environment, since I won’t be getting the use out of this particular item.

Obvious to say this has to stop.


Picture: Pinterest

1 Switch Your Thinking

To understand your own shopping behavior, there is one ground principle that you really have to let ‘sink in’. That is that we ourselves, are in charge of our lives – and so our shopping behavior. We humans have the ability to examine ourselves and or character, which is something that may be ‘scary’ at times but is also great news, it means that we can change whatever we like.

Problem is that we often fall victim to thinking that the problem is outside of ourselves. Like when you feel you have ‘nothing to wear’ you’ll tend to say that the problem lies within your wardrobe. Your clothes are out  of style or you feel they have been worn out. But most of the time, this is actually your own perception and not fact.

So the first step to making a shopping trip a succes is taking responsibility for your own choices and how you see things. It’s not that they are bad, it’s just something you have to think about. Think about why you need something new? Is this because you actually need it to or because you want it? Maybe you’re just not feeling all that great and shopping can be a quick fix to feeling joy…

So a first step is to switch your thinking. Start by replacing you reactive mindset with a proactive one:

Reactive: All my clothes are out of style.
Proactive: I control how stylish I feel in my own clothes.

This way you’ll put the responsibility with yourself and you’ll feel more in control. And you’ll know why it is that you are shopping or want to spend your money on new stuff.

2 Begin with the end in mind

Shopping can be a fun experience. Finding that great piece and taking it home is great. But if you want your shopping trips to have a higher succes rate in the long run, it’s important to know what you wish to achieve with a shopping trip.

Do you want to build a solid new wardrobe or is it rather a quick happy-buy to have something new and on trend? Or maybe you’re just going shopping with a friend.

Whatever the reason is, really think about what you wish to achieve out of this shopping trip. Do you want fun with your girlfriends or are you just looking for that one great white button-down? 

Picture: unsplash

3 Put first things first

Now that you know what you want or where you want to go you can start by planning it all out and make a shopping list.

It’s easy to get swept away by trends and new collection items, but in order to find true joy in your wardrobe you must stay on track towards your goal.

Take a moment to think about which buys are most important and not on what you want to buy right now or looks fun and trendy. Fact is, it’s not easy to have this much willpower. Sometimes you just want to buy stuff and enjoy new things – and that’s great as well – but it rarely is something that will last a long time. So saying no to yourself isn’t always easy, but acting according to what you really need rather than your desires or impulses, is very important.

4 Think win-win

Imagine yourself browsing trough the webshop of your favorite fashion retailer. You see a top that you absolutely love, but you don’t need or don’t know if it’ll actually suit your own style. But you buy it, just to give it a try and because this webshop always sells out so quickly.

This buying out of ‘scarcity mentality’ definitely isn’t the way to go. Retailers know that we tend to think this way and try to influence us even more by only ‘releasing’ this many items. But truth is, many times there are way more items to be sold or they will come back in stock. 

So don’t get fooled by this marketing trick and know that there is enough. There will always be items you absolutely love and if you aren’t able to buy them now, chances are you’ll still be able to buy them next year. Classic items tend to be around much longer and are presented by so many brands, for instance, you’ll always find a striped shirt when you go shopping.

So think in this win-win situation: if you don’t buy it now you’ll save the money you want + chances are that next year this item will still be available or you’ll find another item you like just as much. 


5 Insight

Like I said in the first step, key is to switch your thinking. However, this isn’t enough. If you really want to own these habits, you need to take a look at yourself and understand the problem first. 

Maybe you are someone who only shops for practical reasons, but chances are you won’t be reading this post if it was like that. So maybe – like me – you do get influenced by what the market has to offer.

When we understand ourselves and our motives – and be gentle towards ourselves about it – you’ll see a significantly increase of succes while shopping. 

6 Synergize

Once you realize you see fashion, not as it is, but how it represents who you are, you’ll come to a bigger understanding on why you buy and how an item will benefit you in the long run.

Ways to think about this, is to put together your favorite brands and items:

  • Make a list of people who inspire you fashion wise: evaluate on why they inspire you. Is it because of their posture, there designer items, the vibe they give you, … rarely it’s just about the clothes.
  • Make a list of brands you love: why do you love them? What do they represent that also represents your personality?


7 Sharpen the saw

Don’t be afraid to fail and forgive yourself if you do. In order to be master at something, one must practice and learn. This continuous learning proces will let you practice each habit until it comes natural to you. 

There is no point in focussing on a certain period in which you want to master it – trust me, I’ve tried the one-year-no-buying thing and failed about 5 times now. The only thing you can focus on is taking it step by step. 

Trust in yourself and positive empowerment. Patience with yourself is key in mastering these habits. 

Photo on top by jarred grabois on Unsplash


3 thoughts on “The 7 habits of highly effective shopping

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