I have a confession to make. I just ordered an iPad. Yes, I’m a minimalist and I just made a big purchase. But trust me, it was a long time coming.
I need an iPad for a huge chunk of my life including my volunteer work. About 6 years ago my old iPad died and I was so hurt that I bought a Kindle because they are so affordable and I was thrilled with that decision until this last year when it became as slow as a turtle and as glitchy as I am before coffee.
Well, it’s been about 6 months that I have been deliberating about this purchase because slow shopping is my game and I was trying to decide if I really needed one, if I could afford one and where I could get the best deal.
But I just pulled the trigger. All my slow shopping led me to a great deal and great timing and I’m really happy with my decision.
What is Slow Shopping?
You may wonder why I keep saying “slow shopping”. Well I’m saying it because it’s what I do. I shop slowly. Very slowly.
In this world where you can buy anything on your phone in 5 minutes or less without even getting dressed it is way too easy buy buy stuff you will regret spending money on. Instead with the idea of slow shopping you are more careful about what you buy so you can get a better return on your investment.
Why Should You Try Slow Shopping?
You may wonder why slow shopping would be necessary. Isn’t it more productive to get what you need and move on?
Well, you might think so but actually when you hit the check out button so fast you actually waste a lot of time and money.
For example, how many trips have you made to return your Amazon purchases this month? How many times have you had to go back to a store on your way home from work to return a clothing item you didn’t bother to try on? How much stuff is sitting around not getting returned because you haven’t gotten around to it? How many of those items used to be money in your wallet?
Another reason we should all try slow shopping is that it is more sustainable. All these piles of unused regret purchases will one day end up in the landfill and at the rate we are going our whole earth could be one big landfill much more quickly than we would like to admit.
So now you know. Slow shopping is necessary and good for you. But how do you do it? Let’s figure that out!
1: See if You Can Live Without It
The first step in slow shopping is testing out whether or not you actually need to buy something in the first place.
You may think you desperately need a new car when you just need a $25 part to make your car run perfectly again. (True story) Maybe you think you need a great new dress for a party but you forgot that stunner that has been moping around in your closet and looks amazing on you! (Another true story) Maybe you just found a hole in the crotch of your favorite jeans but you don’t really need to go buy new ones cause you have 5 other pairs of jeans.
When you think you need something put off that urge for instant gratification and see if you actually need to replace what you have or if you can get along without it for awhile.
2: Do Your Research
Once you have determined that you do indeed need something it’s time to do your research. Look it up online. Read reviews. Figure out what version of the item will best suit your needs and what will last the longest.
Depending on the item you may also want to research the company you are buying it from. Is it a reputable company? Is it known for making things that last? What are it’s return and warranty policies? Does that company operate with sustainability and ethical practices in mind?
Another thing you may want to research is whether or not you can buy a used or refurbished item instead of new. This could save you a big chunk of change!
3: Wait for a Sale
Once you know you need an item and you know that which item you are going to get you are good to go right? Not necessarily. You might want to wait for a sale.
For example, a big part of why I was waiting on the iPad was I was waiting on Black Friday. I ended up buying it before Black Friday because the price was actually better than any Black Friday sales were predicted to be. (By the way I’m writing this article in late October).
With electronics, appliances and many nicer clothing items it’s often worth the wait to get some of those great Black Friday prices. Or you may get a deal on Amazon Prime day or during another big sale at the end of a season.
I encourage you to wait for sales because you will probably be just fine in the meantime and you can save a lot!
One time I got a dress form for sewing practically FREE because I got a gift card from my Father-in-law and it was half off for Black Friday. Slow shopping really paid off that time. I’d been wanting a dress form for years.
4: Wait for The Right One
There are a couple more important steps you will want to take into account when you are doing your slow shopping. For one thing intentional buying is done to save money and resist impulse purchases we regret.
For that reason it’s important to wait for an item that truly works for you instead of settling for what is “good enough”.
For example, at the beginning of last year I knew I my black puffer was reaching the end of it’s life. It wasn’t worn out yet but it was getting close.
I shopped at the beginning of the season and I shopped Black Friday. When we went to a bigger city I looked around and then at the end of the season I looked some more but nothing I found was just right. Either the coats were too expensive, too chunky or too tight.
I didn’t worry about it. I could live through summer without a black puffer so I waited and this fall I got the perfect one at a great price!
When we are shopping we often get this weird feeling of urgency when we don’t really need to. If you can survive with your old jacket or tablet or jeans for a little while you have the luxury of waiting for Mr. Right. I promise it’s worth the wait!
5: You Aren’t Stuck With Anything
And last but not least on our slow shopping journey we have what you need to do after you have purchased an item.
You need to wear or use it right away to test it out. If it doesn’t work do not let it become clutter for your next yard sale. Instead you need to return it in a timely manner.
I know it seems like a hassle but if you have a puffer jacket you can’t move your arms in you won’t wear it but you won’t buy a new one and that lousy purchase could magically turn back into money if you return it! On top of that you will give yourself the opportunity to find something that really works instead.
On this note some people buy clothes or other items and do not use them right away. Then they miss the window to return these items. I have one thing to say about that. If you buy something you don’t want to use right away you probably didn’t need it in the first place (unless it’s a seasonal item on sale).
Will You Try Slow Shopping?
So how have you been shopping so far? Have you been an impulse shopper snatching up “great deals” on stuff you don’t even need or want? Or have you been the type that doesn’t like shopping so you settle for less than what you really want?
I encourage you to try to shop slowly instead. This form of intentional buying is going to help you save money and buy good stuff that won’t become clutter you never use. When you join the slow shopping movement and learn how to shop less you will be happy with what you buy!
Want to Start Enjoying the Minimalist Lifestyle?
Intentional shopping is just one part of living the minimalist lifestyle. If you want to learn more about minimalism but are afraid it’s too hard or restrictive think again! All sorts of people from all over the world are embracing the minimalist lifestyle and escaping the consumer rat race! They are making simple living work for them so that they can have more time and freedom for their goals and dreams.
If you want to start making the minimalist lifestyle work for you too you need to grab by e-book Doable Simplicity (minimalism for normal people). It is jam packed with actionable steps to simplify your home, your schedule, your chores, and even your goals so you can start living the life you have always dreamed of!