September 15, 2015

Stop. Ask Questions.

A lot of what we buy is purchased on impulse - why do you think every grocery store has displays of candy right at the checkout? How to overcome the pressure to buy now? Use your self control to wait.

Few purchases are for emergency items or for things we really, really need. Most of the time we see. We want. We buy.

But if we inconvenience ourselves by stopping and asking a few questions about the thing charming us, we can break the spell.

  • do I need this?
  • would I rather save the money?
  • would I rather spend the money on something else?
  • will buying this positively affect my health and well being?
  • will buying this create unnecessary harm to the environment?

More often than not, if we wait the impulse passes. Especially if we stop, ask questions, and think more about the repercussions of our potential purchase. It takes all the fun out of shopping.

And that is the whole point. 


  1. Making impulse purchases in the grocery store isn't a problem for me, I make a list and pretty much stick to it. But (especially in the past) I've made impulse purchases of other things. Now I make myself wait a week. If in a week I can still justify the purchase, then it's OK. Since I never go to malls, or other stores, it's online shopping that can be my downfall. There have been a few needs lately, but I've thought about them for months in some cases. I try hard to to let anything into my life that doesn't serve a true purpose.

    1. A grocery list is a must. Linda and I always wait before making any purchase. If we wait long enough we forget that we ever wanted whatever it was. Unless we think it will add to our lives, then it will continue to come up for us.

      There is so much available on line these days. Last year Linda and I had fun looking at furniture on the web. It was all pretty tempting since we had no furniture at all when we arrived here, and you do have to have a few things to be comfortable, like a table and chairs.

      Soon we had thousands of dollars of new furniture picked out. But we waited and decided that was crazy. The consumer bug passed and we took our time to search out used furniture for a fraction of the cost. And we bought way less than we thought we would need.

  2. Hi Gregg,

    some new questions I've also learned to ask myself - could I borrow it or buy it second hand? Could I delay my purchase and make what I have last longer? Another tactic I've read about is to wait a specified period of time - eg, a week - and then make the purchase if you still really want to. Often times the desire will fade.

    I loved your last two questions. The last one in particular means most things are not suitable for purchase. The year we went without buying anything from China we saved a LOT of money! (the exception was joggers for the children for school sport, we just couldn't find any not made in China).


    1. Oh, those are excellent. I guess another could be, "could I make it myself?".

      I like the no China challenge. You would think that would make most purchases more local. I always look for things made in my country, preferably my home province.

    2. Oh, 'could I make it myself?' is a great one! After the no China challenge our dinner service was is need of replacing (as most of it had broken) and I was determined not to buy Chinese. I instead saved up and bought plates and bowls from a local artisan at what some would call a crazy price, especially for a family on our modest income. To me the price reflected the true cost of this man's time and expertise. We have had the plates and bowls for years now and they continue to give joy every time we use them. I possibly bought less than we actually needed (eg I often need extra plates and bowls during food preparation) so I ended up purchasing a 1940s dinner set from a lady who's granny had had it in a box for 50 years! That set also brings me a lot of joy, it is in a simple, humble design, the butter yellow glaze is lovely, and I'm reminded to slow down and be mindful when I use it as it's more delicate than the modern stuff.


  3. Stopping and asking myself a series of questions has really made a terrific difference on my shopping habits. I usually do what Madeleine said about waiting a week and seeing if the desire fades. When we go to town, we make a plan in advance and decide what shops we are going to. I don't always buy Norwegian goods (though I prefer local food if possible), but I try to buy quality that will last and find producs produced by properly payed workers and with the environment in mind. I love the feeling of strolling through our local shopping centre (once in a blue moon) with my planned purchase in hand, and not feeling even a tinge of desire for anything more! "Hooked on the feeling!" Pam in Norway


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