a ‘shopping guide’ for the holidays, and the rest of the year

shopping bags_121114I’ll be honest, I love shopping. I’m totally not ashamed. I love discovering new things and finding awesome deals. There’s that amazing feeling of accomplishment when you find a great deal and the holiday season is filled with even more shopping temptation and amazing deals than any other time of year. We get something new and shiny  – on sale! – and we feel a serious sense of victory. Yes!

But this time of year especially, with the extra influx of emails, deals, offers, rebates and discounts everywhere you look, it can be easy to give into temptation, everything looks so fun… and is such a good price… before we know it we have a huge pile of new things to enjoy. But often we look around after the haze of the holiday season fades away and wonder – why did I buy all this stuff? It’s not even really me… and I don’t even really love it…

So instead of adding a list of my own ‘things to buy’ to all of the holiday shopping lists already floating around with recommendations for the “perfect” gifts for every imaginable human being, I’m sharing my own shopping guide. I use these few key ‘rules’ as a kind of personal radar, any time of year, to help me stay in tune to my own energy and help make sure when I do buy things, they are things I really love and are really me. It helps me make sure that when I make a purchase, no matter what time of year, and no matter what price, it’s with intention and is in tune with my true self and energy, so that I can feel good about and enjoy the purchase and not have to handle regret-filled buyer’s remorse or look around at a house full of compromises in the name of a good deal.

1. Buying things on sale

I had a friend once who bought a top on sale for $5 (what a great deal!) but it didn’t even fit properly – hmmm…

Are you about to buy something on sale because it’s something you really love and have been waiting for a better deal, or is it just because it’s on sale? Literally ask yourself this question – why do I like this? Am I just thinking about it because it’s on sale? If it were full price, would I still want it, would it have even caught my eye? Imagine the thing full price, is it “full price” worth of good? – if it’s clothes, does it look full price good on you? If it’s furniture or a larger purchase item, would you still want it if it wasn’t on sale, does the quality seem worthy of the full price… so getting the sale price would just be the icing on the cake?

If the answer is no, it’s not such an amazing deal is it. Put it down and back away slowly, sale endorphins are sneaky. Don’t buy things you don’t even really like just because they are on sale. If you are unsure about something, hit the pause button for a few days… if you are still thinking about it and wanting it, then go for it! If not, you’ve probably already forgotten about it anyway and the decision making is over – magic! Plus who really wants a victory song that goes like this – Yay! I just spent money on something I might not even really like and isn’t actually that fabulous, but it was such a good deal! …. huh? Umm, no.

Which brings us nicely to number two.

2. It’s a good bargain

I feel like we all know someone who loves a good ‘bargain’. But is finding a good bargain snagging an awesome high quality item at a great price, or is it being unwilling to pay for value, only willing to spend minimally on anything? It’s important to know where you fall on this spectrum… and see if you are where you actually want to be.

I love a good sale and I’m also willing to pay full price, or do without until I can have exactly what I want. I’ll often wait for things to go on sale… or save up for that perfect thing I’m in love with, and sometimes I’ll buy something less expensive (but still a good value) that will fill a need for now but I know is not a long term investment and I’ll be replacing at some point- all of these, and many other strategies are totally valid.

What I will never do is buy something that’s not good quality just because it’s the least expensive, maybe so cheap that it might seem like an amazing bargain or the biggest sale. I think the big thing here is to figure out how you feel about price versus quality and know what you are looking for in a purchase so that you can have as much clarity and certainty as possible and feel good with the choice you are making.

No matter how cheap something is, or how seemingly unbelievable a bargain it might be – if it’s no the right thing for you, it’s not a good deal.

3. Splurging for the label

Number three is essentially the same as number two, just the opposite end of the spectrum. In the same way we have a tendency to buy things on sale just because they are on sale, we can also splurge on expensive brand name items because they seem like a awesome deal when they are marked down, even if we aren’t really loving them. Even on sale it’s still more than we’d spend, but it can feel special to have that brand name thing sitting in your living room or in your closet, whether it’s furniture, clothes, a new bag or watch – whatever.

If you are going to drop extra dough on something, isn’t it worth making sure it’s something you really love and want? Find that thing you love, then wait for that to go on sale – now that’s the kind of victory I’m talking about.

I use these three basic checks to make sure I’m bringing just the right things into my life year round. Because who needs more clutter, or anything less than amazing things we love anywhere around us – right? Happy holidays and happy shopping – for just the right things for you!

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