Do you ever do this?
You’re shopping at your favorite store and you see a dress. It’s the perfect summer dress! You immediately see yourself as thin, tan, on the beach or on a boat while you sip a perfect drink with your happy and gorgeous significant other. You look great, feel great and EVERYONE is happy!
I’ve done it MANY times. That’s all fine except that is NOT my reality. That’s a Pinterest picture and it cost me.
I call that “Fantasy Shopping“. You might even buy that dress based on that fantasy. In reality it winds up in your closet never to be worn, or you do wear it once to a backyard BBQ where Joe Schmo accidentally spills some beer on you. Not quite the picture you saw before right?
I read an article in Oprah magazine once where she was cleaning out her closet. EVEN OPRAH bought stuff she never wore based off of a “fantasy Oprah” she imagined. Oprah! The struggle is real!
Fantasy Shopping: When you imagine a life you do not have to justify a purchase.
Why do we do that?
I’ll skip the in depth psychoanalysis and just say this: It triggers areas in our brain for preparation and filling the void. Our brains do very interesting things when we shop. We are solving problems in our head that are emotional rather than fully practical.
For example, suppose you didn’t have the best summer last year and you vowed to get out and enjoy the parties more, hike that special trail or take that amazing trip you’ve always wanted to go on. When the stores start bringing in their beautiful, new clothes for spring your brain starts to imagine that dreamy scenario so you can stop feeling pressure or stress and start feeling relief.
When the brain tries to solve emotional issues it’s rarely elegant about it. It wants to protect you and avoid pain at all costs.
Which is easier:
1: Slowing down in your business to make time for your friends and family this summer, save some money for that trip, and/or start working really hard to hit your goals physically so you look and feel how you’ve always wanted in that swimsuit.
2: Buy this really cute dress right now that you totally see yourself doing all those things in!
Hmmm, the first option sounds like work and delayed gratification. Not something that comes easily. If those are easy goals for you, that’s nice, I’m not jealous or anything, but if you do struggle with this like I have, there is a solution!
There is a phenomenon where because you have purchased something the brain can check that off as an accomplishment. You bought those yoga pants – boom, that’s as good as doing yoga! With that purchase you will feel in the present like you have accomplished your goal when in reality you need to do much more. It’s not just with clothes, it can work with food. You bought broccoli – boom, you’re healthy now!
Here’s how to get around the ego and fix it!
#1. Don’t go shopping to relieve stress. I am guilty of this and I probably won’t stop. I do this when I have a spare hour to myself which is super rare. Sometimes I buy something, sometimes I don’t. You can either avoid the temptation or go in knowing that you’re in a much more vulnerable position to make an unwise or unnecessary purchase.
#2. If you are shopping and unsure about something ask yourself a few questions.
- Does it fit? I don’t mean does it BARELY fit. I mean does it fit well, no bulges or tugs or gaps?
- Do you love it or is it just a good deal? Sometimes an impulse buy is based off the fact that it’s so cheap you just have to buy it. BUT YOU DON’T! Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Trust me, I have too many cheap earrings that I don’t wear based off that mistake!
- Will I wear it this month? Unless you are getting a dress for a wedding or special occasion you don’t need to buy clothes months in advance.
One more tip:
I have started to keep the tags on my clothes until I have tried them on with a few other things in my closet. This helps me to determine whether it’s a fit for the rest of my wardrobe and a practical purchase. I of course, am gentle with the garment and if it doesn’t fit my body or my style, I return it within a week or so depending on the store and their policy.
I don’t have a Pinterest perfect life! Who does!? But I have found ways to save a little more of my time and money while I shop and spend wisely. Have you ever fantasy shopped? What was the worst thing you ever bought in that moment? Comment below or email me and let me know!