Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Habits to live by: 6 ways to Resist the Urge to Shop!

Asalamu Alaykum folks! 

Throughout this blog you will often find me promoting better buying habits, but today I want to change it up a bit.

Lately, it seems like frugality and thrift is slowing making its way into the “un-cool” pile and consumerism is becoming the new trend. For example, how common is it to hear nowadays “I shouldn’t have bought this” or “I feel so guilty.” 

Shopping addictions are now legitimate afflictions, and hoarding (considered a type of OCD) is on the rise. With major retailers advertising on Face book and bloggers pushing out product reviews like crazy it feels like there is more pressure than ever to buy, buy, buy…..

I feel it baby….

It’s important that we don’t get caught up in this temptation of consumption. Although it may be difficult for some, there are a number of habits you can implement in your life to resist the urge to shop. Here are mine!

Introducing the 2nd addition for my Habits to Live by series:

Resisting the Urge to Shop!


First I want to ask you something. 

What are deepest desires? Seriously, what are your life goals?  

If you haven’t thought about it, you should.

Perhaps you want to build a nest egg of security to fend of future backlashes. Maybe you want to travel around the world or visit a famous restaurant across the country. Or, would you like to go on Hajj or retire overseas to immerse yourself in Qur’an? 
No matter how noble of vain you think it is, if it’s your desire, you should explore it and nurture it to fulfill yourself. Money can help you get there. But if you are spending it daily on things that have nothing to do with where you are going, then you either need an intervention or you do not truly care about fulfilling your life goals. Maybe some of the following can be of help:

1.Know when to steal versus when to splurge.

Have you ever seen the steal vs. the splurge articles? They usually feature an obviously higher priced outfit or piece (the splurge) contrasted with a similar one that cost a lot less. (I still thought they were too damn expensive!) In real life, you are faced with these choices every day. When do you consider paying a higher price is worth it? Some folks believe the added costs of eating purely organic food is necessary and for others it could be technology. Perhaps your pricing radar needs adjustment, both ways! 

As my tastes have matured I definitely recognize how unapologetically I like to wear my clothes over and over again. I love to wear something I feel amazing and fall in love with. I find that most of the time, these items may be more expensive but are worth it, especially when compared to shopping at cheaper stores and realizing after a few washes that the items lost their shape and look less appealing. In this case, it’s better to buy longer lasting garments then the cutesy cheap ones.

2. Know Bulk is not always Best.

Do any of you buy in bulk? Did you know that buying in bulk sometimes doesn’t save you any money and could even cost you more? In order to know this for sure, check out your products cheapest unit price at your local grocery store. For example, what is the cheapest cost per ounce for olive oil in a grocery store versus, the cost per ounce in your local Costco? If the grocery store is cheaper, simply buy two bottles! It takes a lot of work to determine unit cost pricing of grocery store items, but if you take the time and track your savings, you will see how much it was worth it at the end of the year.

3. Think about it

I love to “online” window shop. It is not the best of habits, but it ends up being beneficial in terms of product research purposes. A great habit I have adopted (one some of my friends truly can’t stand) is my incredible ability to “think about it.”

Here is what you do, go pretend shopping. Save an item or make a mental note. Then don’t buy it for some time, maybe 3 months. Here is what is likely to happen:

  • You will find something better
  • You will forget
  • It will sell out, you feel sad, but forget about it sometime later
  • You will keep thinking about it, look at it more and realize you don’t really like it
  • You will keep thinking about it, look at it more, commit to buying it, then absolutely rejoice at such a great, worthwhile purchase.
Hands down, this is the most effective habit I practice. Because the items sell out, or I forget so much I end up saving lots of money I didn’t have to use in the first place (they belong to my goals). I developed a habit of being more conscious of consumption rather than the other way.

4. Check your “Friendly” activities

Here is a thought. I tend to spend a lot of money when I am around my friends. It usually involves food. Here is how to stop it.
  • Cook
  • Invite them to eat with you and cook for them
  • Tell them. “Hey look, I have some great goals I am setting for my future and I have some plans to help me get there, lets change things up a bit shall we?”
  • Pack your food
  • Fast
  • Share your meal with your friend and save half the tab. (also goes along with the Prophet’s hadith on not filling up the stomach)
  • Plan your outings to cheaper eateries
  • Stay at home.
5. Go shopping at home

I am a woman. I like stuff. Whenever I start to feel a little low emotionally about my possessions (because I am busying coveting one I saw online) I go shopping in my own home. I take a look at the things I own and dance in front of the mirror like a crazy person telling myself I look awesome.

Please, Don’t ever catch yourself saying “I forgot I had this.” 


You should know what you have. 

Be responsible and take a look. This will help you to realize your blessings. You will also realize that perhaps you don’t need the new bracelet because if you add three of the ones you have, it will achieve the same effect. Also, it forces you to find all those “neglected” things you didn’t value after all. Being aware of your past impulse buys, helps you to avoid future ones. 

6. Keep busy damnet

Let’s face it. Shopping, for some of us, is a habit like eating breakfast. The only way to undo a strong habit is to replace it with a more positive one. I fill my day sometimes with working on my business. It helps me to stay away from buying things I don’t need. You could learn qur’an, submit a entry in a writing contest, go for a walk, learn a new skill like speed reading, read a book, or talk to a friend. 

Whatever you do, do something you enjoy as much or more than consuming. Most likely this habit will benefit you as well.

Over and out.
Thanks for reading! Do any of you practice these habits? Have some ones I should have mentioned?


  1. You're advice on inviting friends over to eat is a really good one. Not only for saving money but also for becoming closer.

    1. Thanks Dark Knight! I agree wholeheartedly, I would rather be a host and cook for my friends then to go to a restaurant any day :)

  2. Really good advice. I sometimes do the think it over and buy it later if I'm still wanting it. Also when I go through stuff and re organize I feel like things have new life when you bring out stuff you haven't used in a while. Thankfully I only buy stuff when I have the cash but sometimes impulse buys happen and it's always better to think it over.

    1. Thanks Mona! Thinking things over and really analyzing why I want something has been the best way I have saved money so far :)

  3. Excellent advice! Living in Dubai and now being in Singapore for a few months has been difficult. Both countries main centers are malls and consumerism/materialism is huge in both these countries and it has definitely influenced me. Recently, I splurged and I felt awful about it b/c it was for the first time since I spent my first paycheck in high school.

    The habits I practise is stealing. Like you, I will buy the more expensive clothes for the quality...but that means I will also shamelessly wear those clothes over and over again. I usually never purchase in bulk. I can't believe you do this, too...but I also take a few days to think it over. I'll go to the stores and find things I like. Rather than buying it right away, I'll look at it online a few times...sleep on it...and then make the decision. I also try my best to invite ppl over rather than go out to eat. It's healthier, too!

    A habit I will definitely take away with me after reading your post is keeping busy and trying to avoid online shopping or going to the mall. Sorry if this is too long!

    1. Hey sippingchai! I am so glad you found the advice useful! I didn't know how difficult it might be living in those two countries in terms of shopping but I glad you have found ways to combat overspending. I love home-cooked food over restaurant any day. Thanks so much for visiting and please don't worry about posting too long. This blog is open to everyone so if you have something to say feel free no matter how much. I loved reading your comment!

      All the best

  4. what a great post! online shops is killing me. each time i found a product that i like, i try to think about it. gave it some time. just like you did. i also try to buy clothes that i can mix & match with everything that i already have in my wardrobe. oh i also only want to splurge on shoes and bags. :D


You are AmaZing


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