Sprint or Marathon Shopping?

By Melissa Tosetti

Don’t do it. Just, don’t do it.

Marathon shopping trips that is. You know, those days when you leave your house and try to get all your shopping done in one day. Whether it’s clothes shopping or holiday gift buying, lengthy shopping excursions are almost always a bad idea.

Why?

When you’re trying to stick to a Spending Plan you need to implement willpower and willpower is like a muscle that gets fatigued with use throughout the day. Every time you make a spending decision and implement your willpower, it gets a little weaker. This is one of the reasons why, when you’re trying to change your eating habits, you might do great at breakfast and sail through lunch. Then, when the afternoon hits you start to feel a bit deprived. By dinner, you’re on shaky ground and then, come 8:00 pm, you’re standing in front of the freezer with a spoon in one hand and pint of Rocky Road in the other. It’s not that you’re “bad”. It’s just that by implementing your willpower throughout the day, it got tired.

The same thing happens when you’re making spending decisions. If you try to do all of your shopping in one day, you may stick to your Spending Plan for the first few hours, but sometime after lunch, you’ll likely hit a point where you don’t care how much you’re spending. But, it’s not just about the money. By trying to do too much in one day, it’s likely you won’t take as much care, priming you to make regret purchases.

So what do you do instead?

1. First, plan! Just about every article we write and interaction with clients that we have, we talk about the power of planning. By planning in advance you give yourself plenty of time to make your purchases so you can spread the errands across the week or month.
2. Shop online, but do it smart and consider implementing the Sunday Morning Amazon Shopping Ritual.
3. Shop first thing in the morning when your willpower is fresh.

If you have no choice but to do a marathon shopping trip, then wear comfortable clothes and shoes and take a break every two hours to grab something to eat and drink.

One last thing. I don’t want to leave you feeling hopeless if the “rocky road” example resonated with you. Just like a muscle, you can strengthen your willpower and here’s how: Learn how to Increase Your Willpower with These Tiny Tweaks.