Shopping for value not bargains

As many of you know, Michelle is embarking on a no spend year and while I’m not participating fully, it has made me realise just how much my relationship with shopping has changed. 

It’s not something you hear often from minimalists but I now love shopping.


This isn’t me coming out and saying: ‘let’s hit the sales!’ or denouncing my minimalist ways. It’s more that I have finally had a shift in mindset when I approach a purchase.


When I shop, the thing I’m buying has to be useful and fit a specific purpose. For example with our restricted grocery budget we’ve had to look at every item we put in the shopping basket and question whether we really need it or not.


At first this was an interesting experiment and then for a couple of weeks it felt like a real restriction as the old shopper in me wanted freedom to buy impulsively but now it’s habit.


Now we buy enough to feed and clean us for the week and no more. No impulse buys and no stockpiling and no wasting money on things we don’t need, plus there is zero food wasted at the end of the week as an added bonus.


This feeling has transferred over to more general purchases and combined with living a minimalist lifestyle for a prolonged period something has clicked in my head.


In the past I was terrible when it came to shopping; mindless impulsive purchases and ‘just in case’ items were some of the main offenders, and left me with things I just didn’t need. Bicycles would be a major culprit, I’d find that one didn’t suit my needs at the time but would then impulsive make a purchase which I would then have to justify by buying more things to go with it.


I would also trawl forums and eBay looking for the elusive bargain that was there to be found, regardless of whether I needed an item: a bargain was a bargain.


The point I’ve come to realise is there are very few real bargains as the item is either something you don’t really need and you are buying it purely because it’s cheap, or it’s cheap because it’s of poor quality and will turn out to be a waste of money.


In the last couple of months I’ve kept a log of every purchase I’ve made, it’s helped me realise that bargains aren’t the thing to chase, good value is the real prize.


I will need to and want to buy things but every purchase is considered, I ask myself whether I really need it and equally important, is the item fit for purpose, and is it good enough quality to last. 


By following that principle from the small things right up the big things I find that I enjoy shopping. Perusing auction sites looking for the sale of the century is no longer a mindless distraction for me and the things I own or purchase now, I really enjoy.


Who says minimalists don’t like shopping!




8 thoughts on “Shopping for value not bargains

  1. Shopping with a purpose can be very rewarding. For example, In the last 3 years, I’ve converted my wardrobe into a capsule of well tailored, layerable, all season clothing with a few seasonal specifics thrown in. It feels almost like I’ve beaten the marketing execs at their own game 😉


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