I am not a shopper-shopper. For some reason, having a million bags strung over my arm (or D’s) or spending precious hours trying on dresses after dresses or shoes after shoes do not appeal to me (D, please do not shake your head – yet). Unless I am hungry.
There was a time before our financial planner (the dark ages), before reason reigned supreme. One of his earlier lessons was some words of caution: “Do not go to the mall when you are hungry.” Huh?
He explains: the hunger gives off an emptiness sign to the psyche and the psyche goes haywire and the emptiness needs to be filled – instantly. This is transmitted to the brain, and since the main activity at hand is shopping, the mind fools itself into thinking that the hunger will be satiated by buying. It is correct, to some degree; the buying will stave off the hunger. But the relief is merely temporary. After all, the stomach is still hungry, and the hormone ghrelin is still running out of control in the bloodstream.
Had I known.
People have done many foolish things because of hunger – I know this. They have scaled parapets over parapets and threw themselves, pawned things, borrowed, stole, spent 100,000 mindlessly on a single shopping spree. I know this only too well.
And I have to smile here. Guiltily.
So after this Eureka! moment, never was there a day when D and I (and C) go to the mall hungry. Either we eat at home or head to the restaurant section first (which kind of defeats the purpose, I think, if the intent is to save – but please, we are works in progress). I am calmer, pickier when I am satiated, less prone to impulse buys and wanting this shoes and wanting that dress. My eyes still appreciate the beautiful but does not covet it (okay, at least not too much). My mind is in control and I listen to what it says. Sanity is regained and all is well in the financial world (whew!).
Aside from not shopping hungry, here are some other useful shopping tips:
- If you must, shop with a list, or with a budget in mind.
- Take advantage of promotions and membership cards – I get perverse pleasure in collecting them. Ayala has the A Card which can give you discounts and fun freebies (but you need to spend 10,000 first, ehrm), Citibank has the Rustan’s Citi Card which gives rebates on purchases (5%, i think), BDO Credit Card offers double points on special announced dates (but I do not know anyone – yet – who exchanges his points for stuff).
- Do not go during 3-day sales. Because of the effort to go there (braving the scarcity of parking and horror of traffic), you will try to fool yourself (very convincingly) that an item is a good buy when, actually, it is not, only because lots of shopping bags would make you look like you have accomplished your purpose (too well, only too well).
- I am not sure if this is relevant but – participate in raffles. I know the sister of someone who won a car. (shopping does pay sometimes!)
Next time you get inside the mall, do this basic thing: hold on to your horses and feed the hunger. I think you will be just fine.
Article by Issa. Art by D. Copyright 2009.
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