How To Be a More Mindful Consumer During the Holiday Season

‘Tis the season to become a smarter shopper.



(Monkey Business Images /

In an era where people can easily purchase nearly any product they want, it’s more important than ever to cultivate the skill to become a smart shopper. Advertisers are looking for opportunities to pocket shoppers hard-earned cash. So, especially this time of year, during the height of the winter shopping season, there are many ways to stay mindful and save money on the seasonal shops. Here are some methods for a more intentional shopping experience.

Barter, don’t buy
Of course, sometimes, spending is unavoidable. But, in many cases it’s possible to get the things one wants and needs gratis, Positive News suggests. Trade and swaps are a great way to avoid the mall and still end up with a new wardrobe, library, or toybox. Consider joining or organizing a “swapping” club in the community or reaching out to friends and neighbors and pitching a stuff-share. 

And beyond bartering, there are other ways to obtain items for free. Online marketplace sites often have products for giveaway. Plus, many online services, for example streaming services, offer free trials, which are always worthwhile to take advantage of.

Get goods used
When spending no money isn’t an option, the next best choice is to spend less money. Marketplace websites are a great place to look for secondhand goods and some retailers, like Ikea, also offer some items secondhand. Buying pre-loved goods isn’t just good for the wallet, it’s also eco-friendly. 

Keep temptations at bay
The consumer market is smart. They know how to trigger customers with their targeted advertisements. To avoid being snared into purchasing something unneeded, shoppers should be aware of how their emotions affect their shopping. Advertisements that tell customers that it’s a “limited-supply item” or that the “sale is ending soon,” play on fear of missing out. 

Another emotional trigger is stress shopping. The mall shouldn’t be the go-to therapy during stressful periods. And, conversely, people also tend to spend more on impulse purchases when they are feeling “on cloud nine,” so it’s best to avoid making significant purchases during that time. One way to cut back on these emotional and impulse purchases is to delete the Amazon app and other shopping apps from the phone. If it’s less accessible, it’s less tempting.

Make a list
Positive News quotes counselor Georgina Sturmer, who suggests, “Make a list, enjoy the satisfaction of ticking off each item, and also the satisfaction of knowing that you’re not buying things that you simply don’t need.”

Having an organized list detailing what is needed can prevent spending money on unneeded items. Another benefit of a list is that it makes shopping easier. Sturmer explains ,”Shopping can feel overwhelming when we haven’t taken stock of what we actually need to buy.”

Socially-responsible shopping
There is so much variety among products on the market, HealthPost explains that it’s worthwhile to take the time and pick the most sustainable and ethically sourced options. Look for organic foods and products with a smaller carbon footprint. Sometimes, the packaging itself can be an important clue as to how eco-friendly something is. Look for planet-friendly packages or items with little to no wrapping.

In addition to caring for the environment, socially-conscious companies care about those producing the product. A Fair Trade marker on a product, or a company that donates a large amount of its proceeds to charities making the world a better place, are indicators that the business prioritizes the well-being of others.

In today's shopping landscape, where convenience often overshadows conscientiousness, becoming a mindful consumer is an essential skill. Mindful shopping isn't a chore, it’s a way to be more intentional about one's “stuff” and create a better world for all through ones purchasing choices.

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