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  • 5 Tips for Surviving Holiday Shopping

    By Jill Chivers


    I’ve learned a lot about shopping over the last couple of years.  For many years, shopping was my favourite pastime, and I became very skilled at it – I could have taught classes in how to become a better shopper.  Then I took a year off from clothes shopping, an experience that changed how I think and feel about shopping.  Shopping can be an enjoyable pastime, sure – but so many of us are whittling away our hard earned cash on purchases that end up on the garage sale table, or at the drop off bin at our local charity.  What a waste!  There is a better way.

    Now we’re coming into the holiday crush and many people’s thoughts are turning to shopping.  Shopping for Christmas gifts, shopping for special holiday food, shopping for one’s self as a treat.  If you found shopping confusing or over-stimulating before the holiday shopping crush, then in the lead up to the end of the year and in the week leading up to the New Year, shopping can be a near-lethal activity, or at the very least, a contact sport!  You need to be well equipped to survive.

    So as we head into the holiday shopping madness, here are my tips for surviving shopping mayhem this year.

    1. Be prepared. Yes, girl scouts, this oldie but goodie is one worth applying to shopping.  Don’t go out of the house, headed towards the shops without a clear plan of where you’re going and what you’re getting.  Write a list.  Use that list. Consider your list a wise investment – the time you spend creating the list will pay off in spades when you’re in the shopping centre.  Research shows that we spend up to 40% less if we shop with a list. And remember:  lists are like maps – they can help you stay on track and avoid pitfalls.  If there is any time of year when pitfalls abound, it’s now.  So do yourself a favour and create your map and take it with you!

    2. Be in a resourceful state. This refers to is how you’re feeling as you shop – mentally, emotionally and physically.  Do not go shopping when you are tired, fractious, hungry, upset, angry or frustrated.  It will only get worse once you are in the shopping mall.  Make sure you are feeling buoyant, well-rested, energetic, well fed and watered, and calm.

    3.Be focused. Keep your map – your list – in your hand and go to only those places that you said you would.  Don’t meander into this shop or drift into that shop.  Don’t allow yourself to become distracted by spruikers selling their wares at seemingly massive discounts, or enticing window or table displays.  Keep your focus laser sharp.

    4.Be aware. Shopping centres are deliberately designed to keep you in them for as long as possible.  The way they are designed, lighted and air conditioned is all part of a deliberate strategy to have you lose your sense of time (and sometimes, direction).  Keep your awareness turned to “high” as you shop, by tuning into your surroundings and noticing them.  It’s easy to become in a slightly anaesthetized state in a large enclosed shopping centre (after all, the design of these malls has been scientifically tested, proven and duplicated for many decades) – so offset that by being aware of where you are.

    5. Be timely. Set yourself a timeframe by which you will be finished shopping, and heading out the door.  You want to put some flex into this timeframe, because the car park and the mall may be more congested than usual, making it harder to maneuver around.  But it will be possible to give yourself a broad timeframe that you can stick to.  If you say it’s 2 hours, then after that time, do a quick review of your map (your list) and see if you have done enough for today’s session, and start moving toward the exit.

    Shopping at holiday times can be a stimulating pastime.  It can also lead to blow-outs in your budget and the feeling of time slipping through your fingers.   Use these strategies to shop consciously and reduce the consumption commotion this holiday period.

    About Jill Chivers: Jill Chivers is a reformed shopaholic who is now an advocate for conscious shopping.  After successfully completing her own year without clothes shopping, Jill created the world’s first online membership site for other women who want to slay their own shopping dragon and create a healthier relationship to shopping, themselves, their wardrobes and their wallets. Jill has been featured in many media stories including segments on Sunrise, the Today Show, the Morning Show, The Circle, Today Tonight, Ten News, Triple J, Radio National and the Sunshine Coast Daily newspaper. Learn more at