Right now, my Target cart is full online. I check it every morning to see if any of the prices have changed or if items have gone on sale. Every afternoon I check it again. Then, maybe once more before I go to bed.
Repeat the next day.
As I’m still in the thick of holiday shopping season, awaiting those gut-busting sales and hallelujah purchases, I’ve composed a brief list of tips to help us all keep our hearts and bank accounts in check.
Avoid the internet.
Go to the library and check out some books. Call up a friend or relative. Deep clean and declutter your house. Put on some good music.
Pick out what you want. Check back a day later.
Sales and prices aren’t like the stock market. You don’t have to watch the numbers that closely. If you can’t avoid the internet, then pick out what you want. Edit and revise your cart or wishlist the next day. Businesses may also email you important sale info, so is it really that necessary to check your cart every hour? No, it’s not.
Also, once you pick out what you want, don’t click through the whole website’s catalog to see if you missed anything. You didn’t miss anything. If you didn’t catch it before, then you don’t need it.
Only buy things on sale or things discounted.
This has been a good rule of thumb for me. It’s helped me be patient, and if I really want an item, then I’m willing to wait for it. I even do this for books from my favorite indie publishers. Enjoying sales is a nice way to be part of that business’s community.
Limit yourself to a number of items or a dollar amount.
Restrict yourself. This tip is also helpful in making sure that you aren’t throwing your money around wildly. Invest your money in particular items.
Ask the minimalist questions.
Will you use this item? Is it practical? Will you enjoy this item? Do you find it beautiful?
Also, visualize yourself with this item. Where will it be kept in your home? Is it versatile? Keep your visualizations realistic; know that this item won’t make you the most popular girl in high school. That sweater won’t change who you are.
Remember others close to you.
If you’re in a relationship, such as a marriage, does the item benefit only you or both of you? Does your special other also enjoy this item, find significance or utility in that item? Have a conversation about it.
Know the return policy.
If it doesn’t work out between you and this item, can you take it back? Will it cost you extra to return it? Just know what you’re getting into.
Get your heart straight.
Why do you want this item? Why do you really want this item? Are you in a phase of life or constantly struggle in thinking objects will allow you to live the life you want? Talk to a spiritual counselor or someone in your small group. You’re free from all that junk.
Know the company’s story.
Does this company or business treat workers fairly? Are they known for quality? Are they engaged in the community? Are they looking to better the world in some way? Why are they in business? Is the company local?
Research the materials or ingredients.
So, that thing you’re about to buy: what’s it made out of? Who made it? Is that thing harming the environment or the people who made it? Is it difficult to find that information? Have a clear conscience on purchases.
I’m still working on that.
In the End
To survive the holiday shopping season, I need to have my heart straight. I want God to be at the center of my finances and material possessions. Everything exists through him, for him, and because of him. The items we buy should reflect that truth.
Leave your struggles in the comments, and take hold of the freedom offered to you in Christ!