Shopping Less Makes Me Happier

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Shopping less saves money and time! It also can make you happier and more peaceful if you stay out of the stores.

Shopping Less Makes Me Happier | Life as Mom

Heather has spoiled me today in providing this post!

I’m proud to say that I am an infrequent shopper. Sure, I didn’t always subscribe to the theory that “less is more” when it comes to shopping. But I’ve recently recognized that spending large chunks of time shopping does not make me happier. I want to share with you why shopping less is bringing me joy.

Shopping Less Makes Me Happier

Shopping less saves me time.

I made a conscious decision to start respecting my time more and to spend it on what is important to me. I love the thrill of the hunt for a good bargain, and saving money on items my family needs, but the multiple shopping trips bargain-hunting requires is time-consuming. The shopping process involves planning the trip, driving to the store, shopping (often with children helping you), driving back home, and putting away the items you bought. I’ve decided that my time is more wisely spent on other things than shopping, so I now typically shop at one grocery store once-a-week. I love that I have reclaimed my time and am no longer chasing the deals.

Shopping less saves me money.

I will admit that I would probably be able to find better prices by shopping at multiple stores each week, but overall I am buying less stuff by visiting only one store each week. I’m not doing any window shopping, browsing, or shopping out of boredom or as a form of entertainment. As a result I have greatly reduced the temptation to make unplanned purchases. I know I’m missing out on some great deals at the stores, but I still am able to get great deals at my favorite grocery store each week. I’m also using the internet as a resource to buy some items for less than I can buy them at the store. Coupon codes, free shipping, and online sales really can make internet shopping a smart and time-saving shopping alternative. And of course I take advantage of special deals like my Shutterfly order last week where I spent 12 cents total (including shipping) for photos to put in frames I already have.

Shopping Less Makes Me Happier | Life as Mom

Shopping less means I am bringing less stuff into my house.

I realized one evening, when I was dreading putting away the stuff that I had just bought at Target (lots of clearance items and coupon stacking deals), that perhaps this was a sign I simply should not be bringing this extra stuff into my house. By shopping less I have found that I can really focus on caring for, organizing, and appreciating all of the wonderful stuff I already own. Sure, I still need to do some other shopping beyond the grocery store. But I now treat these shopping trips as a big event. I first make a list of the items I think I need, then I think about my list over several days or even weeks. I challenge myself to cross items off my list and sometimes even eliminate the need for the shopping trip altogether. I do this by asking myself some questions: Is it a need or a want? How can I use something I already have? Can I buy this item on the internet to save money and time? Can I cancel this shopping trip?

Shopping less means canceling shopping trips you used to automatically make without questioning.

Perhaps I am the retailer’s worst customer because an infrequent shopper is exactly what they don’t want. They have gone to great lengths to make shopping more convenient for me. The density of stores is increasing, the variety of goods and services is expanding, and the weekly deals provide incentives to visit often. So surely I can afford to buy more and more stuff? I don’t think so.

I am saying no to more frequent store visits and yes to respecting my time, budget, and home. I invite you to think about how many stores you typically visit each week?

Does shopping less save money for YOU?

— When not chasing after two toddlers, Heather blogs at from Houston with the hope to spoil her readers with new freebies each day.

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  1. This is exactly what I have been thinking about lately. I have come to dread putting the free or almost free items away. Not to mention that I go into a store for 2 things and come home with 20, of which I didn’t know I needed in the first place. This was very inspirational and thanks for letting me know that I am not alone in this. I too want to get great deals, but not at the price of my family and home.

    Thanks for this wonderful post!


  2. Great post, Heather! And thanks for being so honest about your methods and motivations. When I first started “scoring great deals”, it was such a rush and my mind was constantly reeling, trying to formulate the best game plan. A couple months ago I made a conscious decision to “be OK” with missing a deal or two. And you know what? I’m really not missing anything.

  3. Thanks to FishMama for the opportunity to write this guest post. I’m thrilled to hear that I’m not alone and that others are joining me as an Infrequent Shopper. You’ve got to do what makes you and your family happy.

  4. I have only been doing the coupon thing since May. At this point, I too, have realized my stockpile is piled high. I decided to only stock up on free items (that we actually use), items that we go through quickly, or items that go on sale infrequetly or have few coupons. As with anything, one must guard against excess. And I agree with keeping your time/priorities in check. My other thought is that I am going to cut down on keeping coupons for things I really never would use. Yes, sometimes buying things you don’t use can get you things for free, earn ecb’s and overage, but some things are more trouble than they are worth. My coupon box overfloweth! Then I can’t find the ones I really need. And I have let a few deals pass me by, but there are always more deals around the corner. For instance a few weeks ago the Walgreen’s coupon came out for Fri/Sat. I really just wanted to use it, but I had spent my budgeted amount and didn’t really need anything, so I passed. I imagine that most people go through a “honeymoon phase” with couponing, then they find the balance that works for them and their situation.

  5. I’ve stopped buying frozen food because my freezer is absolutely packed. I’ve also changed my Walgreens and CVS trips to only weeks that have great deals that I need. If I already have several in my stockpile, that is not a need. It really helps me to cut down on impulse buys and stress trying to make it to several stores a week.

  6. I used to come home with bags of things and I’d wonder where I stashed things. I couldn’t remember what I’d bought within a few days. Most of the things I bought weren’t used regularly and didn’t change my daily life. I started worrying about how many things we’d have to pack to move (since we were moving). Now I rarely go shopping, aside from groceries. I am not any less happy and I’m not always wondering where to put what I’ve bought. I make a list of things I really want and I consider my purchases before making them (most of the time). It’s made budgeting much easier and I feel in control. It’s liberating.

  7. Wow – I get it! I started heavy use of coupons again earlier this year and stocked myself right out of our pantry into my craft room. Not necessary! I also have to remind myself that good deals do happen all the time! I am limiting my shopping trip quantity and this week will be re-evaluating a new budget to limit it even more! I have to admit I feel pressure removed already!

    Now… how to get Christmas under the same control!

    Thanks for the great article Heather!

  8. I have been instituting a “use what we have” mentality around here. I have managed grocery shopping once a week. Fridays only, so if we run out of something early, too bad (this usually happens with ceral). I also needed to stay out of Target, so that running is down to once a month. I have a list running of things we are running low, or out of…toothpaste, shampoo, soap…things like that. I will buy only 1 month supply…so we are getting the family to use things sparingly…not globbing the toothpaste, or dumping loads of shampoo and conditioner out…

    Great ideas…

  9. Living and working so close to Kroger, CVS, Walgreens, Target, and Walmart, I thought this couponing thing was wonderful and would come home with load and loads of stuff. Hubby marveled at the goods and then I had to find a place to stash it all. With over a dozen tubes of toothpaste and shaving cream along with an entire linen closet full of items, I’ve taken a break. I do still look for the free deals and of course the diapers and wipes. I also stockpile canned goods and such when I get a good deal. This allows me to stick to a $40/week budget at the grocery store. I just sorted through the coupon box and dumped the coupons for things I won’t use no matter what. I don’t like Sure deoderant… why am I clipping the coupon for it? I’ve donated many items and will continue to do so. I also sold a lot of my excess at a garage sale… suprisingly people really snatched that stuff up quickly. Great post Heather. Thanks for being so honest and open with your journey

  10. Great post, Heather! I am slowly coming to terms with my shopping addiction. Fortunately, high gas prices have helped a lot; I no longer make as many trips to town, and with little ones in tow, I’m forced to use the time I am in town very wisely. It helps to remind myself that there will be other great deals on other days.

  11. I wish this post was on every blog right now! I couldn’t agree more and I could have written this post myself! With all the crazy deal shopping peer pressure women out there I often couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me because I hate to shop and I can’t seem to find the time to sit collecting coupons, prices, deals, etc. for hours and hours. My family time is way too valuable to me. So, my budget might be higher than most but my family has more of me and my house isn’t filled with 50 boxes of unhealthy hamburger helper! Amen!

    Oh, and for those interested in scrapbooking and prayer journals combine, check out my business here:

  12. Thanks for easing my guilt about NOT getting into the CVS/Walgreens (etc.) thing! Out of necessity – I am chronically ill, and my husband has cancer and kidney failure – I have had to cut way back, to the point where I’ve asked my oldest daughter (age 21) to do my weekly errands so I can care for her dad and not make myself any sicker. But I’ve felt guilty about missing out on all those great deals! Well no more. Thanks for giving me another, better, perspective.

  13. It’s so good to read stories like these. I am not a frequent shopper. I hate clutter and “stuff” and I’m just NOT a shopper. I go shopping once a week. I have honestly been to the mall 2 times since we moved here over 2 years ago and the last time was to take the kids playing on the play place. It’s just good to hear that I’m not alone=)

  14. It’s so refreshing to read all your “what works for me” stories related to shopping less! I look forward to sharing more related to this topic on Freebies 4 Mom. Thanks for visiting today and leaving your comments!