Shopping is Work

Pure Minimalism

I was shopping clothes with my girlfriend the last three weekends. For me shopping isn’t fun. I hate getting off my clothes, dragging over a lot of stuff that doesn’t fit. I sweat a lot when its hot and I’m changing clothes. And this all takes a lot of time.

Therefore I developed a kind of shopping that doesn’t cost much time. Firstly, I’m getting a lot of clothes online and send the unfitting 80% back. I’ll do this two or three times and I never invest much time in picking the stuff. My girlfriend tells me whether the clothes fit or not and my selfvision is impaired when it comes to clothing.

This usually helps getting shirts and shoes. For the rest, I acually need to go shopping. I always know what kind of clothes I need to buy, and I don’t look for anything else. When I’m in the shop, I pick the 3-10 bestlooking things and try them. My girlfriend again helps me watching for errors in my vision and then I just buy that stuff.

My girlfriend uses a different approarch: she likes shopping. She looks for everything she likes, and shopping usually takes 6+ hours. She also asks me if I like the clothes, but doesn’t take my advice seriously. Things like these will happen dozens of times a day:

She: “What do you think?”

Me (big eyes): “Whoa! I really love it … you definitely should buy it! Amazing!”

She: “Mhmm. Nah.”

Results and Costs

Well, I could go to much more detail here, but all I want to say is that the results (the stuff you bought and the fun you had buying it) and the costs (time and money) matter at the end of the day.This is the same equotation for work. Think of work. The results count, it counts if you have fun in your job and it counts how much money you spend and how much time it costed.

For me, the fun in shopping is always nonexistant. As I don’t have money problems I also value time higher than money. So I try to get best best stuff as fast as possible. I would rather work than go shopping as my work is more fun.

Optimize Shopping

This equotation doesn’t only count for shopping for clothes, but for all kinds of acquisitions. And shopping for everything that matters for you should be optimized, as that way you can save time and money and spare yourself from a lot of frustration. I already told you how I tried to optimize shopping for clothes. Optimizing your weekly shopping for food and the regular goods is another kind of work that should be optimized for everyone’s life, as its just another load of work you’ll have to do for your whole life.

I’ll usually do my weekly shopping once per week by car. I use an iPhone list of things to buy with me, where items can be ticked off and the whole list can be reused every week. Therefore, I only need to add items I never bought before and can just untick the things I need this week, leaving the ones ticked that I don’t need again this week. When I’m at the cheap supermarket, I’ll try to get everything as fast as I can, not looking for the other distractions and superflous offers I could find. After that I’ll get the rest of the things I didn’t get at the cheap store in the more expensive supermarket, where I also only go for the things I really need. This helps me getting this done fast, going only once per week saves a lot of time. I don’t buy more than the planned amount of sweets too, which is good for my weight.

The time invested could also be invested in work. Therefore, I see these shopping trips as work.

Big investments

Big investments need to be done with a completely other way of buying. I think about everything where you sign a contract as a big investment, be that a mobile plan, a flat you rent or a car you buy. When I watch the TV show where people want to rent or buy houses and flats, I cannot but slap my head each time I see it. Some estate agent presents two different houses or flats to their clients, and in about 80% of the cases the people just take one of the objects. What people in these shows don’t seem to get: Buying a house or a flat is a life changing investment. You’ll live there a long time, and your whole perception of your life is influenced by this. Additionally, the prices are often much too high.

If you’re doing a big investment, I will always pay off if you research for a long time about what it is and what are the alternatives of your purchase. Don’t shop big things like clothes.

It took my girlfriend and me one year of research and about 50 visits in flats and houses till we got a lucky chance to buy a very nice and big flat and get a cheap loan from one of the about 7 banks we asked and played off against each other. It will be paid off in about 15 years, is about 20% cheaper than the usual rent of such a flat is a retirement provision that we don’t have to buy additionally. Its 10 minutes away from both of our workplaces and its damn beautiful.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Thomas Hawk

, Posted Sunday, June 20th, 2010 under Privat.

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