Personal Finance, Shopping

Shopping Doesn’t Make You Thin, Beautiful and Popular

I cringe every time I hear a woman list shopping as one of her hobbies. It’s usually said with a coy smile or a giggle as if she is trying to look like a thirteen-year-old girl. If a woman makes her own cash, has socked away enough for retirement and has met all of her other financial obligations (not just surviving on credit), then there may be less harm in it. However, it still annoys me that so much of “shopping” is buying into false assumptions:

1. More is better

2. Newer is better

3. Appearance (of our home, hair, clothes) is the highest standard

4. That shopping is a constructive activity of camaraderie

The mall has replaced the front porch or the kitchen as the gathering place for women to come together. While I am thrilled that women no longer belong only in the home (as if we ever did), it’s as if women all went flying out of the house and got snagged in the sale racks at the mall like bugs in fly paper, completely missing the rest of what life has to offer.

Of course, merchandisers are more than happy to jump on the bandwagon. When I see a young girl with a t-shirt that says “Born to Shop” I feel hopeless. She’s being raised by Fifth Avenue instead of her parents.

I would be so happy to see women gather for reasons other than accumulating more stuff, obsessing over how you look or the overrated “girls night out” where you spend $5 per drink to sit in a loud place and roll your eyes if guys talk to you and pout if they don’t.

Shopping should be a means to an end. Need food? Go to the grocery store. Need a garden hose? Go get it.

But does this sound familiar:

“What are you doing this Saturday?”

“Oh, we’re going to the mall/Lowe’s/Best Buy/book store just to look around and then have lunch.”

There is nothing you lack, yet you are trolling for new ways to spend money you haven’t thought of yet.

Here are five alternatives to shopping that will make you thin, beautiful and popular! (Okay, that’s a lie. But shopping doesn’t do that either, even though ads indirectly claim it does.)

1. Invite a girlfriend for a walk, run or a swim

2. Organize a women’s canoe trip

3. Meet women friends at a gazebo at your local park and tell stories

4. Call the person who knows and loves you best to reconnect

5. Play kickball with your kids

Don’t lose focus of what’s important – connecting with those around you and aspiring to a higher purpose. Don’t get too busy mimicking empty ideas of people from television.

Even if you have plenty of money to spend, a hollow answer to a real problem is still a hollow answer. Recognize when you are going shopping just to have social interaction. Also, recognize when you are shopping because you are down and feel like something new will make you feel better. Go outside and watch the bugs and squirrels, listen to the birds. Pick a few flowers and put them in a glass in your bedroom. Remember that you are a part of the world.

If you, like George Costanza, have always wanted to be a marine biologist, then go to a nearby aquarium, plan a trip to the coast, take a class at the local university. Don’t just buy dolphin earrings and collect all twelve of a dolphin Christmas ornament set. Don’t become a caricature of your dream. Go out into the world and live your life instead of trying to buy it.

7 thoughts on “Shopping Doesn’t Make You Thin, Beautiful and Popular

  1. Hi!
    I share your opinion though I live in a different country and therefore culture.I try to live the frugal way and do enjoy it,but my kids think I am crazy.They love going shopping with their friends or even alone…and most of the time they want and even get the most expensive stuff and feel well only in such.Their father gives them as much money as wanted for these things they don´t need at all.We are divorced you see and he wants to be the “better” parent.Itś sad mostly because bringing them up this way is not right at all.I´ve got four kids and by living frugally I am capable of letting them have all that is really important.I´d think we have enough for a nice life,but they don´t think so thanks to the world they are growing up in where everyone only chases money and dreams of THINGS they would like to own.Things,things and more things!I´ve got a feeling the world has gonne crazy!

    Itś like some addiction this shopping craze!

    Diana,Czech republic

  2. I somewhat agree with this article. I enjoy shopping, but I would never say that shopping is my hobby. However, I do say that fashion is my hobby! I love fashion and I have fun not only shopping, but looking at fashion magazines/tv shows, sewing and trying to decide new ways to wear what I already have. I budget for my clothing bills. While I definetly agree with your Saturday conversation reference, I disagree that clothing shopping is a means to an end. Proper fashion means proper fit, which requires time and sometimes the advice of a friend.

  3. First off, I definitely agree with you on the false assumptions – at least the first three. I believe in quality over quantity or newness, and while my site is All About Appearances – I’m not. As far as camaraderie, it’s depends on the friends.

    I admit, shopping is a hobby for me. I enjoy it, and all in all, it’s been a rather constructive hobby for me. Granted, shopping doesn’t necessarily make someone thin, beautiful, or popular, but smart shopping can help. The exercise I get from a day of shopping does help. It’s not like a day at the gym, but it’s better than playing video games. Buying the right clothes can definitely help one look better, but it takes time to find the right items at the right price. And while I don’t know if I’m “popular”, I do enjoy spending time with friends and family shopping. After knowing someone from years, sometimes it helps to have some stimuli for conversation even if it’s just “What do you think of this…?” Another bonus is of course the thrill of the hunt.

    Again, I firmly believe in quality over quantity. I also believe in finding great bargains (which is why I also write for The result is that I shop more, but buy less. Thanks to that, I do consider the cost of my hobby to be reasonable.

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  5. I agree with you, that it is awful when somebody says, “Shopping is my hoby!” But the thing is we live in the society of consumers. We are all used to buy lots of things, and many of us think that the more – the better. Besides, look at our celebrities! They spend thousands of dollars on shopping! And I think, most of Americans want to live like celebrities do. I think, first of all, we should realize that to live in the way celebrities do, doesn’t mean to live in the right way.

  6. Although i can see your point, i slightly disagree with what you’re saying. I am 13 years old, and as you may understand, at a very impressionable age. I often feel insecure about what certain people think of me. I like to know that i can fit in but still have my own individual style. To shop and to find something, anything, that you are satisfied with and feel completely comfortable with is important and makes you feel happy. When you feel happy you smile, don’t you? So it’s not the shopping itself that makes you popular and beautiful, it’s the smile in knowing that you’ve found something you are attracted to and therefore expresses you’re personality. Shopping is the only quality time i get to spend with my mother as she is divorced and works very hard to raise me and my sister, so shopping is something we both enjoy and make special time for without anybody interupting or disturbing, as they would if you told stories to eachother or played kickball with the kids, so that is how is easily described as a hobby. Shopping doesn’t only have to be for yourself, to recognise that somebody has shown an interest in something in your local shopping centre and made them happy, and then you buy it for them as a gift, it shows that you have noticed and that you cared enough to go back and get it for them, knowing that it made them happy, so they smile, right? So again, it is not the shopping that makes you beautiful or popular, it’s the smile on your face knowing that you have made somebody else smile. I agree with you to a certain extent and feel that shopping has become extremely controversial, but there can be meaning behind it. If i didn’t feel strongly about my opinin do you think i would spend my precious time typing it out? And as for shopping making you thin, do you know how many calories you can burn doing laps of the shopping centre? =)

  7. ^^^
    good Point. a smile Shining through is what truly makes you beautiful and therefore popular. and if shopping encourages this then so what? it makes the world a more cheerful place. it’s amazing that someone so young has adapted this positive attitude and recognised two points of views. you’re very commited in what you believe in and you should’nt feel insecure about what people think of you because you seem lovely. well done babe x

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