How to Cure Quarantine Boredom Shopping

by Melissa Batai on September 17, 2020 · 0 comments

Cure Quarantine Boredom Shopping

For some people, working from home during quarantine has helped them save money.  After all, they’re no longer paying for parking, gas, lunches out, work clothes, etc.  However, for others, quarantine boredom means that they’re spending a lot of time scrolling the Internet and buying things they need, but just as often, things that they don’t need.  If you fall into the latter group of people (and many Americans do right now), know that there is a cure to quarantine boredom shopping.

How to Cure Quarantine Boredom Shopping

Curing your boredom shopping habit won’t be easy, but with determination and these techniques, it can be done.

Consider Your Why

The most important consideration is what do you want your money to do?  Too often we flit away our money without thinking of what we really want our money to do.

For instance, my husband and I have decided that during quarantine we have two specific jobs for our extra money—create a bigger emergency fund and save for a family vacation.  We only had a one-month emergency fund when the pandemic hit, and we quickly realized that was not enough.  We’re slowly saving for a six-month emergency fund.  Likewise, we know this pandemic won’t go on forever, and when it’s over, we want to go on a family vacation paid for in cash.

What’s your why?  What do you want your money to do for you?  Once you know and set a goal, saying no to boredom shopping is easier.

Give Yourself a 72 Hour Wait Time

Another strategy is to give yourself a 72 hour wait time before you do anything.  I really enjoy this strategy.  I or my husband will put some things in our Amazon cart, but we won’t make the purchase right away.  We always wait a few days or up to a few weeks to actually make the purchase.

How to Cure Quarantine Boredom Shopping

Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

During that wait time, we often decide that we don’t want or need the items in cart and remove them.

If this is hard for you to do, you may want to reward yourself.  If you put a $25 sweater in cart and then decide you really don’t need it, take at least part of the money you saved yourself and use it for your big goal you’re saving for.  One woman has saved over $800 since quarantine just in items she waited to buy and decided she didn’t need.  Her why is a bathroom renovation, and now she has $800 more than she previously did.

Have a No Spend Month to Reset

Sometimes the best thing you can do is just decide that you will have a no spend month for 30 days.  That means beyond the essentials—food, gas, utilities, rent, other bills—you just don’t spend money.  During pre-pandemic days, this could be quite challenging—no entertainment money to spend—but now it’s a bit easier.

Remove all of your favorite shopping apps from your phone, don’t look at the sales online, just shut down the shopping machine.

I’m not going to lie, the 30 days will be intense, and you may even go through withdrawal.  However, half way through the challenge, you’ll likely feel renewed pride in what you’re doing.  Best of all, when the 30 days are up, you’ll likely find you don’t really need or want all of the “stuff” you were buying before.

Find Other Ways to Occupy Your Time

Most of us pre-pandemic were used to jam packed schedules.  We went to work, hit the gym, maybe went to the bar or the movies with friends.  Every day was likely go, go, go. I know mine was.  And then the pandemic hit.  At first it was nice to be home and have a little break from the constant busy, go go go lifestyle.

But now that the pandemic has been going on for six months, you may be feeling a little stir crazy.  I know I do sometimes.  For the most part, we’ve limited our outings to necessities—grocery shopping, dentist, doctor—and the boredom is real.

That’s why many of us turn to online shopping.  But it doesn’t have to be this way.  I try to remind myself that (hopefully) there will never be another global pandemic in my lifetime.  Sure, this time at home has stretched out much longer than I had anticipated, but while I’m home, I’m trying to find time to pursue interests I never would have had time for.

Cure Quarantine Boredom Shopping

Thanks to Rifqi Ali Ridho for sharing their work on Unsplash.

I bought a paint-by-number kit, something I had never done before, and I work on that for an hour or so a day.  I have also had the pleasure to read a book a week.  When life gets back to normal, I’ll likely not have time in my busy day to paint by number or read a book that fast.

Think of this time as a rare gift.  What interests can you pursue that you won’t have time for when life gets back to normal?

Find Other Self-Coping Mechanisms

For some people, online shopping is a coping mechanism to try to keep depression and anxiety at bay.  Now is the time to explore healthier ways to do that.  In the long run, online shopping depletes your wallet and leaves you with a house full of stuff you don’t need, which you’ll just have to declutter later.

Instead, focus on healthier ways to deal with your stress and anxiety.  Contact old friends, find new hobbies, if you don’t already, start exercising.  Psychologists are now conducting appointments on Zoom, so you can seek help from the comfort of your own living room.

Final Thoughts

None of us have gone through a global pandemic before.  Likely most of us have never spent so much time at home before.  These are challenging times.  However, if you find yourself desperate to learn how to cure your quarantine boredom shopping, know that it can be done.  Trying using these techniques to rein in your spending habits and find new, healthier ways to deal with this unprecedented time.

Read More

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