Using Your Senses to Save: A Crisis is a Terrible Thing to Waste (Part III)

We’ve been exploring the centrality of self-kindness to the process of stopping overshopping. It’s the all-important lubricant that keeps the engine of change running smoothly. To say it more directly, it’s the stance that allows you to look clearly and non-judgmentally at your overshopping behavior and then choose healthier and more fulfilling alternatives.

Thus far, we’ve tried to match the underlying needs that drive three imagecategories of shopping addiction—shopping for action, spontaneity, and relaxation—with alternative activities that more healthily fulfill those needs.

Today, we’ll begin a look at the crucial fourth category, sensual joy. Our five senses offer us unlimited opportunities for pleasure. Sensuous self-kindness can soothe or celebrate the body, heart, mind, and soul. Touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing each bring something unique and wonderful to life’s table.

Look through the examples that follow, try them on in the light of your own overshopping behavior, and see if any of these shoes fit. As always, appropriate anything that looks interesting to you, and invent half a dozen other alternatives that light up your senses.

Touch: Do you love silky fabrics? Nubby tweeds? The feel of velvet? The texture of metal or wood? When you’re out shopping, are you reaching for tactile delights? What else could offer you the comfort or joy of touch—and not break the bank?

• Play in the mud or in the garden.

• Take a bath with fragrant oils or get a massage.

• Pet a kitten, hold an infant, or stroke someone’s hair.

• Sew or knit.

• Do some woodworking.

• Throw a pot.

• Bake some bread or make a pie crust.

Taste and Smell: Chocolates? Scented candles? Yellow roses? Perfume? Even if you don’t actually seek out the sensuous pleasures of taste and smell while you’re shopping, fantasies about future mouth and nose pleasure may drive overshopping—for kitchen equipment, backyard barbecues, even clothing to wear at expensive restaurants. What healthier ways can you think of to feed your craving for these experiences?

• Prepare food for yourself, and slow down and taste it.

• Enjoy coffee at home, and grind the beans yourself.

• Smell the roses whenever and wherever you see them.

• Go for a walk in the rain; notice the freshness.

• Inhale the scent of newly cut grass.

• Breathe in the perfume of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.

Next time, we’ll continue our look at self-kind alternatives to shopping, at healthier ways to fulfill the underlying need for sensual joys of sight and hearing.

By Carrie Rattle

Carrie Rattle is a Principal at, a website for women focused on mind and money behaviors. She has worked in the financial services industry for 20+ years and hopes to inspire women to better prepare themselves for financial independence. Read More