We’ve all experienced that dopamine rush after a big shopping trip when we finally get to take home those pair of shoes we’ve been eyeing for months. But can we still experience that feeling of satisfaction without having to blow our budgets in retail therapy? Of course! With the right activities, that good feeling will last much longer than a shopping trip, too. This also means you’ll have more room in your budget to spend on experiences, which I don’t need to tell you how transformative and memorable they can be. Here’s a few things that you can do instead of retail therapy.

Try cooking a new recipe. Make that recipe that you’ve pinned on Pinterest! Now this may require shopping to buy the ingredients, but you now have a sense of purpose with an end-goal as you shop. To hold yourself accountable, invite a close friend over to try your new creation! One of my favorite things to do is to periodically spend an evening with someone who specializes in a type of cuisine that I want to learn. Then, I can go home and practice, and hopefully master! 

Go for a brisk walk or bike ride. Even if it’s for a quick 10-15 minutes, some physical activity will get your blood pumping and actually help you recharge mentally so you can tackle and resolve any lingering dilemmas that are stressing you out. I can’t tell you how many times after a quick 10 minute walk (run if you’re ambitious) I went from stressed to being ready to face life’s challenges head-on!

Declutter a room in your home. Now don’t go overboard with this one, as it can make you feel even more stressed. Just pick one area according to the amount of time you have free. If you have a few minutes, try decluttering a drawer, cleaning up your work desk, or clearing out your purse. If you have a little more time, you can try something bigger, like a bathroom or closet. A little cleaning-out will help make your home much more relaxing.

Pamper yourself at home. Paint your nails, light your favorite candle, make your own face mask, and draw a warm bubble bath! This will not only leave you looking refreshed (you already look good), but you’ll feel good too! During this time, try to not check your phone or emails. Instead, listen to a motivating podcast, recharging music, or a movie that will make you laugh. Writing down things that you’re grateful for, or a few reasons why today is a great day will reinforce positive thinking and empower you to achieve what you put your mind to.

Learn a new skill. Learning something new will not only give you a sense of accomplishment, but you’ll gain a new skill that you can be proud of and use! It could be as small as hitting YouTube to learn how to make your favorite cocktails, or as big as learning a new language. The key to this is to not overwhelm yourself, as it will deter you from continuing it in the first place. If you’re tech savvy and want to add something to your resume, learning a little bit of basic coding can be a fun challenge that can expand your career opportunities.

These are five ideas that I personally have found to be great remedies to retail therapy, and have saved me a lot of money and regrets! Pick what brings you joy and excitement!

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