Shopping Struggles and What I Learned From It: A Life Lesson

Rows and rows of aisles greeted the shoppers at the store’s entrance. Wide eyes thinking of the new items to be had, I restrained my bouncy excitement. I’m here doing grocery shopping with my toddler. I mustn’t allow my mind to wander. I pulled an empty cart, hoisted the little boy on the child seat, and swerved with the shopping list on hand.

Silly as it may, Walmart has become my happy place since the pandemic. With all non-essential shops closed during the lockdowns, I’m grateful we still had this place to go to break the humdrum of boredom. 

“Now that we’re done, will you accompany mommy on the other side? I have stuff to check.”

“Okay.” Is the little boy’s auto-response. 

Delighted, I kissed his cheek and said, “Let’s go.” I rolled faster. We headed to the Home Section, to the seasonal decors, the beauty section, clothing, accessories.

My brain emitted surges of dopamine as I added new items to the cart. Small trinkets that tickle my capricious feelings. But I would never buy an item beyond a certain amount without consulting my husband first.

Shopping Struggles and What I Learned From It: A Life Lesson

After dawdling from section to section, we headed to the toy area. 

“Is there something you like?” I ask my son.

“That one.” He pointed at an orange stuffed animal displayed in a box.

“How about this yellow cat? Or this panda?.”

“I like the owange one.” The little boy insisted.

“But what kind of critter is that? Is it a squirrel, a hamster, a chipmunk? Never mind so long as you’re happy with it, then we’ll buy it.”

While waiting at the counter, I noticed small dirt on the stuffed toy’s butt. Though I’m the next one to pay, I pulled out.

My purchase must be worth every dollar I pay. That’s a wise thought, but I ignored this essential question: In exchange for my hard-earned cash, what does this purchase add to my life?

The husband shifted his attention from his phone to me as I secured myself to the seatbelt, “What took you so long?”

“Did you buy food?” I answered.

“Let’s hurry home, otherwise it’ll get cold.” He remarked while backing the car out of the parking lot.

On our way back, I explained the things that transpired in the store. He only asked what I bought but never bothered to check the receipt.

Everything went as normal. I was happy with my purchase until... the feeling wore off. At the kitchen counter, while unloading the groceries, regret and guilt erupted.

Here I go again. Buying unnecessary things at precarious times. Just like any wise person, I wanted to be careful with every dollar earned. Sadly, my insatiable wants trump practical wisdom every time.

One may say, “Avoid putting yourself in temptation.” Well, that might work on the first few days but you’ll find me repeating what I shouldn’t again.

Hearing faint sobs in the bedroom, the husband came in to ask what’s the matter so I told him how I felt. He encouraged me with these words,

“Don’t be too hard on yourself. How about spending money on things that make you a better person, on how you could be more effective in what you do or want to accomplish?

It’s okay to let loose from time to time. I understand and accept you for who you are. I’m not mad at your little shopping trips. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are with Christ Jesus. Since God has already forgiven you. Forgive yourself too.

Your eyes twinkle every time you find things that spark joy. I’m happy when you are. And I’m willing to spend on things that make you happy.”


Some things -- though non-essential -- do add to our lives. Others are just extra.

Yes, I have shopping struggles but I learned from it. Since then, I’ve embraced that part of me. At the same time, I also seasoned my shopping excursions with a dash restraint.


By asking a simple question, "In exchange for my hard-earned cash, what does this purchase add to my life?"

Shopping Struggles and What I Learned From It: A Life Lesson