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Four ways to shop intentionally.

Consider the details.

In today’s fast-paced world, all too often shopping becomes a rushed obligation.  I prefer to think of it like a treasure hunt, especially if a favorite store has been remodeled, or when doing some online shopping. We have so much choice in food and fiber! Like any good adventure, preparation is key, so here are four ways to reimagine – and make the most of – your shopping experience:

1. Grab a cart. If you’re on a treasure hunt in person, prepare for the unexpected.  Don’t limit yourself to what can be carried! Be ready to snag something and roll it to the cashier conveniently.

2. Cruise every aisle, search each department. The best way to see all the options is to review all that is offered. We tend to be creatures of habit, looking for and at the same things. If you allow the time to explore, you may just find a new favorite. I like to go online first, which allows me to take my time, see if it’s available locally, and even what aisle it’s in. Often you can compare and contrast options, read ingredients and fabric composition, and consider so many details without being rushed. A hybrid of online and in person shopping is my favorite because you get convenience, choice, and a chance to see it in person as needed.

3. Read labels and tags. What is it made of? Can you recycle the packaging? How do you store and handle it to be sure it stays a favorite over time? Is a dish or article of clothing hand wash only? Will you honestly hand wash it? What is the story of where it came from, what it’s made of, and how it came to be? Pretty much everything we buy has a story. It’s kind of cool to find out what that story is. Consider how your selections will assimilate into your life and how it aligns with what you value in terms of cost, need/use, and impact.

4. Consider the full meal, snack, outfit, or look. You can’t make a sandwich if you are missing the bread or the fillings. You can’t make an outfit without top and bottom, and accessories personalize your look. Visualize how items will enhance your experience(s). Take a moment to picture how it will be used and enjoyed. Buying something you love is great. It’s even better when it goes with what you already have and/or you snag something else that you need to complete the experience.

Thinking through how you will use what you buy is a great way to help ensure that what you choose will be valued and not wasted. And that, dear friends, can save us money while it also helps to use resources intentionally.

Win. Win.

By Kim Kirchherr

Global food and nutrition professional focused on health from the farm to the store to the table