20 Life Lessons Learned from Shopping

02/03/2011 07:34 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

1) Just because it's on sale doesn't mean it's a bargain. Think about what things are really worth. In your life decisions, are you choosing well or searching for quick bargains?

2) Save up for what you really want. Often we spend money on three cheap items we sort of like, when we could have had the one thing we would adore. What is your heart's desire?

3) Comparison shop. Hold different aspects of your life up against one another and see what has the most value to you.

4) Sometimes we shop for no good reason. What am I doing here? What is my purpose? Say no to materialism and ask yourself what you really need.

5) Window-shopping rocks. By looking and not buying, we get to stretch our imaginations. Exercise your eye muscles, appreciate the artistry, and look but don't touch.

6) Shop with a friend. You don't always know what's best for yourself.

7) Analyze the shops you want to walk into. Then look at the entrance to your faith community, your school or an organization you care about. Would you want to walk in there? What could you do to draw people in?

8) Sometimes you have to stand in a long, slow line. Could you use that time to practice patience? To say a prayer?

9) Try it on. The same outfit doesn't look good on everyone. We're all unique.

10) Who cares if they're on sale? Those boots are still going to be the wrong size and your feet probably aren't growing.

11) Put it on hold. Take 24 hours to decide. You may feel differently the next day. In life, you have more control over the timing of big decisions than you think.

12) Styles change. Spend wisely on the classics, and pick up the trends on the cheap. Ask yourself what you will love a year from now. Ask yourself who you will love a year from now. Who in your life is a classic and who is a passing fad?

13) Buy things for other people. It is wonderful to hear someone say, "I saw this and I thought of you." When is the last time you got a present when it wasn't your birthday or Christmas? Surprise someone else.

14) But get them what they want, not things you want them to want. Don't give a pink sweater to your teenager who wears only black. Don't get your husband a dog training video. Let your gifts be truly generous and not hints at how to behave better.

15) Sometimes labels are misleading. Don't be too impressed with a fancy label. Allow yourself to be surprised by something you never thought you would like. Let yourself be surprised by people in the same way. Ignore their labels. Try them on.

16) Sometimes labels mean something good and consistent over time. You can return to a good brand over and over again and know it works for you. A good reputation is a treasure. What shape is yours in?

17) Save your receipts. Remember that in life, nothing has to be final. You get to change your mind.

18) Pass it on. Even when the price tag says final sale, you don't have to keep things you don't want or need in your life. Clean out the closets of your life. Donate what you are tired of. It may be someone else's heart's desire.

19) Ask where it came from. Don't just think about size and color. Consider justice, boycotts, working conditions, picket lines and ethics. Reward good behavior. You can make a difference.

20) Be grateful for what you have. Sometimes we search for the treasure out there when it is already waiting for us back at home. Stop shopping and thank God.