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By Marilynn Preston

It’s not unusual for people to ask me: What’s the best piece of fitness gear I can buy?

My first answer is easy: buy the one you’ll use. Buy the one that gets your bliss-making chemicals pumping and your heart thumping in a way that sparks joy and builds strength.

My second answer will surely irritate my Thrift Gene, inherited from my late, great, two-for-one bargain-hunting mother: Always buy the best quality you can afford, not necessarily the one that’s the best deal. Cheap, poorly designed fitness gear is no bargain. Your equipment doesn’t have to be new; it just has to feel solid and perform well for years to come.

Every minute of every day, on every device we have, we are prompted to buy, buy, buy, all of us in the grip of a shopping frenzy that we can’t escape – and very often can’t afford.

So what can we do? Wake up! Impulse buying – a category that includes a battery-operated cork-puller in the shape of an elf – can be overcome, or at least tempered.

“Hi, I’m Tara and I’m an impulse buyer!” is the lead to a timely guide to stopping impulse buying by Tara Button, the founder of BuyMeOnce.com. Her website is part of a growing movement in America dedicated to living simply, buying less, recycling more and preferring quality items over cheap junk that won’t last.

Here are some of Tara’s insights, blended with my own lifelong experience with impulse buying (most recently, a pair of red fluffy socks that display the message – when I put my feet up – “Please bring me another glass of wine.” Irresistible, right?)

THE CURIOSITY IMPULSE
This imp is excited by anything new: buy the latest phone, update your purses, add the hot-new-color shoes to your growing collection. It can be a good impulse – curiosity about the new is a plus when it comes to your well-being – but very often, it leads to spending on things you don’t need … a lipstick that glows in the dark?

“First you need to teach the imp to appreciate the items you already own,” writes Tara. After focusing on gratitude for what you have, turn the imp’s attention to what new thing you could learn about or what new place you could visit. Cultivate curiosity for the real world, and your impulse to have the latest and trendiest will subside.

THE INSECURITY IMPULSE
The insecurity imp is constantly trying to persuade you that you’ll feel better, look better or be better if you had this, that or the other.

Sound familiar? Of course it does. It’s the premise of 10,000 ads that invade your consciousness every day. In this category, the numero uno absurd ad comes from Mercedes Benz: “The best, or nothing!” Excuse me? Buy a Benz or walk to work?

“Disarm this imp by avoiding ads as much as possible,” Tara suggests, “and whenever you see one you can’t avoid, tell it ‘Thanks, but I’m fine the way I am.’” (You may need to repeat this 100 times a day, but eventually, the impulse to buy is replaced with a sense of serenity and contentment, as in: “I’m good enough. No material object will make me better.”)

THE GUILT IMPULSE
This impulse goes wild during gift-giving holidays. It tells you you’re a bad friend/spouse/parent unless you are constantly giving material possessions to the people around you. Wait! Breathe in. Breathe out. It’s not true, and you know it.

Tara wants you to stop and remind yourself “the people who truly love and care for you would love you just as much if you lost all your money” and couldn’t buy them the reindeer-theme necktie with Rudolph’s nose in LED lights.

Impulse buying isn’t the end of the world, or even capitalism, but mastering it will contribute to a happier, healthier you. Isn’t that a great way to cruise through life?

Marilynn Preston is the author of “Energy Express,” America’s longest-running healthy lifestyle column. Her new Amazon best-seller “All Is Well: The Art {and Science} of Personal Well-Being” is available now on Amazon and elsewhere. Visit Creators Publishing at creators.com/books/all-is-well to learn more. For more on pe

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