Shop Until We Drop

A new poll has found that the average woman spends EIGHT YEARS of her life shopping. I’ll give you a minute to digest that…

Have you recovered yet? This news makes me happier than ever that I found out about The Compact. On my deathbed, I don’t think I’ll wish I had shopped MORE.

Much of the shopping women do is for their family: buying household essentials and keeping them fed and clothed. But the average woman apparently also goes window shopping 51 times a year. Wow. Well, it’s not news to me that I’m not the “average woman.” That’s okay.

The poll found that women make an average of 301 individual shopping trips per year, for a total of 399 hours. In my union, that would be just one hour short of the minimum hours you need to work to keep up your membership.

301 individual shopping trips per year??? There are only 365 days in a year, so people shop almost every day? That’s inconceivable to me, Compact or not. I have never in my life shopped nearly every day.

The average woman also spent 40 hours looking for shoes. An entire workweek!

The only part of this poll that doesn’t depress me is the 31 hours women spend shopping for books.

I do need to shop for food and essentials, I’ll estimate that is easily less than 100 hours per year.

And here’s how I’ll be spending the time I’m NOT shopping, about 300 hours: reading, writing, walking, learning, spending time with my husband and my friends, trying new recipes, traveling, seeing plays, attending concerts, watching movies, listening to music, taking classes, laughing… and the list goes on and on…

Click here to read the entire article.

What do you think? How many years of your life will you spend shopping? What would you rather be doing? Weigh in with your thoughts in the Comments section.


  1. nicole 86 says

    whenever I go to the supermarket I need nearly 3 hours : 1/2 hour driving and about 2 hours shopping. When I was married with children, T used to go once a week.
    Now I am single and I go once a month, each week I go to local shops and I get my veggies from an association which includes a farmer ( just for that I need at least 3/4 hour veg are local and organic).
    I used to love window shopping ( without buying) before my divorce. Now, as I am a bit short I don't.

  2. Betsy Talbot says

    This fits in nicely with our conversation about "slowing time" – if you don't shop, you automatically get an extra 8 years of living! Love that concept.

    I'm amazed at how much we get to do since we started saving for our big trip and cut out television. And how little I want to buy new things now that I don't go window shopping or get catalogs.

    Change is a lot easier when you modify your environment to support new habits. If you don't want to spend so much, don't go shopping! :)

  3. Anonymous says

    Hi, I love your blog by the way.. but the issue of "window" shopping is somewhat bothering me.
    I grew up in Italy and "window" shopping on Saturday or better Sunday (when shops are closed) was part of my childhood. I look back and my widow mother always brought me on a trip on the weekend: on the mountains in nature or in nearby town "window shopping". The shops were closed, we almost never bought anything, except when we needed something, but this also meant going to historic downtowns, looking at Medieval, Renaissance, and later architecture in the city center. Also, it sharpened my taste.
    This is the issue, I believe. I have no problem following the Compact because of my taste. In the US you can find great things in Thrift stores. In Europe… no. Really: not in my town in Italy. So… 8 years spent shopping… maybe no. But window shopping… maybe. Because being on the Compact is not about being frumpy. For me it's about being very very very selective. And without my training as a window shopping-downtown going child I would not be able to be a savvy thrift store shopper. In other terms, I don't trow away the respect I have for good things well made. I just reject cheap consumerist culture. But it's not that any item is consumerist futility. We still need clothes. Between a made in China cheap thing at Goodwill and an Brunello Cucinelli cachemire, I would prefer Brunello. But I don't have the money to get it. Some objects are actually well made in the first world by workers with real wages and they are worth the price. But you have to have a love for quality, design and material to recognize it. I don't know if my point makes sense to you, but i still love your blog!

  4. Simple in France says

    I spend a lot of my shopping time on food–which is unavoidable. However, when I did my year of not buying new, I did noticed that I suddenly had more time on my hands.

    I don't particularly enjoy shopping, so that's ok with me!

  5. Bellen says

    I shop when I need something – usually once every 10-12 days and then it's fresh produce.

    I hate to shop, hate to spend money on poorly made items so when I stop at my favorite thrift shop I'll buy if it fits my criteria. Last week I scored with a London Fog washable suede jacket, Alfred Dunner slacks, 6 tops all name brand for a grand total of $5 and 30 minutes. That will be my clothes shopping for the next 6 months at least.

    Now I would like to see a study done of men's shopping habits. My husband can spend hours, literally, window shopping in any hardware, garden center, buildng supply store. He has also discovered the 'joys' of grocery shopping without me – just yesterday he came home with the required bananas and portabella mushrooms plus a jar of peeled garlic cloves!! He thought they were much better than the two heads of fresh garlic we already had. I'm guessing he adds about $10 per month to our food budget with his wonderful finds.

  6. Jen H. says

    Wow. That's crazy, and another reminder why I'm okay with how little I shop (except for groceries). Out of curiosity, did this study say anything about online shopping and the amount of time spent? I would wonder how much that would increase the average time. I shop online as much as possible to save time spent on driving, parking, and navigating crowds (especially around the holidays).

  7. Angela says

    I wish I had time to respond to your comments individually, but I'm headed out. Thanks for commenting, and keep the conversation going!

  8. Kate says

    8 years! Crazy. I'm happy to be below average in the shopping department.

    I love not shopping – one of the many reasons I like my CSA is that they deliver amazing organic produce to my doorstep.

  9. Marie-Josée says

    I hate to shop, so it's not entertainment for me. I spend about two hours a week shopping for food and I head out three times per year on a clothing shopping spree (spring, fall and just before my vacations) and that's about it. I resent having to run errands at the hardware store etc. for specialized items. I do accompany my college attending daughter on occasion because I still buy some of her cloths. As a couple and as a familu, we spend a lot of time talking, relaxing and enjoying good meals. My son recently commented on the fact that we do that a lot more than other families he knows, and now I know where some of that time is coming! Thanks for sharing that interesting statistic.

  10. Those Tricks says

    Hmmmm ladies, I'm sensing a bit of pulpit judging here.

    One woman's books is another woman's cooking is another woman's bird watching is another woman's…shopping.

    I've always loathed shopping until my recent thrifting addiction. Something that has made me much more interested in shopping is paying attention to art, in general.

    Though some women shop strictly to acquire things, I believe many like to browse wares to observe their creation and design details.

    We know that women are the more visual sex who respond emotionally to texture, color, pattern and style.
    In a world full of millions of beautiful things people have made (yes, to sell), why is it a negative thing to want to look at lot of them?


  11. Non Consumer Girl says

    Your post made me remember how I used to be before I decided to join the Compact.

    Working in the city, and in the corporate world at the time, I used to spend every lunch hour shopping.

    Every day.

    And then I would go for longer shops on the weekend….

    I am so glad that I woke up to myself, and joined the Compact.

    Life is so much better now that I have stepped off the Consumer treadmill of Work Spend Work Spend.

    I am using my time for living now.

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