When I first got into minimalism, I got rid of a lot of stuff. Then, I used that as a justification to buy new stuff.. Yeah, that’s not smart. I would definitely say that I used to be a bit of a shopping addict.
Minimalism isn’t only about living with less, it’s also about being an informed and conscious consumer, and being intentional with your time and money. But how does one go about doing that?
Do you need it?
This is a pretty straightforward question, but bear with me. I notice that sometimes when I’m out shopping, instead of asking myself do I need it, I start justifying the purchase for myself.
- I deserve to treat myself
- It’s a very cheap item
- It’s on sale
- I’m sad and I want to make myself happy by buying something
- I can always return it
By stripping away all of these justifications and being completely honest with yourself, it becomes much easier to decide if this item you’re about to buy truly has a place in your life.
Reduce your exposure to anything that’s trying to sell you something
Unsubscribe from mailing lists! Seriously, it might take you 10 minutes in total, and it will absolutely change your life for the better. Personally, I also stopped watching haul videos on YouTube. Seeing other people buy a bunch of stuff didn’t help me when I was trying to not spend money.
But you might also be sensitive to people showing off their pretty homes, walk in closets or expensive vacations, it really depends on the person. I didn’t actually unsubscribe from many YouTubers that do hauls or trigger me to buy stuff, I just choose not the click on specific videos in my subscription box.
Waiting to buy an item
This works really well for online shopping but I even do it when I see something at a local store that I like. I will force myself to wait at least 24 hours until I’m allowing myself to buy the item. Usually, if it’s something I don’t need and I just want to buy it because it’s shiny and bright, after a few hours I completely forgot about it and I don’t even want it anymore.
I save a lot of money and clutter this way. This also helps me to realize that things that I truly want and need are always going to be in the store. There’s no need for me to run out and buy something right now, because it will be there tomorrow. It really helped me with that fear of missing out.
Check out the video I made about this subject. If you liked it, please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel!
Remind yourself of the stuff you already have
I keep a note in my phone with a list of the things I own in a specific category. More specifically, I did this with makeup. I wrote down how many individual items I have so every time I’m tempted to buy something, I can pull up this (not so) little list and remind myself of what I already own.
This helps me a lot when I’m actually in a store about to buy something. Do I really need another concealer if I already have two? What about this single eyeshadow, how long will it take me to go through the eyeshadow I already have? Stuff like that helps me to realize how many individual items I actually own and how long it will take me to go through them.
Track your spending
Another technique that has really helped me to stop shopping is to track my spending. Don’t just track groceries and utilities and things that you need to spend money on every month, it’s especially important to track the unplanned spending you do.
The first month I tracked my spending, I realized that I spent $65 on nothing but coffee. That’s a lot of money for me. I didn’t feel like I spend that much money on something small like coffee, but things add up, especially on a monthly or yearly basis.
”The first month I tracked my spending, I realized that I spent $65 on nothing but coffee.”
Start a ”what matters” fund
Ask yourself, what do I really want to do? There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Maybe you want to go to the gym, pay off debt, take dance classes, go volunteer in a different country or go on a road trip. Each month, put some money in that ‘’what matters’’ fund instead of spending it mindlessly on stuff you don’t really need.
Every time you’re about to buy something, ask yourself ‘what would I rather want?’ Your twenty-fifth nude lipstick or a plane ticket to Italy?
Why do you feel the need to shop?
The last technique I use is identifying why I feel the need to shop.
- Do I feel tired or sad?
- Do I need a quick pick-me-up?
- Am I bored?
- Is it a habit?
I think it’s really important to get serious about the ‘’why’’ behind the purchase. Most of the time something that isn’t shopping can help me feel just as good as shopping. Like exercising, or listening to my favorite music or pampering myself with a long hot shower and a face mask. Recognize why you shop and then replace that need with something else.