First, why do we tend to buy stuff we don’t need in the first place?
As humans, we expose ourselves to an enormous flood of stimuli every day. Advertising on every corner explaining what we should or want to have. That’s one reason why we consume and buy more for the sake of buying. It is okay to appeal to your needs from time to time, but you must be able to control your spending every time you go to the stores.
James Clear wrote about the Diderot effect here, where he said: “The Diderot Effect states that obtaining a new possession often creates a spiral of consumption which leads you to acquire more new things.” So basically, once you buy one thing, you tend to continue to make other unnecessary purchases such as buying a new article of clothing, then buying a matching accessory.
Why you may want to stop buying stuff you don’t need
This tendency to pay more attention to your buying habits and stop buying things you don’t need can be related to the adoption of minimalism as a lifestyle. Or, your motivation to stop buying stuff you don’t need may be simple to save money.
One of the biggest challenges many people face in maintaining their home is getting rid of clutter. The first step to getting rid of clutter is to stop adding to it. You have to be willing to stop purchasing new items that you do not need to tackle your clutter. Otherwise, it is a never ending cycle where you may get rid of some old clutter in your home only to replace it with new clutter. If you are feeling motivated to start decluttering, you can start with this list of things to get rid of.
Regardless of your motivation, the idea is to stop accumulating, live with the essentials, avoid unnecessary expenses, and reuse what you have as much as possible.
Suggestions for how to stop buying stuff you don’t need
But like all life’s changes, getting started can be the most challenging step. But once you take it, you will never look back. You don’t necessarily have to become a minimalist or the most ordered person in the world. Trying a no shopping challenge or minimizing your shopping helps you save and reflect on what you need to have, beyond excessive consumerism. This post will give you suggestions on how you can stop buying stuff that you don’t need.
- Change your perspective on spending money
Changing the way you think about money can pull you out of mindless shopping for things you don’t really need. So stop for a moment and think about precisely what you are spending money on and why.
Many people use shopping as a means of entertainment or a way to shorten a dull moment. Others see it as a cure for a bad mood. But if you shop to make yourself happy, you are more prone to impulsive shopping.
Instead of spending your time browsing the shops, try to find an activity that will fulfill you. You can take a walk in the park, walk the dog, call a friend, go practice or meditate. You don’t need to spend money to feel good.
- Only go shopping when you need something.
Limiting your shopping trips will help guard you against aimless buying. You only go shopping when you need something. It sounds pretty straightforward, but it is often challenging to implement.
So, write a list of the things you need the next time you go shopping. Try to be careful not to deviate from your list when shopping. If you do see something that you want or could need, add it to your wish list. This way, you avoid impulse buying and bad purchases and save a lot of money.
- Pay with cash
Paying with a bank card seems less real to us because we don’t see how our money changes hands. Therefore, we are willing to spend more money when paying by card than when we pay in cash. A simple trick to consume less is: Always pay with cash when shopping. So you not only keep an overview of your expenses but also instead leave a product in the shop that you don’t actually need.
- Avoid stores and shopping malls
Your favorite stores have entire teams focused on getting you to buy new goods. If you want to avoid temptation and save your money, you better stay away from stores and their advertising campaigns and trailers.
Try to go to other places where shopping is not the main activity. You can spend time outdoors or enjoy the company of the people you love. After a time of cultivating this habit, you will see that you can stop by your favorite store and become immune to impulsive purchases.
- Create a wish list and practice the 30-day rule
We all know the feeling that we must have something, and we must have it now. Therefore, the best thing to do is to stop and postpone your purchase. Instead, create a wish list on which you write down everything that you find interesting.
You can practice the 30-day rule. You delay the purchase for a month. Any more prolonged period of time will help you rethink carefully whether you really need the thing or it’s just an illusion. You will see that there are often things that you remove from the list after a few days.
- Ignore online purchases and promotions
Stop receiving emails with flyers notifying you of various discounts and promotions in stores. Instead of browsing e-commerce stores, pull out a book, or watch a movie. Delete all emails about new offers from your inbox without reading them.
Online shopping is dangerously seductive due to the easy availability of many products, which entices to buy a large number of things. The easiest way to avoid excessive spending is to stay as far away from e-shops as possible.
Just like in-person shopping, when you receive promotional emails or are browsing online stores, consider whether you really need the product. Do you feel compelled to buy it, and what would happen if the product no longer existed? Probably nothing.
- Carry only a limited amount of money
Do you tend to carry a lot of money with you? Then quite possibly, you will more easily succumb to the impulse to buy anything that attracts you. So if you know that you only pay in cash at stores, plan your purchases in advance. Make a shopping list and put only the amount of money you need for the purchase in your wallet.
- Don’t shop alone
To help you avoid buying stuff that you don’t need, you can find someone to help you control yourself better. It can be your friend, a family member, or your partner. All you have to do is go shopping with him or her. Having another person with you who stops you when you are about to spend on unnecessary things will save you a lot.
Before you reach for your wallet or add items to your cart, ask yourself these two questions: Do I really need it? If the answer to this question is yes, buy it. If the answer is no, go to the next question: does it make me happy (also in the long term)? The point here is to buy what you enjoy in the long run.
However, as you start minimizing your spending, don’t limit yourself 100%. You can afford to make a random purchase once in a while without having to feel guilty.