Today, I will be giving some tips on how to keep your wallet closed when you want it to be closed. I am making the shift towards more intentionality when purchasing new things, so you don’t end up buying things you don’t need. I’m going to teach you how to do that in this article.
Minimalists buy new things occasionally; I buy things sometimes, there is nothing wrong with that. But when people find themselves spending money on things, they don’t need, thinking that getting those new clothes or a fancy phone or elegant car even, is going to help them feel better about themselves or change other peoples opinion of them, they might be attaching their happiness, self-worth, and feeling of success on the material things they own.
When, in fact, you probably have everything you need to be happy and confident. So here come eight tips that I have put together to help you avoid buying things you don’t need.
Understand the Cognitive Processes
Okay, let’s get a little sciency. As it turns out, the decision about buying something or not triggers all kinds of different regions in our brain. They have a small battle, and ultimately the winner decides if we buy something or not. It’s a balance between the expected reward of the item, the pain of paying money for it, and the pleasure of getting a good deal. What happens when we do decide to buy something? Well, we experience short term happiness, but this feeling of happiness is limited. We don’t feel more satisfied after purchasing a 500 dollar hoodie than after buying a 100 dollar hoodie. If this was the case, then money could buy happiness, which we know can’t. And, this happiness is not only limited in size, but also in time.
That great feeling of wearing our new hoodie for the first time, will not last, and after about five uses, we get used to it. If our brains didn’t adjust like this, we would get super excited all the time about all our items, and it would be exhausting. So when this feeling declines, our brain releases dopamine every time we think about perhaps buying something else.
Now all this information is nice, but it can also help us because understanding these processes can help you to realize that you don’t need to buy something new every time because you know it’s only going to last a short while.
And you don’t need to buy a 100 dollar item, because getting a 50 dollar item will make you feel the same. So you can focus on getting the best price/quality ratio.
Whenever you find yourself looking at an item in a store, or someone else’s clothes, or phone, or big house even and you find yourself wishing you had that, try to take 5 seconds. After this short time to come back to reality, either don’t buy it if it’s something you see in a store, or if it’s something you see someone else getting. Just realize
you don’t need that too. Show yourself some compassion for not having something like that, understanding it’s not very important, and be grateful for where you’re at in your life.
Let your home tell you what to buy.
Instead of getting tempted by things you see in commercials, or on Instagram, or by the latest trends, only listen to what your home tells you. If you don’t really have good socks anymore, get new socks. And when you’re going out to buy them, only buy socks. This may sound easy, but it can be tricky in the beginning because we see so many things, we can buy all the time. Make it easier for yourself to resist temptations. Unsubscribe from newsletters and catalogs, don’t go into sales, disable one-click ordering, or even taking only a certain amount of cash with you when you go shopping and leaving your cards at home. When you want to buy something new, take a short second to take a look into what you already own. Is there something kind of like that, that you can use? Or, if the new item is something you’re only going to use one time, is there a way that you can rent or borrow the item?
Keep A Wishlist
This may sound counterintuitive, but it really works. Have wishlists for everything, from your wardrobe to your home, etc. I’ll explain why this is so effective. When you write things down, you immediately stop buying things on impulse, which will make the most significant difference. It also really forces you to take some time and think about it. Do I really want or need this? Or is there some other way that I can go about this. Finally, it helps you not to feel bad or guilty when you do buy it because you’ve thought about it and it’s okay. It’s the best way I feel about being intentional with your shopping. I also use this wishlist when people ask me what I want for my birthday or the holidays, or for waiting with an item until I can find it on sale somewhere.
Owning less will make you want to buy less, which sounds weird but it’s true because when you own lots of stuff, you can’t see everything you own. You tend to feel like you don’t have anything to wear when your closet is chock full of stuff. You might even buy things new, that you already have hanging around somewhere, you just didn’t know you had it.
Tracking your spending
This one’s not for the faint of heart. Tracking your spending can be such an eyeopener. I do this for a month every once in a while. I track everything I spend, and I take a look at it. I always find some things that really surprise me. And it helps me reign in my spending by understanding where my money goes. I’m curious, have you ever tried this? Let me know in the comments.
Shop when you are feeling good
Lastly, only shop when you are feeling good. I can’t even remember all the times I bought something just because I was feeling tired, or blue, or hungry, or insecure. Buying something new will not be the answer. Now I find relief in other things that actually contribute to my happiness, like taking some time for myself, cooking a healthy delicious meal, meditating or even just lying on the couch with a feel-good movie.
As always, thank you for reading today’s article. You can share your favorite tip for me and the others in the comments down below.
See you soon!