One incredibly difficult habit to break for some is retail therapy - it certainly was for me. However, when you’re just starting out on the minimalist path, it’s imperative that you focus on breaking free of impulse buying and the temptation to drown your sorrows in shopping. Doing so will be one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself in this lifestyle. You’ll spend less money, waste fewer hours, and save precious space when you’re able to become more intentional about your shopping. While it can be tough, the following tips can help you to stop impulse purchases in their tracks. 

Think of How Much Work an Item Costs
A trick that can cast some perspective on each purchase you make is to tally up how many hours of work are required for you to buy that thing. Your time on the job requires effort and skill. You don’t want to trade that time and work for something of little value in the long run. Instead, consider each potential purchase as time worked. When you realise that trendy dress is worth five hours of your hard work, it may not be worth the investment at all. Consider the joy each item will bring you, how much use you’ll get out of it, and whether you’ll look back fondly on the purchase six months from now. Then proceed. 

Avoid Retail Therapy
Try to resist the temptation to shop as therapy if that’s historically been an issue for you. Consider your feelings before heading out to the stores. If you think a purchase will relieve stress, sadness, anger, or any other emotion, try to postpone a shopping trip. Do something else you enjoy that doesn’t cost money until you’re better able to process your feelings. This goes for online retail sites, too. Walk away from the computer if you need to. 

Keep Your Goals in Mind
Mindless spending and impulse buys can really add up. It’s easy to spend a significant amount of money on things you don’t truly enjoy all that much or ones that get little use in the end. When you feel the urge to buy something impulsively, take a moment to think of your actual spending goals. Are there things you would like to save for, like a holiday or a down payment? Put the money you might have spent frivolously in your wish fund instead. You could always decide to buy the thing at a later date if you decide you really want it. 

Stick to Your List
Make a list when going shopping and stick to it. This will make it more likely you’ll buy only what you intended to get. You’ll be better prepared to avoid impulse buys. If you see an item you’d like to have, make a note in your phone or digital planner to reconsider it at a later date, say two weeks. If the item still seems worthwhile, you can buy it, feeling confident you made the purchase mindfully. 

These are merely a few ways you can stop impulse purchases in their tracks. They key is to find a way to delay the buy until either the urge passes or until you determine the purchase is a worthwhile one. This idea of delaying my buying has really helped me - especially during lockdown. If you try this you’ll be more satisfied in the long run, and you’ll keep your clutter to a minimum. I still shop and love shopping, I just think more before I buy.


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