Be remembered for the life you lived, not the things you bought.
It's way easier to buy, than not buy. This is why it was so difficult to change my habit of over-consumption. I used to be a blind consumer, buying anything on a whim and not thinking twice if it was really going to make my life better. But now, I consume with eyes wide open, making intentional decisions that meet my needs. If something isn't going to add value to my life then it's not worth my money and especially not my time.
Over-consumption was an unhealthy habit of mine that was very difficult to change, and it didn't happen over night. It took time for me to see all of the blooming positives in my life once I started buying less. Some of those positives included more money for traveling and experiences (like buying tasty lattes and croissants in coffee shops with friends) and less time spent cleaning and organizing excess stuff in my house. I have listed some Tips to Help Buy Less (see below) that I have learned throughout this habit-changing journey. These simple actions have tremendously helped steer my life towards more health and happiness. I think they are worth sharing, especially if they can help at least one other person too.
TIPS TO HELP BUY LESS
1. Avoid malls, stores + online shops when you're bored.
Try taking a walk outside, visiting a park, or reading a book if you have some spare time on your hands. I admit I had a habit of going to Target when I was bored. I would buy myself a Starbuck's latte once a week and walk around to "window shop." The plan was never to buy anything on these weekly shopping visits, but we all know how that goes. Stores, especially Target, have a great (and very sneaky) way of convincing you that you have to own whatever they're selling right now! Between fashion constantly changing and sale racks screaming "30% off" it's pretty difficult to come out of a store empty handed.
Now, I just avoid stores altogether (not unless I really need something). This new habit has helped me save a ton of money on excess and overpriced coffee drinks and random stuff I thought I needed. Instead of shopping I spend more time in nature, hanging with my family or listening to my favorite podcasts which make me a much happier and healthier person.
2. Find creative ways to use items you already have.
Before purchasing new items I take inventory of what I already own. Do I really need that brand new kitchen tool? First, I think about what I have at home and if it can be used to do that exact same job. For example, I own a knife that can slice and dice lots of different types of foods. I really don't need a fancy mango or avocado cutter because my knife can do both of those jobs and it takes up way less space and stress in my kitchen. The less kitchen tools I own, the easier it is to find that tool when I need it.
Anything I buy will ultimately take up space and time in my life. We often don't think about the time that an item is going to take up in our lives. You don't just buy the fancy bread maker, you take time to make space to store it, to wash it, maintenance it, and even dust it (especially if you don't use it that often). Try to purchase items that can be used for multiple jobs and not just one.
3. Assign a "place" for every item + evaluate what you have in-stock before shopping.
Do you know where every thing is located in your house? It makes life so much easier when things have a designated "place". This is something so simple that we can do with both our items and our food. I was guilty in buying extra stuff, mostly because I was in a hurry and I didn't know the exact "place" for that item to check my inventory.
Do you own more than one of an item that is really unnecessary to have?
I have 7 decks of cards in my house. Why should anyone own that many cards? That's ridiculous.
The less stuff you own the easier it is to assign a proper place for your things. Try it out and see for yourself!
Now, I make the intentional effort to check my "house stock" before shopping. I have made a new habit to check the refrigerator and pantry before I create my grocery list. I don't need 3 bags of shredded cheese and 4 boxes of pasta in my house. This habit has helped me waste less and save money! Get your hands dirty and evaluate your house - are you stocked or not stocked?
4. Unsubscribe from online store emails + recycle paper coupons.
Let's face it, coupons are sent to us on a daily basis in the physical mailbox and in our digital mailboxes. Companies aren't stupid, they are actually pretty brilliant. They know that words such as, "BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE" will trigger our brains to buy, buy, buy (especially when 90% of the time we don't actually need anything).
But why should we continue to let our mail outsmart us?
It's way cheaper to spend nothing than half price!
Once you get in the habit of throwing coupons in the recycling bin and trashing your digital deals- you will have less reasons (and temptation) to go shopping and more reasons to spend time doing something you truly love with the people you love.
5. Before buying something ask yourself these two questions (see below). If the answer is no to any of these questions, then you are a much happier + healthier person without it in your life.
Do you have tips to help you buy purposefully? Please share them below!
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