The act of shopping as a leisure activity and consumerism as a mindset is a nasty habit, one that you don’t realise you have until you actually think about it and try not to buy things. The jam making labels and new jam jars, the pair of trousers that will be perfect when you’ve lost 7lbs and aren’t on a diet but are a super bargain… you get the picture.
An interesting fact finding mission is to put all the receipts for everything you buy into a box and then have a look at a later date. How many non necessary items did you buy and how much did that all add up to. Its incredible how £6 and £8 add up when spent on a regular basis. I bet that if you actually analyised all the items, you’d be horrified and the realisation that you could actually probably have bought that coveted and needed item (in my case a fridge) if you hadn’t let your money literally dissappear into the open mouths of the shops. All that money gone forever in a circle of consumerism that you don’t realise you have.
Focus on the money
Really pay attention to your finances after a couple weeks of implementing the changes below. You will suddenly have more money. Minimalism can cure the pay day-to-pay day lifestyle, help you pay off debt, and once you see these positive results, it’s a snowball effect. It’ll just keep rolling into other areas of your finances. Just for getting rid of the things you didn’t need anyway, and breaking the habit of buying and getting drawn into bargains..
So, what can be do about it? Simple in essence: STOP buying stuff we don’t need and take responsibility for where our hard earned money actually goes. Its all very well saying how much you wanted to go on holiday but never have any money – check out those receipts and you will probably see that you could actually be in your ideal destination. Being more purposeful will bring benefits to everyone, including you.
Its no big secret that marketing experts know how our brains work, they understand phrases, colours, smells and sounds that entice us. Whilst I do not want you all to walk around feeling under sensory attack by the marketeers, it is purposeful to be aware, making a target for the things you need rather than a slow amble around the thousands of do not need items. Deodrant and cleaning products are not in the home section.
When you’ve spent so long de-cluttering your unwanted stuff, do not go and rebuy even more stuff to fill your lovely clean and clear areas. Try and start to only shop right after you’ve had a good clear out.
Speaking of purging, there are a few things you can do during a decluttering session to help yourself break the habit of buying. Take inventory of the stuff in the area you’re decluttering. Separate your things into categories –
Crap – this is totally pointless for your life, and you don’t even have a good reason for purchasing it.
Want – you bought this item because you wanted it, but you don’t need it.
Sometimes need – you only need this item from time to time, but if the time came for it to be used, you would need it and not be able to get by without it.
Need – you need this item and you use it daily or weekly.
Ask yourself the big three questions I always talk about for the items in your “sometimes need” and “want” piles.
- When was the last time I used this item?
- When will I use this again?
- Does this add to my life in a positive way? Does it bring me joy?
If the answer is no or anytime over six months, get rid of it.
Once you have your things sorted into piles and you know what you’re not keeping, get a piece of paper, a pen, and calculate about how much money you probably spent on each item. Add it up. Lesson learned, the painful way.
I want you to write down all the things that make you really happy. What are the big joys in your life? I think it’s a safe bet to say most, if not all of them aren’t things you can buy (except coffee because, I mean come on it’s coffee). Remember this feeling. Keep perspective. Be purposeful.
Ask yourself the following questions when shopping:
Is this a planned purchase?
Would this ever end up in the “crap” pile next time I purge?
Where am I going to put this?
Is there room in my budget for this?
Why do I want/need this item?
Avoid impulsive buying by asking yourself those questions. Impulse buying is how we all get caught. This may seem unnecessary, silly, or a little extreme, but think about it… consuming things has become a habit. A lot of people actually get addicted to purchasing new things, so this is serious. Even the most ‘normal’ of us have to re-train our brains to not consume things we don’t truly need.
After you’ve read this, give it some thought. When you’re ready, go and have a look at the back of the wardrobe or wherever you put your bargain/impulse buying items and check out how much is unused, unwanted, or you don’t even remember buying it.
Part of my work involves helping people overcome addictions, remember we all get caught up in the moment sometimes, but if you do need help, contact me through the contact form on http://www.maholochi.com