Saving money and getting good deals is like my gateway drug. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve bought something solely because “It’s so cheap!” or “This is such a good deal!” I have a problem. Like, a lowkey hoarding problem. I’m not someone who spends a ton of money, so those guides on money-saving shopping tips are good and well, but they just haven’t been working for me lately. I have been doing some serious reflecting on how to buy less.
Buying a lot of stuff is the real problem and I think I can fix it.
1. Swap Out Activities
Shopping and going to the mall or the go-to activities for my friends and me. We almost always do this when none of us actually need anything, and I almost always end up buying something. But lately, my friends and I have opted to hang out at each other’s houses instead of hitting up the mall, and it’s certainly been a lot cheaper. It’s also a lot easier to make conversation without the overwhelming sounds of kids screaming and people shopping.
If you’re stumped for alternatives to shopping, check out my best friend date ideas. There are a lot of things to do that don’t involve shopping or spending a ton of cash.
2. Make a “Stop Buying List”
Figure out what you have a lot of or what your shopping weaknesses are. If you need help, ask your mom and your friends, as they would probably love to offer insights into what you need to stop buying. My list is pretty hefty:
- Bath & Body Works body washes: I have one body and I have about seven of these hoarded in my closet. I’m going to use them all before I buy them again. I won’t need body wash until at least 2025.
- Neutral eyeshadow palettes: This started as a small collection but my vanity is now way too cluttered with palettes. I have a few that I love and always reach for. I don’t need more!
- Fun Socks: I have an entire extra large dresser drawer devoted to socks. That screams excessive and is a huge red flag.
- Craft Supplies: I don’t do crafts often enough to warrant the hoard of supplies in my closet!
- Heart-shaped sunglasses: I collect these and I’m obsessed with them, but I really don’t need to keep buying them. It’s so hard to pass them up, especially when they’re cheap.
3. Tell Your Friends
Accountability is always helpful. My friends who know about my desire to buy less are very good at pulling me away from particular racks and shelves that are dangerous. My best friend talked me out of buying another pair of heart-shaped sunglasses that were only $5. It was not an easy task for her, but she was relentless, and I did not buy them. (They were super cute, though.) Enlist friends who are very convincing and stubborn. They’ll definitely have your back.
4. Spend Money Elsewhere
If you’ve got some cash burning a hole in your pocket but don’t need to accumulate more stuff, spend money on experiences. Or food. You can feed the spending bug without adding more stuff to your cluttered life. In fact, I have 50 experiences to spend money on if you need some inspiration.
5. Create a List of Items to Hunt for
There’s nothing quite like that feeling of finding the exact dream item you were envisioning in your mind. This will make shopping fun and allow you to cut back on buying. This small list should be filled with the only things you will allow yourself to buy. It doesn’t matter how cheap it is, how good of a deal it is, or how much you insist you need it, if the item isn’t on this handy list, you’re passing on it.
Having gone from an excessive 140 nail polishes to an…excessive…60, I have finally begun to sort of control my nail polish buying problem. I now use Pinterest to dictate which nail polishes I’m allowed to buy. When I’m in the store, I check my board for certain nail polish shades I’ve pinned in the past because I love them and don’t own something exactly like them. This isn’t foolproof, but it does make me feel better about my buying decisions. I’m also a lot more critical before I buy things.
6. Do a Haul of Your Stuff
You know when you clean your room and get sucked into an old diary or a box of jewelry from middle school and then forget you were cleaning? It’s the most fun. Plus, it can help you realize all of the things you have. You’ll get the excitement of finding new stuff without accumulating more stuff and buying more things.
7. The Next Step
The self-improving, (sort of) minimalizing fun won’t end here! Mosey on over to the Hoarder’s Guide to Getting Rid of Junk and The Ultimate Guide to Decluttering Your Wardrobe. I’ll probably swing by and take my own advice, too.
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