The holidays are a time for gathering with friends and family. You enjoy laughs, good food, and the
occasional political debate. But holiday shopping is one of the most stressful times of the year. More so this year given the limited stock and shipping delays. It’s also the time of year when people spend more than they want to. And the culprit behind that is often impulse shopping.
Impulse shopping has always been an issue for people. It’s far too easy to shop nowadays as all we need to do is add things to our carts and hit “Pay.” But people still impulse shop in physical stores. Those products lined up by the cash registers are there for a reason.
Because of that, we thought it prudent to share some tips that will help you curb your spending. These tips can be applied to both online and in-person shopping and will teach you to control your impulse spending for good.
#1 — Make a list
Have you ever gone to the grocery store without a list? Do you swear you know what you have to buy? Then you return home and realize you forgot the most important items? It happens all the time and not just in the grocery store.
Making a list when you go shopping is one of the best ways you can learn to curb your spending. Everything you need to get is right there in your hands — either on a piece of paper or on your phone. Your mission is to buy only what’s on that list. Nothing else. It might seem silly to use a list at certain shops but believe us when we say a list helps you save money.
This can be tough to follow when you see something that really makes you excited. It could be a shirt, a decorative pillow, a piece of furniture, or even a certain candle scent. Whatever it is, if it’s not on your list, you must leave it be. And if you’re finding that too hard to do, it’s time to try the next tip on our list.
#2 — Visualize the item
Look at the item you’re considering. Picture it somewhere in your home. If you can’t visually place it then it has no purpose being there. Too often people buy something because it’s cute and they think, “I’ll find a place for this somewhere.” Nine times out of ten they don’t find a place and it gets shoved somewhere else.
Next thing you know it’s been a year and you find the item buried in a closet. You vow to find a space for it but it requires moving a bunch of other stuff to accommodate it. You don’t like how it looks but you keep it that way regardless because of buyer’s remorse.
Visualization can make or break a purchase. If you visualize the item replacing something that's broken, by all means, buy it. But if it's going to take up valuable space with no real need then it has no purpose being in your home.
#3 — Wait before buying
These next two tips are big in the minimalist lifestyle. In fact, the tip of waiting before buying comes directly from The Minimalists themselves. If you see something — online or in the physical store — that you’re interested in, don't buy it. Wait. A common timeframe is 24-48 hours, though The Minimalists suggest you wait at least 30 days.
What does a waiting period do? It gives you the opportunity to visualize the item in your home. You can also do a quick inventory and check to make sure you don’t already have something like it. Often when we see something we like we tend to forget what we have at home. We’re too distracted by the shiny new object.
By waiting to buy the item in question, you’re giving yourself the chance to make a logical decision rather than an impulsive one. If after a day or two you don’t see a need for the item you can let it go. If you realize that it will serve a greater purpose than just need, go back and buy it.
For most in-store items, you can ask the staff to place the item on hold. Most hold periods are 2-3 days, giving you plenty of time to decide. For online items, you can leave the item in your cart and decide later. You’ll no doubt receive emails from the company reminding you of the unpurchased item. If you can push yourself to the 30-day limit you might forget about the item completely. That means it definitely wouldn’t serve a purpose and you are better off without it.
#4 — Know your intentions
Another tip from the minimalist lifestyle is about intentionality. Minimalism is about intentionality. They buy only what they need and will use. They’re able to resist the clearance bins and Black Friday deals. Mostly. No one’s infallible.
How can you apply intentionality to your future purchases? Simple. Before bringing an item to the cash register, ask yourself:
Why am I interested in this?
Do I already have something like it?
Is this going to replace something I already own?
Will this bring value to my life?
When you shop, it’s imperative to take it slow. By taking the time to ask yourself those questions, you’re allowing your brain the chance to catch up. We mentioned before that impulse buying relies on us being impulsive. Retailers don’t want us to stop and think about why we’re making a purchase; they just want us to buy their product.
That’s why so many commercials and advertisements run off of urgency. You need this item now. You can’t miss this amazing deal. Without this item, you’re nothing. It doesn’t bode well for your self-esteem.
So taking 30 extra seconds to ask yourself, “Why do I want to buy this?” will help you save money. It'll lure you away from those ads that shove new items down your throat every other minute.
#5 — One-in, one-out rule
You know this rule. We talk about it a lot. The one-in, one-out rule means that for every new item you bring into your home, you must declutter an item you own. If you bring in two new items, you declutter two. See the pattern? This rule’s primary focus is to keep the same number of items in your home. If you don’t declutter, you’re adding to your possessions. Before you know it your home is overrun and you're overwhelmed.
Those that follow the one-in, out-out rule are naturals at saying no to impulse buys. Why? Because they don’t want to declutter their things for something new. Of course there are exceptions like if they're replacing something that's broken. But other than that, they're able to say no.
If you make it a habit to stick to this rule every time you buy something, you’re going to find it easier to control your spending. Because for every little knick-knack or clearance item that you bring home, you must part with something else that you love and use.
If you’re interested in learning more about curbing your spending habits be sure to check out our other blogs posts:
Then if you’re in need of some additional help, contact us today. We’d love to help you organize and declutter your home so you can create a space that is functional and peaceful.