Have you ever found yourself overspending whilst shopping? It’s pretty easy to do. Impulse buying is a big problem for many of us. It may make us feel good at the time but it can have a real impact on us later on. On our emotions, our homes and our bank balance.
When I was in my 20’s I would chew through my pay check within days. I would buy all this stuff that I thought I needed. I desperately wanted this stuff and I had to have it. It would make me feel good at the time but it would just sit there collecting dust, taking up space and ultimately just being wasted. I would then be left feeling worse, my apartment would be even more cluttered and my bank account would be in the red.
I have changed a lot since then. I still like pretty things but I don’t have to own them to appreciate them. The biggest change came about when I started PAUSING before I bought anything new. I would pause and ask myself the following question:
Do I really need it?
This can be a tough question sometimes. We are constantly bombarded with the latest and greatest must-have products. We see ‘sale’ and ‘limited time only’ and the fear of missing out is pretty strong. It’s at these times that it is good to step back and really think: ‘Do I need this or is it just a WANT?’ One of the best things you can do is create a 30-day list. Write the item down, if you still want it in 30 days then by all means go buy it. But if the lustre has worn off after the 30 days then maybe you don’t really NEED it after all.
How hard will I have to work to own it?
Most people work hard for their money but it is easy to forget this when shopping. A great question to help curb unnecessary purchases is to break down the purchase into hours worked. For example, if the item costs $200 and you earn $25 per hour (I like round figures) you will need to work 8 hours to be able to afford it. This will really make you take a hard look at what you are buying and if it’s really worth THAT MUCH of your time.
What will it take from me?
Everything we own takes something from us. This happens in a number of ways; our money, time, energy and space.
Most items need to be looked after in some way; cleaned, washed, dusted, charged, sorted or put away. All of which takes our time.
Possessions will likely take up space in the physical sense, like a book on a shelf. They can also take up our mental space as well. For example, if you have hundreds of books, with nowhere to store them, and you keep buying new ones, this will weigh on your mind. Clutter can have a big impact on our homes and can also take away precious mental space and drain our energy.
The last thing to consider is that a lot of the things we buy will continue to cost us money. Take any electronic device. Even after you purchase it, it will need electricity to recharge or run, it may need to be insured, will probably need to be updated and will eventually need to be repaired or
replaced. This all costs money.
Things can add value to our lives if we purchase them for the right reasons. Impulse buying is the opposite of this and can really have a detrimental effect. Breaking the impulse shopping habit can be hard. But if you just pause before you purchase and ask yourself these questions you can help yourself curb the spending and reduce the clutter.