Wouldn’t it be great if you didn’t buy shit you don’t need? We’re all guilty of it to some varying degree.

We lose money, space, and a bit of our sanity when our lives are filled up with items that sit idle and no longer bring us pleasure. Below are 10 tips on how to stop buying things you don’t need.

  1. Determine What Shit Is Important – It’s okay to buy some things that you don’t need. It really is. However, you need to determine ahead of time what hobbies, collectibles, or general “shit” is important to you. Build a framework for the unnecessary items in your life, so that purchases are within reason.
  2. Remember That Stuff Doesn’t Make You Happier – You probably are already aware that most items that you purchase only provide you with temporary joy. You just need to remember it next time you are about to purchase some shit you don’t need. An easy way to remind yourself is to think about the last few items you bought, that you “needed”, only to let sit idle around the house.
  3. Money Give You Options, Extra Stuff Limits You – Your mindset regarding unnecessary shit should be one of “it limits me.” The extra stuff in your life is requiring space, creating clutter, and will need to be dealt with in the future. On the flip side, if you save/invest the money you would have spent on shit you don’t need, you can use that money for financial security and other opportunities in life.
  4. Cash Only – A whole lot the people buy the bulk of the shit they don’t need on credit cards or using financing. Using debt is a psychological trick that makes us spend more than we would if using cash. Make a commitment to a debt free life, and it will naturally force you to buy less shit.
  5. Stop Caring What Other People Think – The people around you care less about your life than you would imagine. So next time you are buying something just because of a concern about the way other perceive you, stop and reconsider.
  6. Embrace Minimalism – A minimalist approach to your life can save you thousands of dollars a year, and drastically reduce the amount of extra shit in your life. Even embracing a slightly more minimalist approach than your current situation, you can stop the urge to buy new stuff.
  7. Wait – Taking time to think over a purchase can help remove the initial emotional reasons you want to purchase. For large items, give yourself a month to see if the purchase is still important to you.
  8. Budget – For those of us that follow a budget, it can be a great way to deter you from buying shit you don’t need. It’s simple – you just budget for the stuff you do need. If it’s not in your budget, you don’t buy it.
  9. Clean/Remove Old Shit – Nothing helps put your wasteful purchases into perspective like cleaning and organizing your old stuff. After I go through my closets, drawers, bins to “purge” unused items, the resulting trash bags of items to donate reminds me that I don’t need many of the things I purchase.
  10. Be Grateful – Appreciating what you already have is an important life skill to learn. Being grateful allows you to reduce your desire for more, and be happier with your existing situation. Buying shit we don’t need often comes from a dark place in our emotions, known as discontentment.

9 Comments

  1. Secret Agent Woman
    February 24, 2018

    Here’s how I’m not buying shit I don’t need: I’ve committed to buying nothing discretionary for all of 2018. No clothes, no kitchen gadgets, no cosmetics, no household items. Just food and actual necessities. I figure by the end of the year, I will have a much better grasp on what constitutes a need and what is just a want. And a much reduce list of wants, for that matter. Almost two months in and I haven’t slipped once! As a side bonus, we’re throwing even more money at our mortgage so that in a couple of years, we’ll be 100% debt-free.

    Reply
    • laura ann
      February 24, 2018

      Agree, I have been doing same thing since Nov. last year. Trying to downsize to move in smaller place soon, had too many duplicates in kitchen, gave most to several group homes. Buying only necessities.

      Reply
    • James
      February 26, 2018

      That’s an awesome goal! The old stoic philosopher Seneca writes about “pretending” to live in poverty. It’s a powerful way to make you realize what you actually need in life.

      Reply
    • Eve
      March 1, 2018

      That is fantastic. I am going to stop buying anything that can do without because I really do not need much to live a simple life. I am so fed up with stuff just for the sake of it. I am just loving finding different things that I can eliminate from my life and it is so freeing. Good luck with your goal of a mortgage free life.
      Eve

      Reply
  2. Shannon S.
    February 27, 2018

    These are such important points that I continuously think about whenever I contemplate making a frivolous purchase. I’m still in the beginning stages of transitioning to a minimalist lifestyle (~6 months) but it’s gotten easier along the way knowing other people go through the same things and try to place focus on what’s actually important in life without being swallowed up by the consumerism black hole.

    Reply
    • James
      February 27, 2018

      Glad these points above resonated for you! If you are in the beginning stages of trying to live a more minimalist lifestyle, I highly recommend checking out Joshua Becker’s writings. He has some great books, as well as an active blog – https://www.becomingminimalist.com/

      Reply
  3. Bee
    April 6, 2018

    Working on the minimalism, my home is in great shape after 2 years of on and off purging. It’s my shopping habits that are difficult. I already blew my shopping ban, but I can tell I’m getting better overall and I am not giving up this 2018 goal. Here are a list of small changes I’ve made to lower costs overall. Maybe some ideas will be new to readers here.

    Using dish soap for hand soap and in the shower (7th Generation brand, less toxic) seriously, my skin has cleared up, I keep hand lotion at the sink too to avoid dry hands
    Switched to a straight razor, no more disposables ever
    Gave away my 1 TV, and don’t miss it
    Got rid of a checking account, $12 monthly fee was ridiculous
    I’m a female, gave up on the haircuts, minor trims are by me
    Still use shampoo, gave up conditioner, It’s wasted $ down the drain
    Bring my own paper bags to the store, absolutely deny plastic bags, accept one and it will float around the world forever, and ever, and ever…
    Gave up fabric softener sheets
    Don’t buy bottled water anymore
    Eat the same simple meals 95% of the time
    Very close to giving up paper towels, keep 1 roll on hand at a time, use clean washable rags
    Hand wash dishes
    Do my own yard work, keeps me strong and fit
    Free workouts outside, gym is a waste of money
    Consolidate all driving errands into one Errand Day
    Gave up Kleenex, TP is just as good
    Gave up plastic Zip lock bags, and roll plastic. Use foil as much as possible
    Always use my Safeway grocery points at the Safeway gas station next door
    Limited my closet clothing colors, better mix and matching now that makes for no brainier fast dressing
    Unplug lights and appliances not in use
    Weather sealed all the windows on my older home
    Date nights include a Netflix movie at the boyfriends house
    Limited times I pay for dinners out, boyfriend pays if it’s excessive times out, his choice as he is the one who likes to eat out often
    Cool down the thermostat at bedtime
    Volunteer at the local animal shelter for good karma and free entertainment

    Reply
    • James
      April 9, 2018

      That is a great list of tips/accomplishments Bee!

      I wouldn’t beat yourself up over a shopping ban. Maybe you need to readjust expectations and put a limit, not a complete ban on shopping?

      Reply

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