I should have gone to bed with my book but instead, I sat on the couch entranced by the blue light of my cell phone mindlessly scrolling through Instagram.
An ad for some super cute jeans came up and before I knew it I was checking out. I didn’t need jeans and when they came I had to return them because they weren’t the dream I had made them out to be.
Why did I buy them? Why did I, a minimalist, give into this blatant impulse buying pitfall? How can I stop buying stuff on impulse?
What Is Impulse Buying?
Impulse buying describes any time you do unplanned buying because you are tempted by your emotions or sales and not because you actually want or need the item.
Impulse buying could be a late-night Amazon binge or a Target run. It could look like a shopping trip with friends or a run to the mall to check out the big sales.
You are impulse shopping any time you buy something without really considering if you need it or not. Unfortunately, this kind of unplanned buying can actually account for a large portion of the purchases we make if we aren’t careful.
Why Would I Want to Stop Buying on Impulse?
Why is impulse buying bad? For a few reasons.
When you make a lot of impulse purchases you will end up spending money you might need for other things.
Also when you impulse buy products you don’t need they clutter up your house.
Shopping too much is also bad for the earth because a lot of what we buy just ends up getting thrown away. Minimalism can help you live more sustainably by helping you get in the habit of buying less.
Last but not least, impulse shopping will not actually fill the emotional needs you are trying to fill with items.
On the flip side, when you stop buying things on impulse you keep that money in your pocket and that stuff out of your house! You can also explore other, more fulfilling ways, of cheering yourself up.
How Can I Stop Buying on Impulse?
Since you can save you money and keep your home clutter-free when you stop buying on impulse it is a very important skill. It can help you keep you on track as you build the simple life you want to enjoy!
It sounds like a simple equation. Just stop buying things you don’t need. But it can be harder to quit your habit of impulse buying than you would think. I have thought of myself as a minimalist for years now and I still fall prey to impulse shopping online and in-store.
So what if I told you that one simple sentence can help you resist MOST, if not all, of your impulse purchases? This is one of my best minimalist shopping tips. What is this magical sentence? It’s really simple.
“How long will I love it?”
That’s it. Whenever you see a trendy blouse on a great sale ask yourself “How long will I love it?”
If you find yourself looking at a gadget that your friend has been raving about on Amazon late at night ask yourself; “How long will I love it?”
When you think you need a new car because the one that takes you to work every day doesn’t seem fancy anymore ask yourself; “How long will I love it?”
To Stop Buying Ask: How Long Will I Love It?
Why is this simple question so effective in helping you resist emotional unplanned buying?
Asking yourself “How will I love it?” forces you to confront the fact that before long, this new shiny thing, will just be a regular old thing that you’re used to.
It might even help you confront the fact that you don’t like the item at all! You are just buying it because it’s on sale or it’s trendy and you want to fit in. For example, I hate jumpers (nothing personal if you love them) but I almost bought one on sale at Target cause they were so “in style”.
When you ask yourself; “How long will I love it?” you are taking yourself out of the moment and picturing the future of the item you are about to buy. If you can picture yourself wearing or using it for years to come then maybe it’s worth buying it. But if you picture it in a pile in your junk room take a pass and picture the money it represents in your bank account instead!
That simple question can help you stop buying stuff you don’t need or truly love. It will save you a lot of heartache in the future.
I’m “So Over” Some of My Impulse Purchases
To be honest with you. I’ve only started asking myself this important question in the last year. Before that, I was just like you. I bought the trendy shirt on sale and I fell for the gadget my friend told me I had to have. And now where is that stuff?
It is waiting to be decluttered. It’s sitting in my closet or hiding away in drawers making me feel guilty. I am wishing I didn’t spend the money on these items or I am forcing myself to wear the now un-trendy shirt to get my money’s worth. Head smack! I really wish that I had started asking myself how long I would love it years ago.
Let’s face it, I still have a dress that I bought from Walmart on my 21st birthday, which was almost thirteen years ago. While I do LOVE that beautiful teal satin dress I am completely stunned at how long it has lasted. I’m also stunned that it was at Walmart in the first place.
Everything we buy lasts longer than we might love it. That’s why it’s important to be careful about bringing new things into our lives! It’s the responsible thing to do for our homes, our bank accounts, and our environment.
Do This Instead of Buying Impulsively
Impulse buying is driven by our emotions. We have a fear of missing out on a good deal or a trend. Maybe we feel down and think we deserve a treat. Or maybe we are just bored and going on a trip to our favorite store sounds like just what we need.
So what can you do to soothe those impulse shopping cravings? Replace the desire to shop with something else.
When you feel like you are missing a good deal, ask yourself if you really need the item. If you do, by all means take advantage of the deal. But if you don’t need it then realize that the money you save by not shopping will always be more than the money you save by “getting a great deal”. Set that money aside for a trip or a concert or some other fun experience you would like to have.
If you are feeling down and think you need a treat then treat yourself! Treat yourself to an afternoon off or some time with a friend. Take a hot tub bath or read a book with a cup of tea. Make time for your favorite hobby or go do something active that you enjoy! There are a lot of ways to treat yourself that don’t involve buying things you won’t love for long.
If you are bored, see the above! It’s time to redirect your shopping energies. Learn something new! Pick up a musical instrument or a language. Do something kind for someone else. Take some much-needed time for self-care. There are a lot of things you can do that are more fulfilling than shopping.
Don’t Let Your Impulse Purchases Hold You Back!
When you ask yourself; “How long will I love it?” you will help yourself resist impulse buying in the future! You will save lots of time and money and prevent a lot of clutter from coming into your home.
But what about your past impulse purchases? Are they the clutter that surrounds you? Do those impulse purchases bury you in guilt? Don’t let them! You can let go of the impulse purchases from your past! The only thing that guilt is good for is informing your future purchasing decisions!
If you need help busting through the excuses you are making to keep that clutter grab the Fearless Decluttering E-Book!
It’s more than an e-book, it’s an entire program especially designed to help you overcome guilt and fear about getting rid of your clutter.
It will help you know exactly how to declutter your home in a month, or at your own pace, with step-by-step guides, checklists, and lots of motivation!