10 Ways To Stop buying things you don't need

by - September 14, 2016

Picture this. You walk into Pick n Pay hyper store planning to get toothpaste and soap. Next thing you know, an hour has passed and you're in line, ready to check out, standing beside a full cart piled high with chocolates, socks, a few sweets, and an a bowl. The cashier rings it up. "That'll be R263.72."
You swipe your card, too shocked to think about what just happened. It's not until the drive home that the guilt sets in.

This is one of my hardest habits to break. I've been working on it for literally years. I'm getting better, mainly because I've found a system that works for me - making a list and making sure that I stick to it. Some days I falter and other days I get it right. Since I started being more mindful about what I need to do to stop buying things that I don't need, I should I should share my go to strategies with you.

Know your family's weak points 

Since you all share common goals and it's a good idea to try and know each other's areas that could become a hindrance to those goals.  And you and your family should have a very specific and ongoing conversation about the difference between needs and wants. As a family you will hold each other accountable when one of you cross over from want to need.

Figure out the why 

A huge part of stopping a behaviour like frivolous shopping is figuring out why you're doing it. We all have our reasons, each more convincing than the last. The real reason is that there's tons of social pressure to keep up with our neighbours. Get real about the fact that spending is a coping mechanism and a bad habit.

Be mindful 

Choosing to become more mindful while shopping can help you become more discerning between a momentary mistake and a good investment. It’s all about being conscious of what’s happening inside your head when you’re shopping.  This will help you to develop a greater control over your finances and you'll be able to really enjoy the purchases you make without the dread and guilt of having spent too much.

Limit your exposure to advertising 

Nearly every habit is initiated by a trigger or cue. How many of you buy magazines? How many of you have noticed how magazines are increasing their advertising pages but not the content? This is to lure you in. Even though you might not immediately buy what you saw, chances are you will grab it when you see while you are shopping. Try and minimize your exposure to anything with so much advertising.  By intentionally limiting your exposure to advertising, the less likely you are to develop a sudden "need" for the item advertised.

Have a list 

When you go shopping make a list and only buy things on the list. Remember, if you really needed it, it would be on the list! This is especially useful for big stores. They usually have deals but when you have a list you resist the urge! If you see something that you might need, put it on the list and wait a few days. You will probably find that it was a passing fancy.

Limit the money you carry when you go shopping

Use cash wherever possible for purchases. If you work near a a mall or a lot of shops , having ample money when you go out to lunch will be the ultimate temptation. Take only what you need for your lunch. If its your card then ask a friend to help you remember to keep to a specific budget. The same concept can be applied when going out to shop for your family. Bring just enough money for the things you budgeted for. Without extra money, you'd have to but exactly what you came for.

Don't keep up with your friends

I used to have a colleague that when we go shopping would always expect to buy something just because she was buying. I never succumbed. Sometimes, we shop impulsively because of peer pressure. However, your friends aren’t paying your credit card bills. You have to take control of your own finances. And if you buy something you don’t need, don’t be ashamed to return the item if you have buyer’s remorse.

Shopping is not a past time. 

I used to wonder the mall aimlessly and end up buying what I don't need. Window shopping and trips to the mall for leisure are just temptations. Nothing good comes out of walking into a store without knowing what it is you're going there to buy. Only go to a store or the mall if you have a specific necessity to buy.

Find affordable ways to still enjoy the things you like

I love reading and I could spend a fortune at book stores. Since this was an area where I was spending on, I have started a mini book stokvel with two of my friends. We love the same books. So wee have subscribed to all the SA publishers and other international ones, so that we know what's happening in that world. We then select the books we love, come up with a budget for the books we love and then buy them. Then we take turns reading them. his satisfies my love for reading and doesn't cost me a lot!

Remember this...

For every item you purchase, you have to work a certain number of hours to pay for it. For example, if you are to splurge your money on a handbag, think how many hours of hard work it takes to pay for that bag. This may help you resist from impulsive buying. Keeping your eyes and mind focused on your financial goals can help you resist the urge to spend money.

I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with buying what you want, as long as you’re financially stable, you’re financially prepared for the future, and you’re mindful about your budget and your spending. The problem is the mindless consumption.

And yeah, there will never be a level where you will be done wanting things. There is always something to upgrade to. Realise that wanting is just an option your mind provides, not an order you have to follow. And if first you don't succeed ... try again and again until you are strong enough to resist all temptations.

What are your tips that help you resist buying things you don't need.

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