Do you want to stop buying stuff?
The short answer is just don’t shop, stay out of stores, stop online shopping, and for those of us who like old school browsing, cancel print catalogs. But the answer is really more complicated than just to stop buying stuff. You need to identify why you buy and what are your purchase triggers. For me, it’s job stress, and the unrelenting need to find the perfect black pant. You know the ones I’m talking about, those pants that are magic, they make you feel confident, and the fit makes you feel like a supermodel.
I’ve always been an emotional spender, and justified some of my purchases using excuses like “after I buy this I won’t need anything else” or “buying a $40 lipstick is better than a $400 purse or ”… the list of excuses goes on and on. Any of this sound familiar?
One way I deal with my shopping desire is to make a list of wants and then try to identify the “must haves” and eliminate the “nice to have” For example; I need a flattering long lasting lipstick to wear to work every day, a must have for any office girl. I don’t need one that costs $40, that would be a nice to have. On the other side, I'll pick a pair of quality $10 under panties that are comfy over a $2 pair from the discount store that rides and up all day.
I love cooking and blogging, and these two activities can keep me busy and happy. If I’m having shopping withdrawals, I’ll run out to the bookstore and browse awhile, then head over to the grocery store and buy a perfectly ripe piece of fresh fruit. Anybody remember the scene in The Godfather when DeNiro brings home a perfect pear to his wife, so romantic.
To prove my theory of unnecessary spending, every time I see or think I want something I log it in my notes app. Very possible I’ll have listed the same item more than once. At the end of my six months experiment, I’ll review the list to see if I still want or need any of the items on my list.
The eleven things I've stopped buying
- Expensive Shampoo – Honestly, I don’t see much difference between a $20 designer brand or $5 drugstore brand. The $20 brand may have better shelf appeal since most of the price of the shampoo goes into marketing and packaging. I had a wake-up call when I picked up a trial size shampoo, and it cost $10!
- Dying my Hair – I’ve given up having my hair professionally colored every 3 months or so at the cost of over $150 each time.
- Haircuts – Instead of getting my hair trimmed every couple of months, I now get my hair cut twice a year. Warning, you need the right hairstyle to exercise this option. A Long simple layered cut will work well, a pixie cut, or anything fussy or needing regular upkeep, not so much.
- Pedicures & Manicures– I have an Amope Pedi-Perfect that I love, I started doing my pedicures myself at home now. Manicures at home are easy and cheap, even easier I only wear clear nail polish on my fingernails.
- Clothes –I have enough. If I have a fashion emergency, I have an H & M gift card I’ll use.
- Books – I love books, real books, I purchase 3 or 4 books a year so giving this up can save close to $100 a year.
- Magazines – I’ll visit the bookstore and do a bit of browsing instead.Many of the articles in magazines are also available for free online.
- Ikea Shopping– Recreational shopping is now a thing of the past. I have an unused $50 gift card if I find I need cheap batteries.
- Starbucks – I have $30 left on a gift card, and this is all I’m allowed to spend at Starbucks for the remainder of the year.
- Dinner & A Movie – I’ll wait for the movie to be released on Netflix and get takeout instead.
- Alcohol – I replaced my nightly glass or two of wine with water and lemon. It’s healthier, and I might lose a few pounds by the end of the year.
I might not pay off all my debt by just stopping to buy this stuff, but, I can change my habits, and that will have a lasting financial benefit.
The late great comedian George Carlin starting me thinking about "stuff" when I first heard his comedy routine" A place for my stuff " way back the 1980's.
Here is an excerpt for you:
"All the little piles of stuff. And when you leave your house, you gotta lock it up. Wouldn't want somebody to come by and take some of your stuff. They always take the good stuff. They never bother with that crap you're saving. All they want is the shiny stuff. That's what your house is, a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get...more stuff! Sometimes you gotta move, gotta get a bigger house. Why? No room for your stuff anymore...."