Buying stuff feels good. Black Friday is coming, and we wanna help you keep your wallet in your pocket.
How do you stop buying crap you don’t need? How do you stop yourself from getting that awesome thing you want? Do you really need it, or is it just an impulse buy?
A 2014 Creditcard.com survey found that 75% of Americans had made an impulse buy, with 10% of people spending more than $1,000 on a single item.
Ryan Howell, an associate professor of psychology at San Francisco State University in California in the US, said the impulse to buy, in part, is a survival instinct. Back in our hunter and gatherer days, when people saw something they wanted, they’d grab it, even if they didn’t need it, because it was likely they wouldn’t come across that item again.
“If you see something that seems to be running in short supply, you’re going to get it,” Howell said.
We don’t wanna get philosophical, but the point of our conversation here is about contentment. When you spend money on stuff you don’t need, you are telling yourself you are not content.
And that’s a problem.
Why? Because it’s true that we don’t have everything we want, but we have everything we need. Let’s take it up a notch. We have everything we need to do everything we want, and eventually get everything we want.
When we confuse what we want with what we need, we are being materialistic.
The problem with being materialistic is that you are putting a limit to your happiness. Unless you have this or that, you can’t be happy. And once you fall into this trap, it becomes a habit.
It Goes Back to your Identity
Look, we’re all about being prosperous. If you want to buy that expensive pair of shoes because you’ll feel better about yourself, do it. But don’t do it to impress anyone. Don’t do it because you feel lacking otherwise. Comparing yourself is the easiest way to lie to yourself.
Your worth doesn’t depend on what you have. You already know that. But you are not giving yourself enough credit. Your mentality, resilience, integrity and loyalty are just some of the things that define you as a person.
Have Self Compassion
Many people think compassion is a weakness. It’s not.
Unless you are a billionaire, there will always be stuff you can’t get. You should work hard to get them. But because you work so hard to get them, you need to give yourself credit. You must learn to forgive yourself if you must, and remind yourself the reasons why you can’t have it.
When you take the time to speak to yourself this way, you create a space to see how far you’ve come, even when you didn’t have all the tools you thought you needed.
Could it be better? Sure. But it’s not looking bad.
Self-compassion works because it gives you room to be grateful. Instead, if you push yourself to the point where you resent yourself, you’ll become bitter. That’s the root of self-esteem and depression. When you don’t
Practical Ways to Stop Buying Crap You Don’t Need
Now that you know the mindset part of it, let’s see some practical ways to control your overspending.
Have a Goal in Mind
Having a goal for your money is a great way to justify saying no to smaller impulsive purchases. Suddenly, that extra shot of espresso doesn’t sound necessary, when you are saving to go to Europe. You need to keep your money busy. It will wait for you, but you have to tell it where it’s going.
You don’t have to save thousands of dollars. That might take too long. Start with smaller goals and build it up from there. And above all, remember that it’s ok to indulge from now and then.
Wait 48 Hours
Marketers are brilliant in that they always push you to make a purchase now. This offer expires 9 seconds after your next blink, so buy now! They know you don’t like to miss out on a good offer. But for every discount you let pass, you save 100% of that money.
Next time you have to decide whether or not to buy something, wait for a couple of days. If you want it today, you may not want it in 48 hours. But if you really need it, you’ll still need it by then.
A study showed that people spent 47% more money when using a card instead of cash.
Yes, it’s more convenient to swipe a card. It’s nice to use the money. But if you really have an issue with buying stuff you don’t need, limiting yourself to cash only purchases may help you.
Know How Much Money you REALLY Have
If you know how much money you have, you’ll think twice before spending more than you have. While most of us already have an idea of how much we can afford, not everyone knows how much money they really have. Just because the money is in your bank account, doesn’t mean you can spend it.
Talk with a Professional
Sometimes all we need is someone to talk to. A life coach does exactly that. You two will talk, you’ll figure out what triggers your spending, and you’ll make a plan to improve your habits. Having a neutral professional walking with you through life is an empowering experience you should live.