How To Stop Buying Things: Adopt Minimalism

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Are you looking for a way to spend less money, to have a less cluttered home, and to spend more time doing the things that you love the most? A relatively easy way to accomplish all three of these things at the same time is to adopt a minimalist lifestyle. 

Minimalism focuses on living a simpler, more intentional life and is about gaining the time and space for more of what you love the most. (And it can be applied to every aspect of your life.)

Minimalists choose to live with less, because it allows us the ability to make more memories, and to do more of what matters to us the most. The less you have, the less you need to clean, maintain, and make payments on. The less you buy, the less debt you accumulate, the less time you need to spend working, and the more time you are able to spend living and enjoying your life! 

However, you don’t have to start by throwing away or giving away all of your possessions, you can begin by simply becoming more aware of and more intentional with your spending. Minimalists do things deliberately, and with planning. 

You will immediately notice a significant difference in your bank account when you start making small changes to what, and how often you make purchases. 

Are you ready to get started? This list of tips I’ve created is a great guide for how to stop buying things with minimalism. What’s a great way to motivate you to stop buying things? By embracing minimalism.

1. Identify your needs versus your wants

Now that I live a minimalist lifestyle, there are a few questions that I always ask myself before I buy something that have truly helped me control my spending and the amount of things I buy. I ask myself:

Do I really need it? 

I do my best to identify whether or not the item in question is something I truly need, whether or not it will be useful to me in the long run, or if it is simply something I want for the moment. A great example of this is when I ask myself whether an article of clothing I’m considering buying is simply something trendy that I will only use for a single season, or whether it will become a regularly worn item in my clothing rotation. Minimalists avoid acquiring things simply because they are “in style,” but rather focus on items that have multiple uses, and will be useful longterm.

Do I already have something that I can use for this?

You may be surprised by how many things you already have in your possession that can be used for more than one purpose. Before I buy something, I always ask myself whether or not I already have something that I can use for what I want to accomplish. Most times, I find that the answer is yes! Duplicates of thing they already own, or objects that only serve a single purpose are things minimalists don’t buy. Instead, items that have more than one purpose or use are minimalist things to buy.

Can I borrow it, rent it, or acquire it without spending any, or as much, money?

While there will always be things that you need to or you are better off buying new, there are lots of things that hold their value and can be acquired secondhand, for little to no money. This recycles things, saves them from living in a landfill, and you may even be able to sell them yourself or pass them along again later! Minimalists strive to borrow, rent, or acquire items secondhand, over skipping straight to buying something new.

2. Remove reminders and easy accessibility

These days, it’s easier than ever to make and be tempted to make purchases. We don’t even need to be physically present in a store to buy something and we can even do so with a single click! Plus, we have downloaded constant reminders and advertisements right onto our smartphones! 

A few of the things that will reduce a significant source of shopping provocation are to unfollow brands and influencers on social media, to delete your shopping apps, and to unsubscribe from all brand and store emails.

For me personally, the less I see and hear people constantly endorsing and recommending things, the less I convince myself that I need more things, and the more tedious it is for me to make a purchase, the less likely I am to do so.

Unsubscribing from emails and notifications also means you’re no longer aware of every sale or promotion. And while waiting to shop during a sale is a smart and strategic, minimalist approved habit, simply purchasing something because it’s on sale is not. Minimalists stick to buying things that they actually need or that have truly worn out and need replacing, as opposed to buying something simply because it’s “on sale.”

Remove the reminders and you’re less likely to buy.

3. Create a goal and / or budget for yourself, and stick to it

Another thing that can curb the temptation to spend is to create a goal or budget for yourself. Set a standard to add to your savings account daily, weekly, or monthly for emergencies or for the future, or plan and set aside money for a vacation or a trip to a place you’ve always wanted to see. You are far less likely to spend on a whim if you are trying to reach a goal of setting aside a certain amount of money by a specific date or time. 

Note: It’s important to set a specific date to achieve your goal by, otherwise you are more likely to justify not sticking to it. 

I don’t know about you, but I would much rather set aside money to take a trip, have an awesome experience, or make memories than to add purses, clothing, or other extraneous items to my house or closet. Minimalists strive to experience more of life as opposed to filling it with more material things.

4. Create a set of rules for yourself

Another thing that helps me stick to my minimalist lifestyle is that I’ve created a set of rules for myself that I follow before I allow an item to enter my home. 

I find that following a set of rules makes it easier for me to resist the temptation to make impulse purchases, and they help me to slow down and to deliberately decide what I want to buy. Minimalists make purchases with intention, and resist buying things impulsively.

My rules for my purchases are:

-Every item needs to be multipurpose

-If I bring an item in, I take another one out (I sell, give away, or otherwise let go of what it’s replacing.) 

-I don’t shop for anything without a reason 

-I have committed to using up everything I already own before buying anything new

It would be up to you to create your own set of rules that are personalized to suit your goals and are relevant to your set of circumstances and lifestyle, but I wanted to share mine as an example.

5. Focus on your why

Another great way to keep your spending in check is to focus on why you want to stop buying so many things. Are you hoping to have a less cluttered home? Are you hoping to add to or establish a savings account? Are you looking to make more memories? In the beginning of adopting this lifestyle, it may be challenging, or feel very uncomfortable. Focusing on your why is helpful to maintain motivation. Remind yourself daily of why you’re making these changes. The temporary uneasiness will pass, and the benefits will far outweigh the momentary discomfort.

6. Fill your time with something more meaningful

Before I adopted a minimalist lifestyle, I often found myself spending many hours of my free time browsing the merchandise in different retail establishments, despite the fact that I didn’t actually need anything. It became a way for me to stave off boredom and was my activity of choice when I was looking for something to do. Almost every time I went out, I’d buy things on impulse that I didn’t truly need or have a long term use for, and I inevitably found myself draining my bank account and drowning in clutter. I spent my days “killing time” as opposed to doing things that truly brought me joy. 

Now that I’m a minimalist, I spend my free time engaging in activities that I truly enjoy, such as trying out a new restaurant, taking photos, or spending time in nature. I fill my time with things that are meaningful, fulfilling, and add richness to my life. Do you have interests or hobbies that you’ve been meaning to pursue? Instead of spending hours at the mall or online shopping, why don’t you pursue some of your passions?

Filling your time with something more meaningful, limiting the amount of time you spend in stores, and only shopping when you actually need something are helpful ways to control spending.

Final Thoughts…

Adopting a minimalist lifestyle is well known to have many benefits including better mental clarity, an increase in overall happiness, and a decrease in the amount of money people spend. 

However, despite having many positive benefits, making any life-altering changes, especially to habits that have been reinforced since childhood, can be a bit of a challenge. So giving yourself a set of guidelines to follow, and frequently reminding yourself of your reasons for doing so, can be incredibly motivating and helpful. 

While minimalists may embrace living with less, that doesn’t mean we don’t buy anything. It means that we are more deliberate with our spending and do so with intention, giving great consideration to the things we bring into our homes and the things we allow to enter our lives.

If you are looking for a way to control spending, this list is a great guide for how to stop buying things with minimalism.