I’ve been working on being more intentional with my purchases and practicing a minimal lifestyle. Our consumer culture encourages us to buy new things all the time, and it takes a real mental shift to resist the constant pressure to buy, buy, buy! Here are some of the techniques I’ve been using to filter out the noise and only invest in things that actually serve me:
Shop With a Specific List
Since it’s far too easy to want to shop impulsively, or snatch up an item because it’s on major sale, I have been carrying an index card, when I go out, with the items I actually need on it. If it’s not on the list, I don’t buy it.
Shop With Intention
Decide what your criteria is before you buy and do your research. Maybe you want to invest in things that are ethically and sustainably made. Perhaps you want to buy locally from independent shops. Maybe you just want to invest in very well-made, high quality items that will last a long time. Whatever feels good to you, clarify what it is you want to spend your money on before you take your wallet out. (It may help to jot this down.)
Get Creative and Resourceful
Before you bring something new into your home, make sure you don’t already own something that can serve a similar function. Need something to store your paperclips? Before you run out to the Container Store check if you have a small bin, bowl, or basket that can get the job done.
If you need something for a specific event or function, consider borrowing or renting the item instead of bringing more clutter into your home for a single event. We go on an annual camping trip to Yosemite, and we just borrow the basics we need from our friends who are frequent campers. Likewise, I just attended a rare black-tie event, and I decided to borrow a dress from a friend instead of buying a new one that would just clutter up my closet.
Paying with cash helps ensure that you stay on track with your budget, especially if you take out only as much as you truly want to spend. Cash also keeps you connected to your finances in a more tangible way than credit cards, which can often seem like magic money.
Have you tried any of these tips in your own life? I find that the more intentional and thoughtful I am with my shopping, the more money, time, and energy I save for other pursuits. Have you also found this to be true?
Images: Vivian Johnson Photography