After several moves, I realized that I kept buying stuff I didn’t need. Colored pens, notebooks and vintage tins. I had pens that I’d bought in high school that I was still carting with me from apartment to apartment. I had notebooks that I’d bought years earlier that remained empty.
If there’s something your friends always tease you about, try to listen. Mine had always made fun of my notebook addiction, but I’d never realized that I was carting around empty pages and not filling them.
Here are some strategies I use to keep myself from overbuying, overspending and over cluttering my apartment:
When I fall in love with something at a store, it has to be on sale. Even if it’s less than $20, I still won’t pay retail. Why? Because if you’re patient and clever, you can find a sale or a coupon. It really isn’t too hard. You can sign up for the store’s newsletter – usually they’ll send a coupon code immediately that you can use online and in stores.
If you’re shopping online, search for coupon codes from a site like Coupon Sherpa for the store you’re shopping at. You can also chat with customer service or contact them on Twitter asking for a discount – many are happy to give it to you!
One reason that it’s easy for me not to buy something – no matter how much I love it – is that I have internal price limits. For example, I won’t pay more than $40 for a pair of jeans. That way, if I’m out and see a pair for $50, it’s easy to put them back.
If you set price limits for things you buy, then you’re cutting all emotion out of the decision. The key is to make shopping easier. By setting limits, you’re making it easier to save money and only shop for things you really love and need.
I can always trust my stomach to tell me if I don’t need to buy something. If I’m about to purchase something I’ll likely regret, I listen to see if my stomach is churning or if it’s calm. If it’s upset, I put the item back. Anytime that I buy something while my stomach hurts, I’ve always gone to return it the next day. My stomach knows when I’m going to have buyer’s remorse.
I think most of us have an internal voice that tells us whether or not we need to buy something. Whatever vice we have, whether it’s a short temper or a shopping problem, we still have that little voice in our head that’s trying to guide in the right direction. We just have to be ready to listen to it.
Try counting on your internal voice the next time you go shopping. Is it telling you to put the dress back? Is it saying that you don’t need one more pair of black pumps? Sometimes we use shopping as a way to silence that little voice, but if you focus and listen, you can hear it clearly.