After I became a minimalist, I realized that there were things that I stopped buying just because I noticed that I didn’t need them anymore.
One of the biggest changes that I made after becoming a minimalist was in the way that I shopped. Before, I would purchase items without giving much thought to whether or not I needed them. However, once I started paring down my possessions, I began to take a more critical eye on the things that I brought into my home.
As a result, I found myself stopping at the store less and less often, since I no longer felt the need to buy things just for the sake of buying them. Instead, I only purchased items when I had a specific purpose for them. This change has helped me to save both money and time and has made me feel less burdened by stuff.
What helped me to stop buying things?
Only by decluttering your house and getting rid of unneeded items, you are likely to find that you naturally stop buying things that you don’t need. However, if you find yourself struggling to break the habit of buying things that you don’t need, here are a few tips that helped me to change my shopping habits:
Asking questions to yourself
Sometimes I catch myself being so excited to have that thing that I want without thinking if I need it. So now, whenever I feel the urge to buy something, I ask myself a few questions
- Do I need this?
- Is this something that I will use often?
- Will it bring value into my life?
- Do I have another item that serves the same purpose?
- Will it last me a long time?
If the answer to the questions doesn’t align with my goal of becoming a minimalist, then I know it’s not something I need to buy.
Wait for 24 hours before buying
I used to be an impulsive shopper and I would buy things on a whim without giving them much thought. However, now I make it a priority to wait for at least 24 hours before purchasing an item. This waiting period allows me to think more critically about whether or not I actually need the item and it has helped me to avoid making impulse purchases.
Make a list of things that you need (aka Wish List)
This is my favorite technique of them all. I usually have in my mind a list of things that I actually need (but if it’s easier for you, write it down). So, when I’m out shopping and I see something that I want, I ask myself if it’s on my list. If it’s not, then I know I don’t need it and I can walk away.
You see, consumerism creates needs. It doesn’t meet our needs, it creates needs. That is why when we go shopping we think that we need all those stuff.
So create your own needs instead of letting the companies create them for you.
If you need more tips, check out 16 Fun No Shopping Challenges Ideas
Things I stopped buying
1. Duplicates of things I already have
As I said earlier, when I go shopping, I ask myself “Do I have another item that serves the same purpose?”. This has helped me to avoid buying duplicates of things that I already have.
For example, I always catch myself looking for cups and mugs, although I have a few at home. So I have to remind myself that in this stage of life I am going to use the cups that I have and that are perfectly cozy and beautiful. Only after they will lose their usefulness, I will look for more.
2. Seasonal decor
I used to love buying seasonal decor items, but I found that I never really got much use out of them, and you probably know what I mean.
Storing that decor for almost a year in your attic or basement, and taking it out just for a few weeks, doesn’t make much sense.
You can enjoy Christmas, for example, without all those decorations. Just focus on the things that really matter and you will see that your life can be a lot simpler and more enjoyable.
3. Make-up products
It has been such a relief for me after I stopped buying these things. I used to spend a lot of time and money trying to look perfect.
Now I know that the most important thing is to feel good about myself, and that has nothing to do with the way I look on the outside. So I choose natural beauty, and self-confidence instead.
4. Skincare products
To be honest, for me it’s a mystery when I enter a skincare store what should I buy. So many different products with all kinds of weird functions that I don’t understand.
Nowadays, I only have a face cream that I use only when I feel like my face needs a little bit of nourishment and two types of oils for my body.
5. Nail products
Don’t get me wrong, I still have a nail cutter, but that’s it. No nail polish, no special treatments.
I stopped buying all those things because I realized that it was such a waste of time and energy to do your nails. You are beautiful as you are, you don’t need all those things to “look good”.
On that note, I also stopped buying perfumes. I loved perfumes but now, I think it’s a waste of money. They are so expensive and have no value.
“Why wouldn’t I just buy a beautiful bouquet of flowers instead? It’s more natural than putting that perfume all day on me without knowing what was it made from.”
7. Cheap clothes
Did you know that clothes from the 70s and 80s were better quality and lasted longer? People didn’t buy new clothes every season; they used to wear the same clothes for years.
Nowadays, companies usually create clothes with a shorter lifespan. They use cheaper materials and lower-quality stitching and therefore the clothes fall apart after a few washes.
I have decided to invest in higher-quality clothes that will last me longer. And it’s not only about the quality, but it’s also about buying fewer clothes overall. A capsule wardrobe is a great way to do that.
8. Single-purpose kitchen appliances
I stopped buying those appliances that I would use only once in a while and that would take up so much space in my kitchen.
For instance, I had an ice cream maker that I used maybe twice a year. It was taking up so much space in my kitchen so I decided to get rid of it.
Now, I only have the essentials in my kitchen and I have to say: it is much airier and I feel like I can breathe better in my kitchen now.
9. Plastic bags
Probably everyone knows how it is to have a plastic bag with other plastic bags in it. It’s like a never-ending cycle.
I decided to break that cycle and I stopped buying plastic bags. Instead, I use reusable bags made from natural materials like cotton or linen.
10. Plastic water bottles
Just like with plastic bags, I decided to ditch those water bottles made from plastic.
I started using a reusable water bottle. It saves me tons of money and I don’t have to worry about plastic polluting our environment.
11. Accessories and jewelry
I stopped buying accessories and jewelry for three reasons.
- First of all, I realized that I don’t need them to feel good about myself.
- Second of all, I don’t want to support an industry that is often responsible for environmental degradation.
- Moreover, I don’t feel comfortable wearing them. I want to be as light and as basic as possible.
12. Disposable items
Whenever I can, I try to buy reusable items instead of disposable ones. For instance, I use reusable straws, cups, and plates.
I know it might seem like a small thing, but if everyone would do that, we could save so much plastic and other materials from ending up in our landfills and polluting our planet.
Other disposable items that you can stop buying include:
- Coffee cups
- Razor blades
- Period pads
I know the feeling of having a new book and the smell of a new book. But in all honesty, they are expensive and take up a lot of space.
Nowadays, I prefer to read books electronically. It is cheaper and more convenient if I go on a trip.
With that being said, I still have a small minimalist library at home with my favorite books.
14. CDs and DVDs
With the advent of streaming services, CDs and DVDs have become obsolete. I don’t see the need to buy them anymore when I can just listen to my favorite music or watch my favorite movies online.
15. Items on sale
Just because something is on sale, it doesn’t mean that you need to buy it. I used to fall into that trap all the time. I would see something on sale and I would think “I need to buy it because it’s such a good deal.”
Now, I ask myself “Do I really need this?” before I make any purchase. If the answer is no, then I don’t buy it.
An exception to this rule is if I have on my wish list an item that I have been wanting for a long time and it goes on sale. In that case, I would buy it.
Knick-knacks are those small trinkets that people usually put on shelves or display cabinets.
I used to have display cabinets full of these knick-knacks. And I remember that dusting those cabinets was such a pain.
Now, I don’t have any of those trinkets anymore and it has been such a relief. Now, I can actually dust my shelves without having to move a lot of things around.
17. Subscription boxes
Subscription boxes are a waste of money and resources. First of all, you are paying for something that you might not even want or need. Second of all, a lot of times these subscription boxes come with a lot of packaging.
And last but not least, you are adding more stuff to your life that you might not need.
I stopped buying subscription boxes and I haven’t looked back since.
18. Latest technology
Changing my phone every year used to be a thing for me. But not anymore.
Now, I only upgrade my phone when it is really necessary. For instance, when my old phone breaks or when the new phone has features that are relevant to my work.
The same goes for other gadgets and technology. I only buy them when I really need them.
19. Impulse purchases
I used to love those stores that sell things like cute plates, candles, cups, items for drawing, etc. I would go in there and I would see all these things that I wanted and I would buy them on a whim.
Now, I only buy things when I have a specific purpose for them. Again, if it’s not on my wishing list, I don’t buy it.
20. Cheap shoes
In my parent’s house, my sister, I, and my mom had a whole room dedicated to shoes. It was full of shoes of all sorts and brands.
And I wasn’t wearing more than half of my shoes. Now, I have only 3 pairs of shoes: one that I wear all the time, another one for the winter season, plus one for running/sport. And I only buy high-quality shoes that I know will last long.
Some people say that you haven’t been anywhere if you don’t have souvenirs to show for it. But I don’t believe that.
I think that the experiences you have while traveling are more important than the things you can buy.
Now, instead of buying a lot of souvenirs, I take a lot of pictures. And if I really want to bring something back, I make sure that it brings value to me.
22. Travel-sized items
Do you really need travel-sized toothpaste? Or a mini shampoo?
Probably not. You can just buy the regular size and put it in a smaller container.
I stopped buying travel-sized items because I realized that I was wasting my money.
23. Out-of-season clothes
Is it familiar to you to buy a winter coat in the middle of summer? Or swimwear in the middle of winter?
I used to do that a lot. Why? Because it was cheaper to buy them off-season plus I wanted to feel the vibe of the season even when it wasn’t.
However, that meant that my closet was full of clothes that I wasn’t using. Now, I only buy clothes when I truly NEED them.
24. Gifts for others
I used to spend a lot of money on gifts for my friends and family, especially for Christmas. I had no idea if they even liked the gifts I got them.
That is why, instead of buying physical gifts for others, I try to come up with some activities that we can do together. For instance, going to an art class together instead of buying them a painting.
However, if I know for sure that a person wants a certain item, I would buy it.
25. Unnecessary decor
Clocks, vases, statuettes, and other types of home decor are the least of my priorities.
I would rather spend my money on things that are more practical, like useful kitchen appliances or going to the cinema with my husband.
26. Free items
I know that it doesn’t fit that well in the “things I stopped buying” category, but I stopped taking free items that I don’t need.
For example, when I was at a conference, they were giving away tote bags with the conference’s logo. I took one because it was free. But then I realized that I have a lot of tote bags and I don’t use all of them.
Now, I don’t take freebies unless I know for sure that I will use them.
27. Items that I can’t afford
It sounds logical but is not. There are people that save money for years in order to buy things they can’t afford.
Let’s say you live with a minimum salary but want the most expensive car. You will save money for years and years until you have enough to buy it.
But is that car worth all the years you spent working hard and not being able to enjoy your life?
I stopped buying things that I couldn’t afford because I realized that it simply doesn’t make sense.
28. Items to impress others
There is this belief that you can integrate into a group only by owning certain items.
For instance, if you want to be part of the “popular girls in the school,” you need to have the latest iPhone.
But that doesn’t make any sense. You don’t need to own something to be liked by others. And if you do, then that group of people is not for you.
Now, I only buy things that I like and that make me happy, regardless of what other people think. I dress as I want and not like what is “in” at the moment.
29. Outfits for special occasions
We all have that one friend who always looks fabulous on every single occasion. And we also have that other friend who only wears sweatpants and a t-shirt.
I suppose the last one has more important things to think about than clothes. Now, I am not judging anyone. But I used to be like the first one.
I would buy a new outfit almost every time there was an event. And, of course, I would only wear it once. It was a waste of money and a waste of resources.
Nowadays, instead of buying a new outfit, I try to find something in my closet that I can wear. And I always find something that I feel confident in. If not, I would consider buying a new outfit.
30. Low-quality items
When I buy something, I want to make sure that it will last me a long time, so I don’t have to spend time and money to replace it.
That is why I stopped buying cheap and low-quality items. Even though they are cheaper in the short term, in the long term, they are more expensive because you will have to replace them more often.
I am sure that there are even more things that I stopped buying but these are the main ones.
I hope this article will inspire you to think about your own spending habits and maybe even make some changes.
Do you have anything that you stopped buying? Why? Let me know in the comments below!