Becoming a Minimalist has made me more aware of my spending obviously. We could spend our lives buying and then purging material things from our homes. How can we get to the point that we can stop that cycle? When we are bombarded with constant marketing how do we avoid the shopping temptation?
There are a number of things that we can so on the road to minimalism that will help us break the cycle of possessing and purging. The idea is of course to get to the point where you only buy what you need.
Stop Watching Commercials
This has the added bonus of possibly helping you lose weight as well. Cartoons are filled with commercials aimed at kids to buy one needless thing after another. Series shows have commercials that influence us to buy everything from hamburgers to cosmetics, to the latest, greatest gadget.
Replace the Habit: Sign up for Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime and watch movies as well as complete seasons of your favorite shows without the commercials.
Stop Buying and Reading Magazines
Magazines are clutter traps anyway. Even buying the digital version blasts you with ads. I even stopped reading beauty blogs because they were convincing me I needed more than I really did. Companies spend millions every year researching what advertising works. They have reeling you in down to a science.
Replace the Habit: Get the Kindle app for instance and make a committment to only read free books. There are tons of new releases on a regular basis that are written by new authors on any subject for free. I recently made a goal to read the classics and was able to find everything I wanted to read for free.
Stop Using Shopping as Therapy
Shopping is not a replacement for therapy. If you’ve had a bad day, an argument with your S.O., or the job sucks, don’t think that buying a cart load of something will make you feel better.
Replace the Habit: Use exercise as an outlet. Everything from walking to joining a team is a much healthier way of getting rid of stress. Go talk to a professional if you need to. Get sunshine everyday, make a healthy meal, or pursue a hobby. Last but not least, examine your relationships and lifestyle. If something truly isn’t working, decide to put the effort into making it better or leave it behind.
The Mailing List
I found myself still tempted by the local thrift stores emails for 50% off days. Catalogues were still showing up at my house. Every website out there wants you to subscribe so that they can market to you. Some have great information that comes with it, some don’t.
Replace the habit:
A lot of clutter can be avoided all together by writing to companies to take you off the list. Don’t sign up for the newsletter if it’s heavy on ads, throw ad mail in the trash before you enter the house, and write or call companies that send catalogs and say “no thanks” to further mailings. If you are intent on saving money for the things you need then shop end of season for clothes or buy at the thrift store and buy specific things on your list.
Shopping should be functional and just business. Buy only when you need something not because it’s something to do, a hobby, or an emotional reaction. It sounds callous but succeeding at minimalism means changing buying habits as well as cleaning out. If you always do one without the other it’s just a frustration that never ends.