A Year Of Buying Less; What I've Learnt
February 2017 marked the month that I first really got into the idea of shopping and buying less. As someone who once had a very high dependency on spending money to be happy I never thought it would be something I even considered. I've briefly spoken about my poor relationship with money in the past but when it's not until looking back on it now do I realise just how bad it was and just how much I've changed my attitude towards spending money. In the past year or so I've learned so much and here are the most valuable things I've taken away from it all.
WANTS VS NEEDS
A phrase that is probably said a little too much in the online world of ours is 'oh I need that' when more accurately it should be 'I want this'. I'm totally guilty of saying it too and I've had to really work on my language towards shopping in the past year or so as I think that also helps to change your mindset towards buying. When I tell myself well I need it then it gets into my head rather than saying oh I want this but I'll wait a few weeks to see if I'm still thinking about it. Every single person has different needs in life but generally, those needs aren't a new dress every time we go out or a take-out coffee multiple times a day. When I actually need something then I tend not to question it too much and not once do I feel any guilt over it but when it comes to wanting rather than a need there is always something niggling away in my mind.
When it comes to material items I must admit that I'm a little bit of a luster. I will see somebody else either using something or something in their home and if I like it then I always lust after it. I start daydreaming what life would be like with that item or all the outfits that I could wear with it. I realise how crazy this might sound to some people but to some, it will make a huge amount of sense. Something quite useful that can come from lusting is that it shows you if you really want something or not. If you're still daydreaming about an item for weeks then maybe think about purchasing it but if those thoughts only last a day or then it's safe to say then you don't really want it. When it comes to the whole buying less thing it's really easy to try and be all or nothing but I don't think it needs to be this way.
One of the biggest reasons I started to really look at my relationship with shopping is that I wanted to save a little more. I knew I had some serious expenses on the horizon like driving, moving out and getting a dog. So things that I put a stop to were going to a coffee shop to work, eating out when I didn't have to, new clothes that I really didn't need and so on. And to be honest I never really missed them and they are still things I try and avoid today if possible, not because I don't enjoy or like them but simply because they're not necessary. It's so tempting when it's been a long week to say screw it lets get dinner out but when you've got a fridge full of food it's so wasteful and unnecessary.
SHOPPING SECOND HAND
Buying second hand and scouring through charity shops isn't always something I like to do especially when I know that I've got something specific in mind. But having a little poddle around them has been something I've enjoyed as of late as you can always find some sort of gem that you probably won't find again. We recently went to a carboot sale and I absolutely loved it, we got so much for our money and it felt so good to take it off someone's hands so that it didn't end up in the bin. There are so many perks to shopping second hand and it's certainly something I need to make sure I do more and make the time for.
KEEPING A LIST
I actually wrote an entire blog post about all the things that I wanted to buy, read it here if you're interested. But in general, I keep a little note in my phone of all the things that I've been thinking about for ages and that really keeps on me on track. When I'm out and see something that I love the look of but hadn't given any thought about before but the lust kicks in an I end up purchasing it I usually regret it so I try and avoid that as much as I can. On this list are generally big ticket items to me, at least a £100 or so I need to save up for them and have them as a goal. Some might think it's really silly to keep a list of things to buy but I find it incredibly helpful.
MATERIAL ITEMS DO NOT EQUATE HAPPINESS
This is something that I took away from my emotional shopper days but going out and buying loads of new things might give you a quick fix but in the long run, it won't make you happy. Happiness cannot come solely from material objects, of course, having nice things is of course, amazing but it should never be the only good thing that we have in our lives.
IT'S NOT ALL OR NOTHING
There is a big movement online at the moment calling for people to buy less and be more sustainable with their purchases as well as a whole host of other things. And I think so often it can come across as something that you have to do and it be an all or nothing type of affair and it doesn't. If we all made little changes here and there it really would make a huge difference to the world. There is no right or wrong way to do it but some encouragement would work so much better than using shock and scare tactics.