We’ve all been there. You walk into your favourite boutique intending to buy one item and walk out with some extras and an emptier wallet. Our brains are powerful, and while marketing uses our emotions to encourage impulse shopping, there are ways to trick your brain to stop shopping, once and for all. If you’re more into listening and visuals, I have a video with even more ways to stop shopping here.
I think it’s first important to understand our emotional triggers, and that more often than not, shopping is an emotional activity. As much as possible, these 4 ways to trick your brain to stop shopping take the emotion out of shopping – so that you’re left with intention and a closet full of clothes you actually love and wear.
5 Ways to Shop Less
1 – Figure Out Your Emotional Triggers: Next time you find yourself hankering for something new that you know you don’t need, take a mental note of your mood, and what emotions sent you into that store in the first place. Loneliness? Job stress? Insecurity? Simply being aware of what your emotional triggers are is the first step to stopping impulse shopping in its tracks. Make a list of all the things that make you happy that don’t include shopping and focus your attention there the next time you find yourself eyeing something because it’s on sale. Examples can be as simple as; grabbing a coffee with a frien, your next vacation, or joining a gym. Focusing your time, money, and energy into a more fulfilling activity takes practice but will point you in a direction closer to your goals.
2 – Shop With a List: Did you know that impulse purchases are reduced by 13% when shopping is planned? Knowing where the gaps in your closet are is key to curating a well-edited closet. Shopping with a list and sticking to it gives our brain something to fall back on when we’re wrestling with indecision. This takes practice and patience, but the more you learn to rely on your shopping list, the more of a savvy and laser-focused shopper you will become.
3 – Ask yourself these questions before making a purchase: I often read that you should ask yourself if you really need something before making a purchase, but I don’t think this goes deep enough – I mean, I’ve justified many a purchase and consumption of an entire jar of Nutella this way. So instead, ask yourself these questions to pause and force yourself to reflect:
1 – Does it fit my body and am I willing to take it to a tailor/seamstress if not?
2 – Do I absolutely LOVE it? Don’t settle.
3 – Does it suit my lifestyle? Or a core activity that I do every day, or is this a fantasy piece?
4 – Does it suit my personal style? Or is it a fleeting trend?
5 – Can I create at least 3 outfits with it using what I already have in my closet?
6 – Was it produced in a way that is in line with my values?
This is a long list of questions, so pick which ones resonate with you best if you find them all overwhelming. The goal is to give yourself time to pause, reflect, and be pragmatic about your decision.
4 – Use cash: Sometimes more distance between us and a purchase makes it easier to spent and buy things we don’t need. Try buying new clothes only with cash. Knowing that you could have spent the money elsewhere will cause a little bit of resistance – maybe enough to allow you to pause and reflect.
I hope you found these tips helpful in becoming a more conscious consumer and slow shopper.
Thanks as always for reading!