How to stop buying things and spend less money this holiday season

This holiday season may be a scary time for some: between inflation (Prices rose 8.2 percent in a year) and economic uncertainty indicating a possible recessionIn addition to the ongoing recovery from the epidemic, this may not be the ideal moment to consider purchasing a set of litter.

a Survey 2019 by Ladder and OnePoll It revealed that Americans spend an average of $18,000 a year on non-essential items, including streaming services and lattes, Amazon impulse finds, and non-essential clothing. Not only is this enough to buy a semester of in-state tuition for your soon-to-be-college child, but it translates to a lot of mess to have to deal with as items become unnecessary over time. Household goods and services are responsible for 60 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. one study Offers. More than ever we seem to be aware of this fact — since the pandemic, consumers want it Reduce unnecessary shopping behaviors.

But buying a few things you don’t really need isn’t easy, and it can be a process, as a lot of emotions are often tangled behind the shopping. For some, it’s a fun outlet with friends. For others, it provides the safety and security of knowing you have everything you could ever want or need. And for others, the simple rush of dopamine in a life can sometimes feel mundane. However, it’s not all self-serving — people ramp up their purchases to buy items for their loved ones around the holidays, though. Stanford He says the whole process results in 25 percent more waste.

So on your journey to buying a little nonsense, exercise some patience and grace. Expect a little bit of a struggle and progression over perfection. Here’s how experts recommend getting started.

Take advantage of a goal don’t buy what you care about

Like most things in life, without a set goal, your heart likely won’t be on a mission to buy less. Financial coach Annette Harris, which helps people achieve their spending and saving goals, first asks its customers not what they can cut down on, but what they save for. “Set that goal you have for yourself instead of just saying I need to stop spending,” she says. Some of her clients’ goals included saving a down payment on a house, buying furniture for a new home, saving for college for their kids, being willing to put cash for travel rather than putting it on a credit card, eliminating debt, and making a profit in their business.

Barriers remain. One of the most important things you see clients experience is wanting to make their children happy, or having spouses who aren’t on the same page with their savings goals. In these cases, she suggests a gradual reduction in spending rather than a freeze, as well as honest conversations with your family about the intent behind your goal.

Pick the items you need for the long haul (Marie Kondo says so!)

Marie Kondo — author, star of the Netflix TV show, and celebrity organizing expert — told Vox via email, “Whenever I make a purchase, I always think about the intent the item will have in my life.” Thinking before you hit the checkout button on your e-shopping cart is just one of several tips the experts have when it comes to buying less foolishly.

Take inventory of how many of your recent purchases are meant to be disposable—a cocktail dress you’ll never wear again after a friend’s bachelorette party, a holiday decoration that definitely won’t last until next season. Kondo explains that these items are often part of the trash that is eventually donated. “The types of purchases that often turn cluttered are items that don’t usually serve a strong purpose in the first place. Over time, they become less useful as they fall by the wayside,” she says. “When you buy something for an occasion or a specific one-time use, it can quickly turn into a mess. I love investing in essential items that are meant to last a long time, whether that’s something in my wardrobe or home décor.” She gives the example of a wardrobe that can get cluttered with trending clothes that quickly go out of style, rather than timeless pieces that will stand the test of time. She opts for neutrals, solids, and basics instead.

Change the language of buying when it comes to “want” versus “need”

Words are powerful enough that they can subconsciously influence your buying habits. Tracy McCubbinDismantling expert, CEO declutterfly And the Tik Toker who recently published a book called Make Room for Happiness: How to Stop Attracting Clutter and Start Attracting the Life You WantHe says we have to stop using the word “need” incorrectly. As in, “I need a new pair of jeans.” I need a new jacket. I can guarantee that most of us have all the jeans and jackets we need.” Instead, we should channel preschool vocabulary lessons that taught us to distinguish between wants and needs: “I want a new pair of jeans. I want a new jacket. Once you change your language, the element ceases to have as much power over you. It ceases to be a necessity and begins to desire. Passion usually lasts only 20 minutes. “So once the feeling has passed, it’s easier to not buy the unnecessary item.”

Build waiting time to reduce impulse purchases

If impulse buying is behind the many items cluttering your home, it’s time to set a purpose-built waiting period, says McCubbin. It recommends a possible waiting period for some of the potentially larger purchases, with the aim of reducing impulse buying. “This provides you time to research to see if the item is worth the cost and if you can afford it. This is the start towards creating a healthy acquisition cycle.”

Some of the most important impulse purchases you may immediately be able to trim back, she says, including kitchen appliances for which something like a simple knife could be used, electronics and appliances that seem like time savers but aren’t, and clothes you don’t wear. They pair well with skincare, anti-aging, and more: “We think they’ll solve all of our problems, so we binge-buy these products in search of a magic bullet.”

Impulse buying can also apply to buying for others, even with good intentions. Instead of ripping into that silly mug or pair of silly socks for a relative or friend when an ad pops up on social media, consider giving with the intention of removing extra purchases you didn’t really think of. Making a list before gift-giving season, and even talking to the recipient about what they love most this year, can help you donate within your budget and in a more meaningful way.

Find out what items you already have

Can you remember now, without looking, how many black T-shirts are in your closet? If not, it’s time to take inventory of what you already have to prevent unnecessary spending, according to Harris. She asks customers to flip all their relationships backwards and see what they haven’t worn in a year, so they can trace the source of unnecessary spending on items they don’t like or even want. This will also reveal that, in some cases, you “don’t know what you currently have in your home.” She also recommends color-coordinated wardrobes to see what you have on hand, to prevent buying another yellow shirt when you already have a few.

Ashley PiperSustainability expert and author Give Sh*t: do good. Live a better life. Save the planet. Which creates almost zero trash, recommends Need Notes, which involves listing things you’ll need for a certain period of time. Then you brainstorm alternative ways to get that item without spending money. Can you get it used? Can you borrow it from a friend? Do you have something that already serves this purpose? Can you get it for free in your freebies? Do you have a gift card, or store credit, that you can use to buy it new in a store? “Anti-planning,” she says, is the first step.

Take a break to assess your shopping habits

In 2013, Piper embarked on her first “no spending” year, when she ended up saving $16,000. She still bought groceries, repairs, and necessities, and still got the items she wanted, but instead of buying them, she turned to whatever or second-hand stores and social media groups, and she recycled or reused something she already owned.

Since then, I have led others Social media challenges under the hashtag #nonewthings, with nearly 12,000 people signing up during the final month-long challenge in July. She told Vox, “Some people do that for a week and pull out a lot of interesting ideas.”

Along the way, I’ve noticed that digging deeper into the feelings behind your buying habits is key to change. She compares shopping to dieting—you stay in the cart until you’ve had a bad day, and then quit your plan. “The same thing happened to me with the urge to browse and shop, especially online.” She says that feelings of high and low, along with boredom and even procrastination were the root causes of overspending for her. They also point to the fact that spending freezes can be more difficult in large families, such as those with many children, where you’re also buying items for others.

In addition to reaching these goals, Piper says there’s a tangible indicator of success with big wins: “When clients feel less anxious…life as a whole changes, and you’re in a different physical and mental space.”

This reduction in your anxiety and improved strides towards the financial goals that matter to you will undoubtedly be a boon to those around you this holiday season, and will serve you well in the months to come despite the volatile economy.

Alexandra Frost A freelance journalist in Cincinnati, specializing in lifestyle, health, wellness, and parenting topics.

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