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It’s labor day weekend as I write this. I’m sitting here on the couch (still in my jammies) poking around the American Eagle website. They have a holiday sale and I’m of course going to take advantage of it, not because I need new clothes (I don’t) but because it’s a sale, so I want the opportunity to save money.
Save money… buying things… I don’t need… for less.
Let that sink in for a sec.
I want to buy stuff not because I need stuff, but because said stuff is cheaper than it typically is.
I think deeper about said stuff…
I’ve got a pair of super soft jeggings, two pairs of pink joggers and a white long sleeve T in my cart. Now, I have plenty of jeans in my closet, an endless count of leggings (and joggers) and I don’t wear long sleeve T’s like, ever, but I don’t want to give this stuff up. I want to buy it.
Because I look at the jeans on the model with the mile-wide thigh gap and think – if I buy those jeans, I’ll look like that too. I admire the model lounging about in the pink joggers, laughing and looking perfectly chill and cozy. I want to feel that way, too.
See what I’m doing here? I’m catching myself in the act of mindless, emotional shopping for stuff I don’t need. But even though I’m having this moment of epic realization and awareness – I still want those damn joggers and jeans.
I share this because I want to be completely honest that even though I write about making smarter spending decisions and leaning into minimalism, I still have my moments of wanting more jeans just because I do.
But here’s the thing – even though I have a very strong emotional weakness for online shopping, I have a very critical decision-making process once I receive the item around what stays and what goes. I’ve become really good at saying no to things that don’t 100% fit or suit me. That’s why I only buy clothes from retailers that offer free shipping on returns as well as purchases.
Perhaps you’re like me and you’re really good at returning items you know you won’t wear. But even that is a waste of precious time and energy. What if you could stop the trigger of shopping altogether?
How to Control Online Spending: 5 powerful behaviors that will help you rein in your shopping habits right now.
- Commit to leaving items in your cart for at least a 24 hour cool off period. Very often we are triggered to buy stuff at night, when we’re tired, emotional and feeling spent from the day we just had. It’s so easy to turn to Jcrew.com to soothe ourselves with a new cashmere sweater, but by morning, in the light of day, we might think differently. Sleep on your purchases going forward. That’s not too hard to do and it can go a long way to helping you be more intentional with purchases.
- Declutter. Whenever you’re feeling the need to acquire or be spendy (I find that this emotion comes in waves), then try spending a day, or an hour or even 10 minutes decluttering your closet. Pull out at least 5 items that you never wear (more if you have more time) and put them in a pile on the floor. Now think about how much you paid for that pile of clothes vs how often you actually wore it. When we see the end result of our careless or reactive purchases it’s such a powerful way to bring you back into the reality of overspending.
- Unsubscribe yourself from all the retail newsletters. I’ll say from experience, those 40% Off Everything emails are just too hard to resist. But if you don’t know about a sale, you’re less likely to shop without a need. IN 2014 I spent over $3000 at Jcrew because I was on their email list (and they’re very good at email marketing). I unsubscribed after the last December sale and I haven’t bought a thing from them since.
- Restrict your shopping to once per quarter or twice per year. Schedule your shopping events around major holidays where there are always great sales and allot a budget that you can enjoy without guilt or question. This behavior will help you break the urge to check your favorite stores on the regular and reduce the temptation to buy.
- For the love of God, stop following fashion influencers on Instagram. I know, I love them too, but they’re not helping anyone in the money department. That swipe up feature is lethal.
What do you think? Are these helpful? Are you practicing any of these behaviors already? I’d love to know!
PS – I ended up not buying the jeans and joggers from American Eagle. They’re still sitting in my cart, nagging me to hit the buy button. I did, however, grab a pair of pink joggers from Tarjet just last week (or should I say…. “weak”) :-/