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Oh my goodness. Whether it is for your farm, animals, home, or yourself it can be VERY HARD to stop buying stuff.
It’s easy to think that there is satisfaction in acquiring that item and sometimes there is. But it also may not be as good as you think. And the “funness” is often fleeting.
Through 2021 and on I have been on this journey of living with less. The peace it has given me has been amazing.
It was reconfirmed for me when we went on our vacation where I took very little with me and the cabin had just enough kitchen essentials.
Less is more even in life.
So how can we learn to slow down our buying habits and be more satisfied with what we have?
Start With What You Do Have
Look at what you do have. Do you have a lot of things that you don’t love or do you simply have so much you cant see the things you do love?
This became evident to me in 2020 when I wanted clothes for my birthday. I had been simply getting what was at the stores we went to and to be honest didn’t like any of it.
Being tall and having a more reserved style likely neutral colors with the occasional pop of color aren’t really around all that much.
So I purged my closet of the things that didn’t fit (mainly the things that were too short) and the things I really didn’t feel good in.
Once I was able to SEE the things I did love right in front of my eyes I felt like I had way more than I did because the clothing I loved wasn’t getting lost in the mix.
Whether it is your closet, kitchen, or home decor stash, clear out what you don’t love and see how you feel looking at what is left.
Make A To Purchase List
Yep, you saw that right. This is HUGE! It’s not that you won’t ever buy anything again. But you will be giving yourself permission to buy things at the right time when you have a need for them or a reason for purchasing them. AND you have the CASH.
Having a list that gives you ONE THING to buy at a time will help you see what is most important and help you not get distracted by shiny objects that don’t help you reach your life or farm goals.
With a “to buy list” you are able to see how much that thing will cost knowing that if you spend money that you are saving to put towards the item at the top of your list it will take you longer to reach your other financial goals.
Having a tool like Notion or Asana that will sort lists by certain criteria will help you stay on track. They are also assessable on your phone so you can look at that list when you feel tempted.
Ask Yourself Why
Ask yourself, why do you feel the need to buy that item, tool, or even farm animal? Is it because it seems to promise success in your farm business?
Or maybe it’s just cute and you want it.
Well that’s all fine and dandy but cute isn’t a good enough reason.
If it’s a business tool does it seem to offer the promise of a successful business? There is no magic bullet and often what worked for one person won’t work for another especially when niches are different.
If it is a clothing item that you want to buy when was the last time you bought yourself something? Six months, a year?
We don’t need new clothes that often and honestly unless you need something like new underwear you don’t need to buy more than 5 items a year.
If the reason isn’t more than simply? If I want it or I like it then that’s not good enough. Stay focused on your end goals.
I mean it. This is a tough one, especially if you have a weakness for new things or are a people-pleaser. You need to be brutal and ruthless in order to resist the temptation of adding stuff into your life that you don’t need.
Before buying that beautiful dress that could end up just sitting in your closet, take time to decide whether you truly love it and will have the opportunity to wear it.
Also, sometimes you need to be brutally honest with others. Don’t take on obligations just because someone asks you to. Determine whether you really have the time, money, or desire to devote. Then make your decision.
You’ll need to assess your shopping cart (digital or in real life) regularly to make sure things aren’t seeking home when you are grocery shopping or ordering that thing on amazon you needed.
Assess your home and farm regularly so you are aware of what you do have. So you don’t see a deal you don’t really need then bring something home that isn’t necessary.
This may mean doing a nightly sweep of your home before heading to bed and picking up stray items.
It could be a seasonal inspection of your wardrobe in order to pare things down before changing them out for the season. The process is individual for us all, based upon personality, lifestyle, and tendency.
Figuring out what works for you might take trial and error. Stick to a routine once you’ve figured it out.
Sometimes we forget why we instituted a “rule” in the first place. It’s tempting to become complacent or think ” I made the rule so I can change it”.
If you find yourself thinking that just one extra item won’t matter, that is still $5 that could bring you closer to your goals.
Remind yourself how far you have come. Look at the total in your bank account. Do you really want to see that number go down for that item you think you want?
If you need someone else to help you simply talking to a friend about your goals can be a huge help in sticking to them. Have someone you can call to say hey I’m thinking of buying this what do you think?
Pay Attention To Your Triggers To Buy
My weakness is courses or something for my business. But for you, it may be clothing or wanting to buy a farm animal you don’t have the space for.
Or you have the habit of saying ” we already have 20 chickens, what’s 3 more”.
If you know what your triggers are then leave, unfollow, unsubscribe, or do whatever you have to to stay strong in that moment.
You can always rejoin that Facebook group, find that personas email list, and look for that product again later.
Hide It The Temptation
And let me tell you Instagram and Facebook know that. But you know what? There are three little magic dots at the corner of that ad.
If you tap that you will see magic “hide ad” button that will show up and you can get that ad out of your face.
Of course, Facebook will shift something else into your face. You’re not going to get rid of ads completely but you should be able to get rid of that thing that is tempting you in the moment.
This was a big help for me when money was tight and I was in college trying to get through without any dept.
The stores can’t convince you to buy if you don’t walk in the door.
Instagram can’t put that ad in front of your face if you don’t scroll.
Tractor supply can’t sell you those .50 chicks if you don’t go to the chick pen in the back of the store.
Is it easy? Nope. But the more you practice heading off those impulse buys the easier it does get.
Wait At Least A day
If you live close to the place that has the item. Just wait a day or two before you buy that thing. You can come back and get it if you are still dreaming of that item.
They can also help you find it from another store if they don’t have your size.
When it comes to an online store you can put it in your cart but leave it there for a day or three. Impulse buying is the sure-fire way to blow past your budget.
Use Amazon “Save For Later” Button
I LOVE this feature. You add the item to your cart on amazon then go to your cart and hit the save for later button.
This is a great way to not lose the item you plan to purchase later but often you can wait until someone puts that item on sale. Amazon will often tell you if that happens as well.
Don’t Buy Things With Other People’s Money
Credit cards are not your money. That is someone else’s money you are using to feed your shopping habits.
It is so much easier to make impulse purchases if you are not using the cash out of your own pocket.
Or “can I make the payments” while its not using a credit card that company is still giving you credit just in a different way.
Use the cash you have and keep those credit cards out of your wallet. This will be a huge help to curbing your spending habits when you have to be willing to trade your money for that thing you really want.
How Would You Feel If you Walked Away?
This may be hard for you to do but give it a try.
I am pretty good at using my mind and picturing things before they happen. So the next time you want to buy something think about how you would feel if you simply walked away.
If you walked out the door of the store without that thing how would you feel? Sad, just fine, or would you even notice you left the item in the store?
If you can picture yourself walking out of the store without the item and not feeling bad about it then keep on walking.
Don’t Buy DIY Supplies Until You Have A Need For It
Here is something that gets the DIYers and crafters.
Buying craft supplies when you don’t have a project in mind for that thing. The clearance sections are a big stumbling block for a lot of makers.
If you buy something that is on sale you may not end up having enough to make that project you come up with and then you won’t be able to find more of that material or supply down the road.
You may not get the best deal when you simply go to buy the material the week you want to make the project but it keeps you from spending money on stuff you don’t need or won’t end up using.
Don’t Buy Something Just Because Its On Sale
Where are my deal lovers? Is it hard for you to walk away from a good deal?
Do it anyway. NEVER buy unnecessary items simply because it is a good price. If you see something that is a good deal ask yourself “where would I use this, hang it, or what would this do for me”?
If you don’t have a good answer. Keep on walking.
Don’t Buy More Than One Year In Advance
To my gardeners and seed lovers.
Don’t buy more than one or two years of supplies in advance. Gardens are one of the more affordable aspects of homesteading. In turn, it’s easy to get 1000’s of seeds that you could never hope to use.
Seeds are easily spilled and only last a few years after they have been stored.
Plus look at it this way. You love to buy them right?
So why not control yourself this year but spread out the joy so you CAN buy a few seeds next year.
Give People An Alternative If They Ask You To Go Shopping
This was hard when I first got married because my mom wanted to “go shopping” and I don’t like (or see the point) shopping if I don’t have something in mind to buy.
Why go out and see something you would like to buy but you don’t have the money or you would be messing up your goals if you did.
If you have a family member who is trying to get together with you then try offering to watch a movie or have dinner at your house.
Playing board games is also another great alternative.
You Have To Want To Change
I can tell you all the tricks to help change your spending habits but unless YOU are the one who wants to change down deep in your soul. You won’t stop buying stuff.
Making better spending choices takes work and willpower. You have to want it more than anything in the world.
Maybe that is being tired of being stressed over money. You will have to make daily spending decisions to stop your shopping addiction.
Maybe you have to hit rock bottom. But that can all be avoided if you are willing to do the work.
It’s not going to be easy to stop impulse shopping. You have to teach yourself that life will be better if you set goals and purchase things that will make a difference in your life AND in the right timing.
Be gracious with yourself when you mess up but get back on track ASAP.