Quick tips to stop you from buying crap

Quick tips to stop you from buying crap


Useless expenditures? Things you keep on buying and keep on piling up even if there is no need for them? Urge for buying something “you all-of-the-sudden cannot live without”? Feeling guilty afterwards, thinking there was a better way to make use of that money? If all of this rings a bell, then you’re reading the right article! :)

The market research

To make sure the ‘buying crap’ issue is a somewhat general issue and even more so among women, Presi and I have asked some of our friends a few questions, such as:

  1. Let’s say you want to save some money and then you see a pair of shoes (or a make up kit, a pair of headphones, a video game, etc.) you liked. Even if you know it’s more responsible to save the money and you don’t really need them, do you go ahead and buy them? (Looking back, I admit that maybe the choice of example – a pair of shoes – may have been a hard one to resist though and might not qualify as ‘crap’ ;))
  2. If your answer is ‘Yes’ to the 1st question, do you also feel guilty afterwards?
  3. If your answer is ‘Yes’ to the 1st question, would you do the same next month?
  4. How much of what you own do you feel it’s accumulated crap and how much do you actually use?

The results

The results may not surprise you one bit. 9 out of 10 answers were unanimously ‘Yes’ to questions 1 and 3 and only the answers from question 2 varied. Considering we’ve only asked our friends, I also thought the results may have been just reinforcing the saying “Birds of a feather flock together”, however my guts feeling tells me most people would answer similarly. The ones that answered ‘No’ to the guilty feeling also added reasons such as: “there’s no point to have any guilty feelings anymore once the credit card is swiped – what has been done, cannot be undone”, “I don’t feel guilty, I’ve worked for that money, so if I spontaneously feel like buying something, that means I’m going to enjoy it” Good for them! Both Presi and I, however, answered ‘Yes’ to the guilty feeling part :))

The 4th question of how much from what you currently own you actually use and how much you feel it’s accumulated crap, resulted in a mean of 40% accumulated crap across the sample of 10 friends. Therefore, the solution below comes to help out those of you who have similar estimations in order to prevent you for spending your money on spontaneous buys that may result in useless things.

The solution

Presi and I put together some tips to stop the spontaneous buying of things that you don’t need and that can easily lead to accumulated crap:

  • Think of your savings account… together with a friend. Even if people in general would agree with transferring a part of the monthly income to their savings account, many of us might not do it. Months would go by without any transaction. A good solution for this is to make an agreement with a friend that every month on a certain date you’ll both make a transfer to your own savings account. Then, you don’t have only your consciousness, but also an extra impulse because your friend is reminding you and doing it for himself. Additionally, a scheduled alarm on the date of the transfer can also be helpful.
  • Educate your shopping habit based on your income. You can make an agreement with yourself concerning a monthly amount that you will spend on things besides fixed costs (mortgages, rents, a fixed amount of money to allocate to groceries, gym memberships, etc.) and your monthly transfer to you savings account (above-mentioned). And you aim not to get passed that one. Also, you can set a maximum amount of money that you are willing to spend per item and in the case you suddenly want one item that is over that amount, then maybe you will think twice. Also, read the tips below as they may help you make the right decision in such situations ;)
  • Timeless vs. spur of the moment purchase. Some things we buy for the sake of buying. Most of the times these are the things that will end up in accumulated crap. We obviously don’t need it. Some impulsive purchases may give us immediate satisfaction or some may just make us feel we did something ‘wrong’ immediately afterwards. One way to help you take the right decision before splurging on something that you may soon regret is to take a step back and think thoroughly whether the purchase you’re about to make is something ‘timeless’ or a ‘spur of the moment’.
  • Sleep on it. If you want to buy something that may even be over the amount that you would normally be willing to pay, the best decision would be to sleep on it. Especially in what concerns online shopping. You will most probably find your item online during the following days too and it’s only a couple of clicks away in case you decide to buy it.
  • Go through this article again :)

To conclude, I trust this article will be helpful and, as usual, I am asking you to feel free to share your own suggestions about stopping buying crap and how you deal with it… And it would be great to share your answers to the 4 questions above. Thanks!

Transferring to savings account,

Manu

4 Comments

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  1. Chris

    Very cool article Manu! Even though I can (still) not understand how, even with a mountain of shoes, you can still be missing “just the right ones”… because I am a guy… I still love the example. So this topic of saving vs. spending is super interesting. I have two pieces to share out of my own experience: I searched for habits I can adopt. So 1) We only go window shopping max. once a month. And it has become a habit. This reduces our exposure and hence we don’t see too many things we could buy even if we didn’t need them. As a result we buy less. 2) We make saving a physical experience of success. This is really cool. So we have “envelopes” (in a safe at our local bank) where we go and take out cash every month and place it into the envelopes and count all the money with our hands once a month. Even though it sounds silly, the feeling of all those notes in your hands makes you happy, and therewith you actually look forward to the monthly event of saving. Cheers from sunny Bavaria!

  2. Ana

    Hi ladies, what I normally do is I call my bf and tell him “I’m about to buy a …. that I don’t need, tell me not to” to which he relies “you don’t need a … as you already have another 5 of them” to which I say thank you, hang up and leave the store proud that I am going empty handed :)

  3. About Beautiful

    Thank a lot! Well, it’s always tricky with shoes, especially when women are concerned :) My notes to your comments, as follows: 1) Great idea! And it definitely makes sense that the less window shopping you’re exposed to, the less you end up buying! I will definitely apply that! ;)) 2) Also great idea! ;) You’re really on top of things! ;) I agree that the actual counting of money may give extra incentive to save… I, however, made an agreement with Presi starting November 2014 that each month we transfer some money to our savings accounts. Basically, we’re applying the 1st quick tip in the article “think of your savings account… together with a friend.” For the time being it’s worked! That’s why I put it 1st tip on the list! But I wouldn’t mind just having it in my hands once and counting it ;)))) Thanks again, Chris, for your comments and insightful feedback! Greetings from Amsterdam!

  4. About Beautiful

    Hi Ana, this is super funny!!! :)))))))) I should have added that too as a tip: Count on your boyfriend to save you! ;)) I will definitely apply this too to pace useless shopping urges… Very good tip! Greetings to you and your supportive boyfriend and thank you for your comment!

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