After some reflection at the end of last year, I decided to cut down my shopping spend in 2019. I realized that I was not only spending more than I should, but also that I still had an unhealthy relationship to shopping and consumerism even though I’d made efforts to buy more sustainably.
Although I wasn’t buying fast fashion, the motivations for buying clothes were the same: FOMO, wanting to follow the latest trends (ugh, sustainable fashion still has trends), and thinking that owning the latest cute thing would somehow fill the existential void inside me.
Buying less for me isn’t just about sustainability (although of course that’s a huge reason); it’s also about saving money and reducing the clutter in my home and trying to minimize my addition to the endless cycle of consumerism that distracts me from the more important things in life.
(*coughs* capitalism is the problem)
Yeah. So. Here are my tips for buying less!
Disclosure: This post is not sponsored!
1. Rediscover clothes in your own closet by styling them in different ways.
I don’t know about you, but I tend to wear the same combinations of clothes and accessories to death. By getting creative and wearing the same clothes in different ways, you basically double the number of outfits in your closet!
In this shoot, I wore a dress tucked into a pair of pants to transform it into a top. I also love using accessories such as jewelry, scarves, hats, and bags to give outfits a different vibe.
For styling inspo, check out this vid from my fave YouTuber bestdressed!
2. Unsubscribe from brand emails and unfollow brands on social media.
Everything you see from a brand is meant to stoke the flames of desire and create a sense of urgency to purchase. So the less you see, the less you’ll think about the stuff you could be buying and hopefully more about what you’re doing in the moment, the people you’re spending time with, etc.
3. Go on Instagram less, in general!
The less time I spend on Instagram, the less desire I feel to buy stuff. Instagram is a fantastic place for brands to advertise because it quickly creates a feeling of FOMO, where you feel like you’re missing out if you see all your favorite influencers wearing something that you don’t have. I don’t need that in my life!
4. Wait at least 24-48 hours to see if you really want to buy something.
Having a little “cooling off” period between seeing something you want and buying it can help put things in perspective. If you’re still totally in love and can justify the cost, yay! But often, you’ll realize that you’d rather spend that money on tacos. I’m getting better and better at talking myself out of unnecessary purchases, too, so I think self-control is like a muscle you can exercise until it gets stronger.
5. Avoid shopping when stressed or sad.
A lot of people use shopping as a means of emotional escape when they feel down. I’m guilty of this as well! It’s like stress-eating—it gives you a little dopamine rush and you feel better, but you’re not addressing the root cause of your distress. I find that for me, the little buzz of happiness I get from buying something doesn’t last.
Instead, try to buy stuff only when you need to or genuinely love the thing you’re buying…not because you’re trying to escape a bad feeling.
6. Find a purpose for all that money you’re saving!
One of my favorite things to do is to travel, so I like to think about how I can use the money I’m saving to go on future trips. I also really love eating, so sometimes I think about whether I’d really love this pair of shoes or if I’d rather use the money to eat out at restaurants with friends.
I also want to acknowledge that I often receive products from brands for collaborations, so that helps feed the raging desire for novelty without me having to technically buy something. However, even so, I’ve become a lot pickier about the brands I work with to avoid accumulating stuff I don’t truly love and use.
Let me know if you have any tips for buying less! It’s something I’m continually working on.