Shopping Without Spending

Shopping Without Spending

If you're trying to prevent impulse purchases, save money, or cut down on shopping altogether, the urge to shop (especially for fun) can be a difficult habit to unlearn. I can relate. It was my biggest hurdle when quitting fast fashion. I was a compulsive shopper; I bought new things every week and treated shopping as a hobby. I wasted so much time and money, and none of it made me any happier.

Shopping is really about chasing that burst of excitement we feel when we experience something new. The more we acquire new things, the more joy we feel. That feeling wears off pretty quick and we end up in a vicious cycle leading to the world being full of stuff no one wants.

Getting to know someone new, travelling to a new place, participating in a new activity, or joining in with a social event can have the same effect. I feel a greater thrill when I return from the library with a huge stack of books as opposed to when I've visited a bookstore and bought them all myself. There are so many better ways to get that rush of pleasure from shopping without actually spending money.

Shop Your Wardrobe

A lot of the time, when we feel the urge to shop, we want to shop for new clothes. We wear fast fashion clothing less than 5 times and keep then for only 35 days. We really need to stop buying so much, we never wear it all anyway. A trick I've found that works exceptionally well at quashing my compulsion to buy new clothes is to shop my own wardrobe. I try on new outfit combinations, replicate styles I've spotted online, and rediscover pieces I haven't worn enough. Simply restyling what we already own can be enough to scratch the itch and prevent hasty new purchases being made.

Borrow Library Books

Get yourself to your local library and refresh your reading list. Borrowing instead of buying books is a fantastic way to reduce your environmental impact, cut down on consumption, and support the sharing economy. Almost all the books I read come from my local library. You can't keep me away from it. I reserve books online, use the free eBook rental service, and browse while I'm there. If you haven't visited your local branch in a while, it's time to get yourself a fresh library card.

Join A Free Marketplace

There are plenty of places to shop online and pick things you need up for free. Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and Freecycle all offer a platform where people can share their unwanted possessions and you can take them off their hands. I haven't yet delved into the world of second-hand marketplaces but I've heard there's some real gems to be found. It's a great way to recycle unwanted possessions and keep them out of landfill.

Swap Plant Cuttings

You might be a complete beginner or a long time enthusiast, either way swapping plant cuttings is a great way to get involved with the houseplant community. I have an Instagram account devoted to my collection and that's where I connect with other collectors to swap with. Most of my houseplants came from generous plant collectors. If you're not quite ready to exchange personal information with strangers, you could stick to swapping with friends and family or simply propagating your plants just so you can have more.

Shopping Without Spending

Make It

If you want something, make it. I have a low waste plant-based eBook for cooking homemade kitchen staples. Brew your own kombucha, bake bread, sew make-up rounds, make loose leaf tea or freshly ground coffee, mend clothes, or finish that craft project you started last year and lost interest in. I'm a terrible DIY-er; I'll put things off and be tempted to replace aging furniture with new. But whenever I finally get around to finishing a project I feel so good about it. Making instead of buying something can be incredibly rewarding so consider first if you can make it yourself with what you already have before spending any money.

Use Something Else

When I realised I needed something to store dirty tea towels and cleaning rags, instead of buying a basket I repurposed one that was housing one of my houseplants. I immediately solved a problem I had without spending a penny. There's not always quite such an easy solution but it's worth a look. Move furniture around and rummage in your cupboards, see if what you already have might do the trick. Glass jars make great vases, old shirts made useful cotton rounds, and unused bowls can be repurposed as cachepots. Make use of the stuff you thought was no longer useful and repurpose it.

Wishlist Items

Sometimes the urge to shop for something new is overwhelming. If you can rely on yourself not to cave under the pressure and make a purchase, go "window shopping" online. Instead of checking out, add it all to a wishlist. Keeping a list of things you need is a good way to prevent impulse purchases and can itch the scratch of wanting to shop. I've found it's a useful way to pass on gift ideas to anyone who likes to gift you things during the holidays. You'll most likely find the desire to own these things vanishes rather quickly.

Sign Up For Free Classes

Learn a new skill or take an exercise class online, for free. The Open University have free courses, as does Skillshare and BBC Learning. Duolingo can help you learn a new language and Yoga With Adriene offers yoga classes - all for nothing. You could even join in with an Instagram challenge or start your own. I'm more of a podcast-listener than a class taker but whatever you prefer, there is so much free education and entertainment online, we should be taking advantage of it.

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