Avoiding Old Shopping Habits
Never go back to shopping mindlessly again.

We Tend to Make Bad Choices When it Comes to Shopping

It’s in our nature to prioritize short-term highs over long-term benefits. We eat fast food, smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol and hit snooze instead of going for that morning jog. We know what the right thing to do is, but it’s tempting to choose the opposite.

The same applies to mindless shopping. It feels good in the heat of the moment to head to the mall and buy a new pair of jeans for yourself, or to order a cool new jacket you just saw on Instagram.

Don’t be too hard on yourself if that type of behavior sounds familiar. Most of us do it to an extent. It’s not easy to constantly prioritize wiser and more calculated decisions.

We can be better, however. Some small behavioral tweaks can lead to remarkable results — helping us avoid impulsive decisions and enjoy life to the fullest.

Editor’s Note

This article is inspired by James Clear’s Atomic Habits, a NY Times Best Seller, and truly a life-changing book.

How to Stop Mindless Shopping Without Draining All Your Willpower

Counting on our willpower is not a sustainable long-term plan. At some point we’ll likely cave, and even if we don’t: a life of constant resistance and deprivation is no fun.

Instead, what we’ll do is make small changes to our environment so that we don’t get into situations where willpower is needed.

Make Temptation Invisible

One surefire way to fail is to allow temptation into our everyday life. It’s difficult to avoid completely, but it’s easy to reduce the amount of clever marketing we get exposed to.

Unsubscribe from all marketing emails. Unfollow clothing brands on Instagram. Unfollow bloggers who try to sell you clothes. Heck, you can unfollow us if you feel like seeing beautiful wardrobes makes you irrationally want to buy new clothes.

Whatever it takes to not get that artificial desire wakened in you. Maybe it means not eating or having coffee at the mall to avoid the fashion sales that are going on. You know yourself best. You know the extent to which you need to adapt. Make it as easy for yourself as possible.

Add Friction to Your Purchases

Stores who want you to buy something do everything they can to reduce the friction of the purchase. That’s why they keep stock on hand. That’s why some offer the chance to pay in instalments. Anything to make it as easy as possible for you to buy and get that rewarding high instantly.

What you want to do is to add friction to your purchases. That way the threshold to buy something gets a little higher, and it safeguards you from impulse buys.

Create a few easy rules for yourself. For example; create a wishlist for yourself and add the new clothes you want. The simple and effective rule is that you’re not allowed to buy anything before it has been on the list for at least 30 days.

Or you can commit to doing an extensive search for secondhand options before buying anything new.

These types of smaller changes are easier to stick to than just trying to resist impulse shopping altogether. They’re more specific and attack the root of the issue.

Again, it’s up to you to figure out the level of friction you add in order to make buying clothes a little more calculated and less impulsive.

When you truly need something, these rules won’t hinder you. These are just meant to suppress the initial desire which leads to impulse buys. They won’t limit you from long-term, calculated buys.

Make the Idea of Spending Unattractive and Unsatisfying

Try to diminish the rewarding short term feeling you get from buying something. This is the driving force behind all bad habits.

“Behaviors that are immediately rewarded get repeated. Behaviors that are immediately punished get avoided.” – James Clear, Author of Atomic Habits

A good way to make impulse buys seem less rewarding is to be involved in a community where said behavior is discouraged. If the behavior you’re seeking to change is not normalized in your social circle, you’re less likely to fall into bad habits.

Contemplate clearly why you’re trying to avoid impulse shopping. Think about your (former) wardrobe which is filled to the brim with no-good outfit options. Remember the clothes you bought on sale but realized you didn’t enjoy when the initial high wore off.

Revisit your reasons frequently. Keep them fresh in your mind.

Replace Shopping With Other Activities

If you’re used to going to the mall to celebrate, to cheer you up, or to fight boredom, there are better ways to do all those things.

Try replacing shopping with something else. Something positive. Pick up a new hobby. Expand your culinary interests. Get into novelty coffee tasting with a friend.

The next time you get bored, stressed, or feel the urge to impulse spend, you’ll have a good substitute action ready.

If online shopping is your vice, block sites you frequently visit. Spend the time reading something that interests you on Medium, for example.

Breaking Old Habits is a Learning Curve

Failure is an important part of life. We all fail regularly, and that’s something to be expected. Our failures don’t define us. What does is our ability to get back up and try again.

Don’t give up completely on your minimalist wardrobe if you buy something on a whim that ends up being a mistake. Don’t tell yourself that maybe you’re not cut out to do it — because you are.

Keep going over the reasons you wanted to do this in the first place. Re-read our article about all the benefits you’ll receive. Stick to it and with time it will become second nature.

Final Step
Join over 200k people to see and learn about minimalist wardrobes from all over the world.