When the seasons change, my grabby, consumerist self emerges (reluctantly). Something about that fall air just makes me want to buy. Blankets. Socks. Boots. Scarves. Mugs. Anything knitted, woolly, wooden or ceramic? I want it.
Here’s a handful of ways I keep my self control in check and prevent unnecessary spending. I hope they work for you, as well!
Give yourself a week or two. If you find an unnecessary item and feel tempted to buy it on the spot, simply put it down and tell yourself to come back in two weeks. Ninety-nine percent of the time you will forget or come to your senses and realize it wasn’t worth it.
Focus on people and experiences, not things. Find aesthetic pleasure in a beautiful sunrise or starry sky, laughing with friends over beer or making a stranger smile. When making plans, avoid thing-y situations, like shopping, watching TV, reading fashion magazines, etc.
Get a library card & learn something new. Seriously, if you don’t have one, get one. Soon. Today. Now, if you can. I love perusing every aisle and picking up a how-to book on whatever may appeal to me at the time. Learn French. Start an organic indoor garden. Teach yourself how to code. Explore local historic sites. These activities will be much more rewarding than a new pair of shoes or sunglasses.
Create a budget. Set guidelines for yourself and your spending habits. Be aware of what you’re buying and how much you’re spending. If you allot a certain amount each month for leisurely spending, it becomes less of an obsession and more of a controlled treat.
Keep up with world happenings. When I hear about droughts, civil wars, terrorist attacks, and other tragedies people regularly face, it puts everything else into perspective. Suddenly that absurdly overpriced mid-century modern magazine rack isn’t so tempting. (PS – When you create your budget, I’d also recommend allotting less money for things and more money for causes.)
These are my few fleeting attempts to overcome the vicious cycle of consumerism. You won’t always win, and I believe you can find a healthy balance between being responsible and minimalistic while also enjoying material items in a healthy way. What do you think? Do you feel a similar need to buy this time of year? How do you control it?