Bekka Palmer

Ending my relationship with impulse purchases

Writing, ConservationBekka Palmer

I've spent the past year or so trying to reduce the amount of stuff coming into my life especially things that I don't really want or things that turn to waste quickly. I both wanted to save money, but also I am really sick of having to clean out my closet and house and just want less stuff period.

I am pretty careful about making big purchases and generally make them with a lot of thought and care, but my weakness lies in impulse purchases. It's fun, it feels good in the moment, I get that quick high of getting something new, and usually it's fairly low in price so it doesn't feel extravagant. But then, when I started adding up the cost of my impulse purchases I realized I could save hundreds of dollars a month if I learned to curb that impulse. Additionally, when I clean out my closet or kitchen or wherever, most of the stuff I want to get rid of started as an impulse buy.

Here's some prompts and questions I have learned to use when I am about to hit that checkout button.

1. Pause, take a deep breath. Sometimes this is the only thing I have to do to look at said item and think, okay I don't really need that, or I will just throw this away in six months.

2. Can I let it go? Meaning, if I walk away right now, how much longer will I continue wishing I had this item? Usually it goes away in about an hour.

3. Do you want this item long-term? If I am still thinking about a piece of clothing or decor the next day or two days later, then I think, is this something that will last me a year? Ten years? What's the lifespan of this item and can I responsibly dispose of it when it's time is up.

4. Will buying this thing cause me financial anxiety? Listen to your gut reaction when you answer this one. It's usually so obvious, but sometimes I make up a huge list of excuses to buy something, but generally, if it's going to stress me out to spend X money, then I need to walk away.

5. How long will this item be on the market? This question is great because usually it can buy you time before you click purchase. Like the perfect vintage shelves on ebay aren't going to last long, but certain slow fashion clothing brands are going to continue making those pants for another 10 years so just wait until you are ready to buy it. If something is fleeting, meaning that you have limited time to buy it, I always think that another thing will come into my mind to replace this desire so I can let it go.

6. Is there something else you want more than this? Pretty much always a yes for me, I have some clothes and jewelry that I am always saving up for, so when I look at something new or that I just learned about I can always say to myself, "Well, you want those Jesse Kamm overalls more than this t-shirt, so just let it go."