How to Stop Buying Stuff You Don’t Need

Learn how to stop buying stuff you don’t need, how to avoid overspending, and get your shopping habits and finances under control with my 8 helpful tips!

How to Stop Buying Stuff You Don’t Need

Hey everyone! Hope you had a great weekend! Today I’m gonna be switching gears and talking about something that’s a little different from my typical posts, but something that has really weighed heavily on my heart for awhile now – How to Stop Buying Stuff You Don’t Need.

A couple weeks ago I shared this Instagram post with my thoughts on the overspending culture that we currently live in and how impulse shopping and overspending is an issue that many people silently struggle with.

It’s honestly hard to spend 5 minutes on any social media platform nowadays without being bombarded with ads to buy something, and especially with the ease of online shopping, it becomes a breeze to fall into the trap of buying things you don’t need.

After sharing my post, many of you requested I create an in-depth post on this topic with helpful tips, and I was happy to oblige since it’s something I’ve personally struggled with in the past and tackled head on in 2020.

So for today’s post I’m going to share the exact methods I used to personally stop buying so much unnecessary stuff, and my best tips to avoid over shopping, overspending, and impulse buying. This post will not only outline how to stop buying stuff you don’t need, but will also help you implement money-saving tactics that will help you reach your financial goals.

It’s Not “Things” That Make You Happy

Before diving into today’s post I want to preface it by saying that even though I’m a beauty, fashion, and lifestyle blogger, my goal on Kindly Unspoken is to never make you feel like you need to buy something and I never want to make you feel forced into buying something.

I love sharing my best finds and recommendations with you, and I love makeup, cute clothes, and home decor as much as the next gal, but at the end of the day you don’t need any of those things to be happy or to live a fulfilled life.

2020 has really taught me a lot about life and about myself and I’ve learned that things are not what makes me happy. It’s the people in my life and the simple moments spent with the ones I love that make me happy, and that is my primary focus.

I embarked on this journey to find myself in a better headspace with less stuff and less clutter, and it’s honestly been such a wonderful, eye opening experience.

If you are currently struggling with overbuying or impulse shopping I truly hope that today’s post helps you get to a better, happier place in your life, and I hope that it helps you reach your financial goals.

8 Ways To Stop Buying Stuff You Don’t Need

Track Your Shopping/Spending Habits

It’s easy to avoid a problem when you’re not looking it in the eye, which is why the first and most important step in this process is to track your shopping and spending habits.

I recommend looking at your bank statements and highlighting or writing down all the impulse purchases from the previous month or last 3 months.

Be honest with yourself during this step and separate out any purchases that aren’t considered necessities. This might include online shopping purchases, fast food purchases, leisure, treats, beauty treatments etc.

Calculate the total up and write that number down so you can see for yourself how much you spent on buying things you didn’t need.


Have an Inventory Day

Next, I recommend scheduling a day or weekend to doing inventory on all the “stuff” you currently own.

The reason this step is so important is because buying unnecessary stuff to put in your home is pretty simple when you don’t realize how much you already have, but if you already know that you own 25 scarves or 10 black shirts, it makes it a lot more difficult to mentally justify that purchase.

Depending on how much you own, this step will most likely lead to purging, selling, and donating items, which is also really helpful in increasing awareness of your shopping habits.

Over the past year I went total gangbusters in going through my closet, makeup collection, household items, and decor, and I was absolutely amazed at how much stuff I had accumulated over the years.

I purged, sold, and donated so much stuff, and what I quickly realized in the process is that most of the items that I was completely unattached to were impulse purchases I had bought during the holidays, or popular items I thought I “needed” to try after seeing them on social media. This leads me to the next step…


Take Note Of “Why” You Purchased Something

Purchases should be intentional and well thought out. Keeping that at the forefront of shopping is very important and is what will help you stay on track.

But all too often we put emotion into shopping, and that’s when things get tricky. We had a bad week, so we buy something. We had a good week, so we buy something. We’re bored, so we buy something. The cycle goes on and on.

It can also be easy to feel seasonal or holiday pressure to buy things, which is the trap I used to mostly fall into.

After looking at all your purchases and separating out the ones you aren’t happy with, take note of “why” you purchased it.

Was it because a salesperson or friend encouraged you to? Was it a random purchase from the Target Dollar zone? Was it something you kept seeing on Instagram 47 times and you felt like you “needed” it? Or was it because you were sad and you thought it would make you feel better?

Understanding the “why” with past purchases can help you avoid falling into the same trap in the future.


Set a Goal + Stick to It

The next step in the process is to set a goal for yourself. If you’re reading this post, it’s clear already that you want to stop buying stuff you don’t need, but what’s the real reason behind it?

Is it because you want to save up to buy a house? Is it because you want to get out of credit card debit? Maybe you want to save up for a tropical vacation?

Whatever it may be, set a goal, write it down, and keep it at the forefront of your mind. Being mindful of that goal throughout the process will really help motivate you to stick to your goal and can help encourage you to keep at it even when things get tough.


Plan Out Your Shopping Trips

When in doubt, make a list and make a plan. Lists are very helpful in learning to only buy what you need, but you do have to practice self-control in sticking to them. Anytime I shop in-store I always make a list.

It can also be helpful to set a budget for your shopping trip so that you will stick to buying only necessities. If you always overspend when you use your debit/credit card, then maybe opt for cash instead.

Planning it out will help you stick to it.


Avoid Temptation/Unsubscribe

This step goes hand in hand with understanding your “why”, but is one of the most important keys in learning how to stop buying stuff you don’t need.

If you already know that you can’t go into Target without coming out with a cart full of stuff you don’t need, then don’t go in there. Buy your purchases online or make a list for your husband to go for you.

Just like you wouldn’t fill your house with junk food when you’re on a diet, it’s silly to put yourself into a situation where you will more than likely overspend.

The same goes for daily or weekly sales e-mails, social media pages, shopping apps on your phone, and following certain influencers. This area was one of the biggest triggers for me in purchasing unnecessary items, so earlier this year I did a huge unsubscribe. I found it way too tempting and every time I would see that something I loved was on sale, I would want to buy it – even if I didn’t need it.

I also had to unfollow social media accounts and influencers who were overly salesy and constantly promoting products to buy. As much as I may have liked that person or account, I realized that these daily temptations weren’t going to help me reach my goals and I had to unsubscribe.


Let Go of “But it’s on Sale…” Mentality

As a bargain shopper, I used to be SO guilty of falling into the sale trap mentality, but letting go of this has really helped me make strides in buying less and living a happier life.

The truth is, there will always be a sale. But just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean you need it. Even if it’s 75% off doesn’t mean it needs to be in your home taking up space. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. Simple as that.


Save for Later + Wait 24 Hours

Remember how we talked about purchases should be intentional? Online shopping makes it very easy to add something to your cart and ship it to your home in a just a couple days time.

The convenience of this is great, but the problem is that this often leads to impulse purchases and buying items on a whim without much thought.

That’s why one of the rules I made for myself is saving an item for later and waiting 24 hours before I let myself buy it. This gives me time to evaluate whether or not I truly need/want it and helps me avoid making a quick, irrational decision.


5 Quick Tips to Implement to Stop Buying Stuff You Don’t Need

  • Remove shopping apps from your phone – this makes it WAAY too easy to add to cart.
  • Unsubscribe to sales e-mails
  • Unfollow social media pages that encourage overspending/overbuying
  • Always make a list or plan for your shopping trips
  • Use the 24-Hour Hold method to ensure your purchasing is intentional
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Hope you found today’s post on How to Stop Buying Stuff You Don’t Need helpful! Is this something you currently struggle with or have struggled with in the past? What are some tips that have personally helped you? Let me know in the comments below!

Thanks for stopping by! – Cara


  1. Pingback: 2020 Reflections + 2021 New Year Goals - Kindly Unspoken
  2. I always start the year out strong, then I fall back into a habit of buying stuff I don’t need, ultimately beating myself up. I need to take your tips seriously.

    xoxo Amanda |

    1. It’s definitely easy to buy stuff you don’t need and I think social media ads and e-mails make it worse (especially during the holidays). Stay strong – you can do it! 🙂

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