Today I’ll be telling you about the process I go through, as a minimalist, before making any purchases.
Disclaimers: These steps are for buying anything other than food and living expenses. Although this process might work for me it may not be for you and that’s okay!
Can I still buy things as a Minimalist?
Absolutely! As a minimalist you can still make purchases! However, you want to be more mindful of what you bring into your life going forward. If you did a major (or minor) declutter you don’t want to buy things just to fill up the empty spaces left behind.
How do you Make Mindful Purchases as a Minimalist?
I’m glad you asked! These are the 5 steps I take before making any purchases.
#1 Make a List:
First, write it down. Write out what it is you want to purchase, include a short description i.e. ‘green pleated’ skirt, the cost, and if possible link the item to your list. You can use a spreadsheet, google docs, or even your phone to do this. (As long as you remember where it exists.) I have my ‘To Buy’ list on TeuxDeux because I use it daily.
The next thing I do is wait. I’ll let a whole day pass and go to bed to sleep on it. This is also to test to see if I’ll still want or even remember this in the morning? I’ll wait around a week or more and pay attention to my thoughts.
What I mean by paying attention to my thoughts is, taking note of when I think things like, “If I had [this thing] then this would be easier to do.” or “Man, it would be really convenient for me if I had [this thing]” If I think that enough times then chances are that I might need [this thing.]
#3 Research and Ask Myself Questions
If after waiting a while, I decide that I still really want the item, then I’ll do loads of research on it.
What’s it made out of? How to maintain it? What’s the cost? Is it travel friendly? What do most people use it for? What do the reviews say? Is it comfortable? Does it fit my style? What color should I choose? How long will it last? Is this what I really want?
If it’s clothes that I’m buying, I’ll go through my closet and picture what I can wear it with. It needs to go with a minimum of 5 different other clothes. For example if it’s a shirt that I want to purchase it needs to go with at LEAST 5 bottoms and visa versa if it’s pants.
When I decided to buy an eReader back in 2015, I determined that it would be useful since I could carry around 5 books with me, with none of the weight of 5 books. The two eReaders I was looking at were a Kindle and a Nook. After doing loads of research and asking myself questions, I decided on the Kindle. The Kindle came with a feature that allows you to link up with a goodreads account which I already had. Six years later, I have no regrets and I still bring it with me everywhere.
#4 Sleep on it Again
Okay, so I’ve done my research and now I’m going to sleep on it again just to make sure I’m not getting caught in the flow I created when I was trying to fit this thing in my life.
I’ll wait a few more days, see if I still need this thing. If I decide yes, then I’ll move on to the last step.
#5 Set a Budget
I make a new budget each month, so depending on how much this thing costs I’ll need to allocate the money from somewhere to purchase this thing. Of course, one can say that I can take the money from my savings and put it back later, but there’s no guarantee that there will be a later. It just makes more sense to wait until I have the money rather than using my savings or a credit card. That way there’s no gap I’ll have to fill ‘later.’
There you have it.
These are the five steps I go through before making any purchases. I’ve included some extra tips below.
Extra Tips on Buying as a Minimalist
Whenever I add something to my ‘To Buy’ list, I try to take a moment to look at the other items on there and think about whether I still want them or not. If not, I take them off the list.
There’s also the golden rule of one in and one out. For every item you bring into your life, you *recycle one. I’ve recently taken up this rule concerning clothes. I wanted to bring some more t-shirts into my wardrobe. So I looked over the t-shirts I currently own and decided to *recycle 3 of them so that I can bring 3 more into my life.
*Recycle: finding your item a new home. You can do this by giving them to someone who needs it or donating them to your local donation center or selling them secondhand.
Check out this video made by Rebecca Sisson for more tips.
Now I’d love to hear from you,
Is there a process that you go through before making a purchase? If not, will you start applying the steps I just talked about? What step did you find most useful or insightful?
Let me know down in the comments below!