The odds feel stacked against us in our consumer rampant society. Shopping is easier than ever. We do it in the comfort of our own homes, in our coziest clothes, when we are feeling crappy and indulgent. With a click of a button, we buy whatever we want, whenever we want, and it arrives days later. Little packages of impulsive-spending guilt right at your doorstep.
Sometimes you get in the mood to buy things . . . It happens. Sometimes it happens a lot. The after-effects of impulsive moods are awful hangovers to deal with. Especially when you’ve already been through it and you know that you know better.
We can come up with a million excuses and justifications for our impulsive actions and keep carrying on. Or we can roll up our sleeves, face ourselves, and tame the impulsive shopping beast within.
Here are some tips we've used (and keep using) to combat compulsive consumerism.
Literally. Go for a run or walk or get yourself in nature. Impulsive spending often stems from an internal need or discomfort. Getting your body moving might be exactly what you need to dodge your impulses.
Turn off your auto-fill payment.
You’re cozy at home, you feel indulgent, you find a bunch of cute things that you think will make you happy forever . . . Saved payment makes it too easy to give in to impulsive shopping. Having to get up out of your cozy spot to find your credit card though? Turning off auto-pay might be a good move.
Wait it out.
Impulsive urges usually have a pattern . . . a bad day at work, too many bills, feeling sad, pms is kicking your butt . . . Take note of your cycles and wait it out. Try not to shop when you’re feeling the feels.
Give yourself a limit.
Really, it is okay and good to reward yourself. There’s no shame in indulging every once and a while. Only you can set your limits and know your boundaries. So if you love that dopamine hit of buying something out of the blue for yourself, get it! Give yourself a fun money limit that fits your budget.
Watch out for pressure tactics.
It’s one thing to be waiting for something to go on sale and finally scooping it up. It’s a whole other thing when you buy a bunch of things you don’t need because it’s on sale. “Hurry while it lasts!” is usually in red because it’s a red flag, boo. Don’t fall for pressure tactics.
Get off of social media.
We see small bits of other’s lives perfectly curated with a filter and it often leaves us feeling like $h!t. So what do we do? We buy things to make our lives look more like others and endlessly feed the impulsive consumer monster because it will never be satisfied. Comparison and consumerism are best friends. The mean-girls kind. Get outside.
We can tame our impulsive spending habits—practising with one step then moving on to the next. We can do better, and we will do better—keeping goals in mind and holding ourselves with gentleness. We’ll slip up now and again of course. But each time impulsive urges are ignored, intentional consumerism wins.
Jade is a writer, potter, and gardener living in a sleepy town in Northern Ontario. They love growing food, creating functional stoneware, and hermiting with a book as much as possible.