Fair Fashion, Sustainable Living

How to avoid impulse buys | 6 questions to stop shopaholic behaviour

Before deciding on buying anything at all, may it be clothes, homeware, gadgets, groceries or any kind of item, always take a step back and ask yourself the most important questions:

Question 1: Do I really NEED this?

The question is not “Do I WANT this” for a reason. Most of the time impulse buys happen without us even noticing it. We get influenced by some great marketing strategy that make us believe we NEED stuff that we actually just WANT that specific moment. So whenever you find yourself wandering through a shop with a basket full of things, before you go to the register; go through each and every item and ask yourself: Do I really need this?
If the answer is NO then don’t buy it! Only if the answer is yes, ask yourself the next question:

Question 2: Can I AFFORD this?

Sometimes we buy things and regret it later (or even immediately) and judge ourselves for waisting money that we could have spend on more important things. If your answer is YES (or your NO wasn’t enough to convince yourself), you should continue to ask yourself the following question before you buy that something.

Question 3: Can I get it second hand?

Nowadays, with the internet, most stuff can easily be found second hand. And yes even groceries. There are places nowadays where you can buy left over products from markets or restaurants that try to stop the waste of food. But naturally this question (since I initially came up with it to avoid shopaholic behaviour) applies mostly to clothing, accessories and gadgets. There are plenty of second hand shops out there that might have exactly what you need. If even with the help of the internet you still can’t find the product you need, you are time pressured or you simply want it to be a brand new item, then ask yourself:

Question 4: Can I get this from a sustainable/eco-friendly/ethical brand(/shop)?

There are so many great brands out there that you can support when you are looking to buy something you (really) need. Give sustainable brands a chance. If you still can’t find what you need at a sustainable shop then ask yourself:

Question 5: Can I buy it with a good conscience?

Sometimes I find it helpful to ask myself this question. It is not the easiest question since you should really know the whole process and story behind that certain product in order to answer it. Finally, when I still think that I need it, when I am convinced that I can buy something with a clear conscience, I ask myself the last question:

Question 6: Will it truly make me happy? (or will it bring me forward in life?)

You can actually start by asking this question or ask it anytime in between the other questions. It is really important to remember that something should truly make you happy when you decide to become its owner. Of course there are situations where you have to buy things, that don’t make you happy, simply because you need them. Just take a look at, for instance, university. The books you have to buy (of which at least some, you should be able to get second hand) will not be things that make you happy but the results they bring just might (imagine never having to go back to university). But as a general rule: if it doesn’t make you truly happy, then don’t buy it.

Once you start implementing them into your daily life, I hope these questions will help you avoid impulse buys. Please let me know how they are working out for you and also let me know if there are more things you would like to add to the list or things that personally help you to avoid being a shopaholic.