Part 1: Why we should want to buy less
Recently I shared Intentionally Living // Choosing your trajectory, setting 2015 to be a year of money, time, and effort exclusively spent on things that benefit my life. And by sharing that story, I found out that you guys feel the same way. So today, I want to start the discussion on something that has a lot to do with living intentionally; our buying habits. This post marks part one of a two-part series on buying less.
What is buying less?
Buying less isn't about depriving yourself. It's about buying enough and then stopping buying. It's not a competition to spend the least money or own the least possessions—it's about buying what adds value and happiness to your life without taking happiness back in other ways. (If that last sentence was cryptic to you we will talk a bit more about it later.)
What does it apply to? For me, mostly clothes (my weakness). But for you, maybe it's clothes, or maybe it's beauty products, home decor pieces, mugs with pictures of cats o them... For this series, we'll be focused on possessions—anything you buy and store in your home.
Why we should want to buy less
De-clutter our spaces
The closet you have to yank clothes out of, the drawers that need to be body-slammed shut, the desks that you need to push things out of the way to use—little annoyances in our daily life whether we consciously feel it or not. Even if we're pretty good at not letting the little things get to us in the moment, these little struggles from having too much stuff add up to a life less happy. In other words, this is the when a possession improves your life in one way but starts to take happiness back in other ways. On top of this, the possessions we really love—the ones that truly make us happier—get lost in the clutter.
Break negative connections
How many times have you looked at something you own and felt guilt or regret? Like the $100 heels you wore once, or the nearly full and now expired beauty product, or the collection of clothes you never wear? I know I feel deep regret over money spent on things I never used, and feel like it happens all too often. Breaking the pattern of buying these things we later regret, breaks our negative connections to our possessions, leaving space to build a more positive relationship to the things we own and interact with.
Get to know our own taste
To quote one of the reigning champs of buying less, Caroline of Un-fancy, "less actually reflected my style with dazzling clarity."(If you've read this far into the post and haven't checked out Caroline's blog, you need to.) She's talking about having less clothes, and boy did it hit me like an epiphany.
We tend to get into patterns of buying things for so many more reasons than it perfectly embodying our style and taste. We buy things because they are on sale, we buy things because they look good on us, we buy things because we loved it on somebody else. Buying less means buying when everything aligns; it looks good on us, we love the idea of it, the price is right, and it reflects our own style perfectly.
We can be more intentional with the who of buying
It's really easy to focus on what we get as a consumer when buying and forget what someone else is getting when we give our money. But when we buy things, we are affecting a lot more than just our life. We are deciding which businesses—what kind of people—are successful. Is it the businesses who underpay workers? Is it the people who put their heart and soul into their small business? When we buy less, we can be more intentional with who our money is supporting.
More time, money, and energy to spend on the things that truly make us happy
And isn't that what it's all about?
Check out Part Two: How-to Buy Less available now!