Impulsive buying constitute the core of unhealthy shopping habits. It drains your wallet, fills your closet with items you probably won't use and, worst of all, makes you fell guilty at the end of the day. With years of experience, I have developed some tricks to reduce the frequency of my impulsive purchases and I'd like to share them with you.
1. Create a wish list
You probably have heard this one before, but it is one of the best advice I can give you! Following a wish list let you reconsider your instant desires. A wish list thankfully is a malleable tool (it is already hard setting limits). You can put and remove items from it freely, but it shouldn't include your basic items, which should be dealt apart. I personally add items when I first spot them and leave them on the list until the sales arrive. If my desire to acquire them is still intact once they are on sale, they are probably items I am going to use, so I go on and buy them. Otherwise, I remove them from the list to keep it clear and short and to avoid reconsidering my choices : the first decision is usually the good one, so I am trying to stick to it.
It has been a successful strategy for me so far significantly reducing the quantity of brand new items standing untouched in my closet. Sometimes the item is sold out by the time I make up my mind Ebay becoming my hunting ground then. Although, it is can be sometimes frustrating, I am trying to see this in a positive way giving myself more time to think about the item and getting an extra thrill once I finally get my hands on it.
2. Ask yourself the three golden questions.
Do I really need that? - Most of the time the answer is "no" for most of us living in an ultra-consumerist world where desires are instantly transformed into needs, but it is worth asking ourselves that question sometimes.
Ex: I have a weak spot for flat ankle boots, but currently I have all the "necessary" boots to fill my needs. So I try to ignore them even though it is hard.
Do I already have something similar? Most of the time, we will end up wearing only of the two. So compare the two items to see what advantage one has over the other. It can help you make a final decision. If they end up being too similar, it is wiser to only keep one of them.
Ex: I bought a black trench coat at The Bay even though I already had my mother's Burberry beige trench only because I thought a black trench coat could be useful... I still wore my Burberry one more often because it was obviously sturdier and I was able to dress it up or down, so the black trench didn't really offer me any advantage and became rapidly superfluous.
How will this upgrade my wardrobe? This is the 1-million-dollar question, especially when it comes to coup de coeur items! I consider that an item would upgrade my wardrobe if I am going to wear it often and if it is significantly different from my another items while complementing them.
Ex: I bought this Carven skirt from F/W 2012 collection after spotting it on Leila Bekhti at Cannes Film Festival. The three golden questions were answered quite rapidly in my head and the item perfectly fulfilled the criteria of question 3: the print and the fabric made it really unique and I knew I could were it for different occasions with any of my basic tops. Two years later, I am still quite happy with my purchase.
3. Buy quality items
Usually quality doesn't come cheap or in industrial quantities which will push you to think a bit more about your purchase. Have you ever noticed that we tend not to spend as easily on a $300 sweater compared to five $60 shirts? Our consumerist culture encouraging accumulation of wealth has probably something to do with that. We tend to see the shirts as a bunch of individual bargains and not a single purchase. Well most of the time that $300 sweater, if it is truly made of quality fabrics, might last longer than all those shirts put together. Plus, the fact that you saved money for that item, makes it more valuable emotionally. I will discuss selecting quality items in another post.
4. In doubt, leave it.
Of all the tips I could give you, this one is the most important. That seemingly insignificant doubt about the color, the fit, the fabric or the texture of the item will become significant with time and your garment will end up unworn in your closet...So if you are not 100% sure about all the aspects of the item you are about to buy, leave it.
If you have other tips & tricks to share, please let me know!