Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.” –Newt Gingrich
If you have looked into a simple living or even minimalist lifestyle, you have no doubt heard about the many ways that less is more. There are indeed numerous benefits of simple living. But as with most good things, it is not always easy.
We live in a consumer-driven society. Mass consumption is not only encouraged, it is actually used as a measure of success. It can be hard to go against the grain when everything is yelling at you to consume more and more.
But simple living is understanding that the true measure of success is not in a number of possessions you have, but in whether you are being true to yourself. Through simple living, you understand the importance of making room for pursuing those things that truly matter to you with, people that truly matter to you.
If you desire to live a simpler lifestyle and consume less, it is important to examine your shopping habits. Whether you are just starting your simple living journey or have been on the path for some time, each of these shopping questions, to ask before a purchase, will help you to maintain the simple life you desire.
1. Do I Need It?
Before you actually purchase anything, stop and ask yourself whether you really need the item. This simple question is the best way I have found to stop impulse purchases.
The truth is that impulse purchases are one of the biggest things we need to change to be successful in maintaining a simple living lifestyle. When we genuinely have a need for an item, that need comes up over and over again. A genuine need is not a spur of the moment purchase.
Think about it, we don’t buy things that we really need on a whim, we plan those purchases. If you are out and see an item that you had not previously planned to purchase, make sure you stop and ask yourself, do I need it?
If you decide that you don’t necessarily need the item, you may still decide to purchase the item, but you should purchase it only after asking yourself the next question!
2. Have I Let It Sit?
A simple living lifestyle doesn’t mean you can never buy anything unless you absolutely need it. The key is to stop and think before making the purchase. Let it sit in your mind and ponder it. After all, if you don’t really need the item, it can wait. The point of letting it sit is to make sure the item is something you really want and worth spending money on.
But listen closely, an important part of letting an item sit in your mind is that you do not write it down! If the item you are considering is something that is really worth purchasing you will remember it. If you naturally forget about the item after a day or two, it was not worth purchasing.
3. Is the Item Versatile or Multipurpose?
The next question you want to ask before you make a new purchase is: can this item serve more than one purpose? Looking for items that are multi-functional, will help you cut down on clutter.
A big creator of clutter in our lives comes from having many single purpose items in our home. For instance, do you have a toaster and a toaster oven? Get rid of the toaster. It serves a single purpose. Do you have a stand mixer and a hand-held mixer? Get rid of the hand-held mixer, it serves a more limited purpose.
If the item you are considering purchasing is not multifunctional, ask yourself whether it is something you will use often or if it will save you money. Don’t purchase something for a limited use, it just creates clutter and wastes money.
Instead, if there is something you need that you know you will only use once or twice a year, see if you can borrow or even rent the item. If you decide to make the purchase make sure to ask the next question before finalizing the sale.
4. Is There Something You Can Get Rid of in Exchange For The New Item?
I’ve talked about the one in one out rule before. Essentially, for every new item, you bring into your home, you get rid of one item you already have in the same category as the new item. This helps keep the clutter from creeping back in.
So before you actually make a new purchase ask the question, “what can I get rid of that I already own, in exchange for this new purchase?”
If you find that you have nothing to get rid of, then do you really need to purchase the new item? Probably not. Though there are times we may decide to make the new purchase anyway. But, before you do, make sure to ask the next shopping question.
5. Is the Item a quality item?
One of the biggest producers of clutter is regularly buying inferior goods that quickly need to be replaced. Not only does this add to clutter, it is a complete waste of money.
When you are making a purchase, really ask yourself is this item of quality? You will be far better off with one item of quality than several inferior items that just end of needing to be replaced.
I know that sometimes the quality item just doesn’t fit within the budget at the time you need to it. If this is the case, see if there is some alternative you can use or even borrow why you wait and save up for the higher quality item.
Once you are ready to make your purchase, the next question will help you be sure you really are buying a quality item.
6. Did I Research the Item?
This is particularly important for big ticket items. Before making a purchase, look at reviews for the item. Also, try and look at different websites and resources for reviews. If you know anyone who may have already bought the item, ask them about it. Do your research.
If you see a lot of negative reviews skip the purchase. By doing a little bit of research ahead of time, you will avoid regretting your purchase and bringing unnecessary items into your home.
7. Can I Afford This?
I feel like this should go without saying, but let’s face it, we all need the reminder every now and again.
There is no material consumer good that is worth going into debt for. You will never simplify your life if you continue to purchase items you cannot afford.
When you are determining whether you can afford an item, don’t forget to consider the cost of the item beyond the initial purchase price. How much does the item cost you to maintain, care for, store, etc.?
8. Is It a Trend?
This is probably the most difficult question for me to ask myself consistently. I like to be in style and not just with my clothing, but also my with my decor. Yet styles are designed to change and to change quickly.
There is no way you can successfully simplify your life and keep up with the ever-changing trends. This, of course, does not mean that you can never purchase trendy items.
However, before you do make the purchase, stop and ask yourself whether you will wear or use the item after the trend has passed. Will you use the item regularly? Also, make sure the item is something that you genuinely love.
Giving in to the many passing trends is a sure way to sabotage your efforts to simplify your life.
9. Does This Item Solve a Problem?
The need to ask this question applies to anything and everything you bring into your home. If the item does not solve a problem and/or make your life easier, it will add to the stress and problems that are there. Limit your purchase of items that do not solve a specific problem or save you money.
A simple living lifestyle is not always easy, but it is always worth it. Asking yourself these simple shopping questions before you purchase will help you achieve the lifestyle you desire.
I would love to hear what you think. Do you have any shopping questions you regularly ask yourself before you make a purchase? Let me know in the comments
Now live simply, live fully and make today your Favorite day!!