Thursday, February 25, 2010

11 tips for cutting down the number of things you buy

by Gretchen Rubin

Some people buy too much, some people buy too little. That’s theoverbuyer / underbuyer split.

Overbuyers are often anxious about all the money they’ve spent and the stuff they’ve accumulated, so they can use some tips on cutting down on the number of things they buy.

But as an underbuyer myself, I can say that we underbuyers, paradoxically, also sometimes buy too much. Because we hate to shop, once we’re in a store and forced to make a purchase, we have the urge to try to do as much as possible at one time, to avoid having to make another trip. Items start flying through the air into the cart. As one friend said of me, “You turn into a drive-buy shopper, once you get going!”

These tips should help both overbuyers and underbuyers to buy only what they need.

1. Pay cash.

2. Buy small items first. When you buy an expensive item, it’s easy to toss in unthinkingly a lot of smaller items alongside it – items that you might have otherwise have spent a lot of time considering, and which add up to a lot of $$$. So pick out smaller items first, then the larger item. Buy the software, the mouse, the mousepad, and the other bits and bobs, then choose the computer.

3. Don’t buy too much at one time. If you’re buying too many things, you stop paying attention to what you’re getting.

4. Don’t buy anything at a bargain store that you haven’t bought before at full price.

5. Before paying, review each of your purchases with a skeptical eye. Don’t buy anything you’re not sure you want and can use – this is particularly important with clothes.

6. Don’t tell yourself, “I can always return it”; remind yourself, “I can come back if I decide I need it.”

7. Make a list and stick to it.

8. Don’t buy anything that needs to be a specific size unless you KNOW the measurements you need.

9. Don’t shop when you’re hungry.

10. Be very skeptical of anything that’s on sale.

11. If you don’t shop, you don’t buy. Stay out of stores.

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