The Secret To Stop Buying Things You Don’t Need

Any shopaholics in the house?

I feel you.

I love shopping. I love clothes, shoes, beauty products, home d├ęcor – it makes me happy! However, shopping often can mean you buy things you never end up using.

Here’s how I don’t buy things I never use.

Yes, I spend a lot of money on fashion, beauty and other “discretionary” categories but here’s the thing – I use everything I buy. My Dyson Airwrap? I use it religiously twice a week. The cute leather loafers? I wear them religiously. It isn’t because I am just lucky, but there is an actual secret to it.

Let me share my secret with you.


It is…making a list.

I know what you’re thinking. Really? Making a list is so simple. How will this help me save money? Oh, but it does.

It is an incredibly powerful tool that will shift the way you shop.

Now, I am definitely a slave to capitalism. I love cute things and I want them all. Minimalism makes no sense to my brain, pretty things make me happy. However, I keep this controlled and make sure I never spend over my budget.

Whenever I see something I want to purchase, I add it to a list on my phone.

Somehow, doing this almost gives me some satisfaction. I know it sounds really weird, but try it out for yourself.

I guess in a way, rather than telling myself “no”, I tell myself “later”.

This strategy makes me feel like I’m not depriving myself, while spending no money!

Once I have that item added to my phone list, I’ll add a cost next to it. E.g. Soda stream / $80.

Next, I’ll let that item sit in my list for a while depending on how much it costs. For example, I wanted a $30 French press and that only needed to hang out in my list for 2 weeks before I got one. However, a sewing machine has been sitting in my list for the last 6 months as it is something that costs a lot more.

What I find interesting is, I have removed items that I wanted so badly when I first saw them.

This helps to eliminate items that seem amazing in the moment but would collect dust if I bought them. In the same way, if an item has been on my list for months and I still want it – it means it is an item that I am likely to use regularly and it will be money well-spent.

While this isn’t a fool-proof method, I rarely buy things I don’t use by using this strategy.

Along with a sewing machine, another big ticket item in my list has been a Kindle.

As you can imagine, as a writer I also love to read. However, hard copy books are expensive and take up a lot of room. That’s why I added a Kindle to my wish list. Since, they aren’t the cheapest thing, it was on my list for months before I pulled the trigger. By doing this, it let me really understand that this was something that I would use – and I did! I bought it during the Black Friday sales for 30% off and use it daily.

The second part of this strategy is avoid buying things that aren’t on the list or not worth the list.

If you see something you like that is nice and at a good price, but isn’t on the list – don’t buy it. Yes, even if it as a good price.

A frequent second-hand shopper, I find bargains all the time. When I find something that’s a fraction of the retail price, it is so tempting to purchase. However, I don’t anymore, unless it was something I was looking for.

Don’t buy an item just because it is on sale, buy an item you will actually use.

When I first started visiting op and thrift shops, I would sometimes buy items that weren’t quite right. Shoes that were a bit loose, clothes that didn’t flatter my body. Why? Well, they were a great price! But, I ended up not using these “great value” items. Which did make them a waste of my money.

Nowadays, when I come across something beautiful at a good price – I don’t jump to buy it. Here’s what I do:

  • Firstly, I look through my list. Is it on the list? Is it worth adding to my list?
  • Next, I think about if I actually really like the item

Doing this has helped me only buy the items that I really love.

And, there you have it! My super simple yet effective strategy to stop buying things you don’t need.

Published by Ruba Khan

Hi, I'm Ruba! The Money Marketer is a financial discussion space to discuss all things money and investment, with a touch of food and lifestyle.

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