When you hear the word “minimalist,” what comes to mind? For some, it might be an extreme approach to living that requires getting rid of all material possessions. For others, it may be a lifestyle that emphasises simplicity and decluttering. No matter how you view minimalism, one thing is for sure: It can be applied to your shopping habits.
There was a time I could have been considered a shopaholic. I would buy things on impulse, without giving it much thought. I would end up with a closet full of new clothes I never wore and a house full of trinkets I didn’t need.
Retail therapy was a real way of thinking back then. I would spend money to make myself feel better, even though it would only be a temporary fix. I knew I needed to find a better way to shop.
If any of this sounds familiar, keep reading…
Then I discovered minimalism and everything changed. I learned how to shop like a minimalist.
I stopped buying things I no longer needed. Now, I shop with intention. I buy only what I need and what will bring me joy. I avoid impulse purchases and focus on secondhand and sustainable options. And as a result, my closet has clothes I love and my home is filled with items that have meaning to me.
If you’re looking to declutter your life and simplify your spending habits, keep reading for my 12 ways to shop intentionally.
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Table of Contents
- What it means to shop like a minimalist
- The benefits of shopping with intention
- Minimalist shopping tips: How to shop like a minimalist
- #1 Shop in stores that align with your values
- #2 Shop second hand
- #3 Don’t go into debt
- #4 Use the one-in-one-out rule
- #5 Wait 48 hours before you make a purchase
- #6 Ask the questions
- #7 Stick to the list
- #8 Research before you buy
- #9 Buy experiences over things
- #10 Make sure you have space
- #11 Unsubscribe from mailing lists
- #12 Have a no spend month
- Final thoughts on how to shop like a minimalist
What it means to shop like a minimalist
Most of us have been taught to shop for things we need, but what happens when we start considering what we want? That’s where minimalist shopping comes in.
The idea is simple: only buy things that you really want or that serve a specific purpose. Don’t spend money on things ‘just because’.
For example, instead of buying a new shirt just because it’s on sale, ask yourself if it’s something you really need. If the answer is no, then move on.
This way of thinking can be applied to any type of shopping – whether it’s clothes shopping, food shopping, or even experiences. And it doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of everything you enjoy. Instead, it’s all about being mindful of your purchases and making sure they align with your values.
The benefits of shopping with intention
When you start shopping with intention, you’ll start to see benefits in all areas of your life. Here are just a few ways shopping like a minimalist can improve your life
You’ll save money: If you only buy what you need, you’ll be less likely to waste money buying things for no reason. And because you’re not wasting it, you’ll be able to save more money for things that matter.
You’ll declutter your life: When you shop with intention, you’ll only bring items into your home that serve a purpose or that you really love. This will help you declutter your space and live a simpler minimalist lifestyle.
You’ll be more sustainable: Shopping with intention can help reduce your impact on the environment. By taking the time to consider what you need and where it comes from, you can make more conscious choices about the products you buy.
You’ll be happier: When you surround yourself with only things you love, it’s only natural that you’ll be happier. When we take the time to thoughtfully choose the things we bring into our lives, we’re more likely to use and enjoy them, rather than letting them end up as clutter in our homes.
Read also: 12 Unexpected Benefits of Minimalism
Minimalist shopping tips: How to shop like a minimalist
#1 Shop in stores that align with your values
There’s no need to sacrifice your values in the name of minimalism – in fact, shopping with intention is one of the best ways to reduce your impact on the planet. When you buy from companies that share your values, you can be sure that your purchase is supporting a cause that you believe in.
For example, if you are trying to reduce your ecological footprint, then you might want to shop at stores that sell locally sourced or sustainable products.
Or, if you are trying to reduce your consumption of fast fashion, you might want to patronise stores that sell vintage or second-hand clothing.
By being mindful of the types of stores you shop in, you can make the process of minimalist shopping a little bit easier.
#2 Shop second hand
Minimalists are often conscious about their impact on the environment, so shopping second hand is a great way to reduce your consumption.
Not only is it more sustainable, but it’s also usually cheaper than buying new. You can find great second-hand deals at consignment stores, thrift shops, garage sales, and even online.
Those who shop in second hand stores are also likely to donate there too, thus reducing the amount of clothes in your wardrobe.
#3 Don’t go into debt
One of the cardinal characteristics of minimalist living is to avoid debt. This means that you should only buy things that you can afford. This means sticking to your budget.
If you’re not sure whether you can afford something, then it’s best to wait until you have the money saved up.
Most will say you should only pay cash for any purchases you intend to make. However, if you can manage credit cards, you can get some great deals or cash back, thus saving even more.
To avoid going into debt, however, be sure to pay it off straight away after you make the purchase.
#4 Use the one-in-one-out rule
One of the simplest and most effective ways to shop like a minimalist is to follow the one-in-one-out rule: for every new item you bring into your home, get rid of one that you don’t use or need.
Not only will this help to keep your closet from becoming overloaded, but it will also force you to think twice about every purchase. After all, if you’re going to have to get rid of something else to make room for it, is that new purchase really worth it?
This helps to keep your consumption in check and prevents your home from becoming cluttered with things you don’t need or use.
#5 Wait 48 hours before you make a purchase
We’ve all been there: you see something you want, you buy it, and then you get home and realise you don’t really need it (or maybe you never even end up using it).
To avoid this situation, follow the 48-hour rule. Whenever you see something you want, whether it’s a new piece of clothing or a new appliance, wait 48 hours before making the purchase.
This will give you time to think about whether you really need the item, and it will also help you to avoid impulsive buying.
#6 Ask the questions
As any minimalist knows, one of the best ways to reduce clutter is to be mindful of what you bring into your home in the first place. When you’re out shopping, it can be easy to get caught up in the moment and lose sight of your goal of owning less stuff.
To prevent this from happening, it’s helpful to have a set of questions that you can ask yourself before making a purchase.
- Do I need this?
- Do I have a place to put it?
- Will I use it?
- How often will I use it?
- Can I borrow it instead of buying it?
- Do I love it?
- Will it add value to my life?
#7 Stick to the list
Another minimalist shopping tip is to make a list of the items you need before you go shopping. This shopping list can be helpful in two ways: first, it will help to keep you focused on your goal; and second, it will help to prevent you from forgetting anything you actually need.
When you’re making your list, be sure to be specific. For example, instead of writing “clothes,” try to be more specific and write down the types of clothing you need, such as “a pair of jeans” or “a winter coat.”
If you’re unsure whether you need something, it’s best to err on the side of not buying it. You can always go back and get it later if you find that you need it after all.
This method will ensure you don’t end up with an impulse buy of non essential items.
#8 Research before you buy
In today’s world, we have more information at our fingertips than ever before. This is a great resource to use when you’re shopping like a minimalist.
Before making any purchase, be sure to do your research. Read reviews, compare prices, and look for coupons or discounts. This will help you to make sure that you’re getting the best deal possible and that you’re going to be able to get use out of your purchase.
It’s also a good idea to research the store before you buy anything from them. Make sure they align with your values, and try to find out if they have a good return policy in case you end up not needing the item after all.
#9 Buy experiences over things
One of the best ways to shop like a minimalist is to focus on buying experiences rather than things. Instead of filling your home with material possessions, try to spend your money on experiences that will add value to your life.
Some examples of experiential purchases include:
These types of purchases can often be more expensive than buying things, but they will provide you with lasting memories and happiness that you can’t get from material possessions.
#10 Make sure you have space
Before you make any purchase, it’s important to make sure that you have the space for it in your home. This is especially important if you’re trying to declutter and minimise all the things you already own.
If you don’t have the space for something, chances are you won’t use it and it will get lost in the clutter.
Minimalist shopping means only buying things that you have a specific place for. This way, you can be sure that your new purchase is going to add value to your life and not just become another piece of clutter.
Read also: 9 Ways to Find The Motivation to Declutter
#11 Unsubscribe from mailing lists
If you shop online, you’ll be familiar with the constant stream of emails from stores trying to get you to buy their latest products. While it can be tempting to give in and make an impulse purchase, resist the urge!
If you want to shop like a minimalist, it’s important to unsubscribe from any mailing lists that might tempt you into buying things you don’t need. This way, you won’t be bombarded with temptation of heading over to a shopping website every time you open your inbox.
You can also unsubscribe from any store loyalty cards or programs that you don’t use. This will help to declutter your wallet and keep you focused on the stores that align with your values.
#12 Have a no spend month
A great way to reset your shopping habits is to have a no spend month. This means that, for one month, you commit to not spending any money on non-essential items.
A no spend month can be a challenge. Especially if you’re not used to being mindful of your spending. But it can be a great way to reset your habits and get back on track with your minimalist shopping goals.
A no spend month doesn’t necessarily mean spending no money. There are still essentials that you will have to pay for: such as rent, utilities, groceries and transportation.
If you’re interested in trying a no spend month, there are a few things you can do to prepare.
First, make a list of all the expenses you have for the month (such as the above essentials). Then, make a budget for each category.
Once you know how much you need to spend on essentials, you can figure out how much you have left over to save or use for fun experiences.
Next, take a look at your calendar and see if there are any upcoming events that you’ll need to spend money on. This could be a birthday, holiday, or trip.
If you have any big expenses coming up, figure out how much you need to save now so that you’re not caught off guard later. It’s probably best to schedule your no-spend month when you don’t have many events you have to shell out cash for.
If a month seems like too much of a challenge, start small. You’ll be more likely to stick to the plan if the goal is achievable.
If you knock the no spend month out of the park and want to take it up a notch, try a no spend year, like Cait Flanders – The Year of Less.
Final thoughts on how to shop like a minimalist
Minimalist shopping is all about being intentional with your purchases. It’s about buying what you need and things that add value to your home.
It can be a challenge to break old habits, but it’s worth it to declutter your home and focus on the important stuff.
By following the tips in this article, you’ll be well on your way to shopping like a minimalist. Just remember to take things one step at a time and be patient with yourself.
Are you a minimalist shopper? What are your favourite tips for shopping like a minimalist? Let me know in the comments below!