Minimalist Shopping – How to Learn This Skill and Why You Need It

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There are skills we all need to learn, especially if we want to live an intentional life. One skill that I’m proud to have mastered is minimalist shopping. Learning this skill has added a lot of value into my life, and I hope you gain the same value and then some!

It isn’t easy to go from a consumerist mindset to a minimalist mindset without learning the benefits and helpful tips.

Trust me, I’ve been there. This post is a direct reflection of the help I wish I had when I started my minimalist journey.

Let’s start with the benefits because that will help you see the value before you experience it.

Benefits of minimalist shopping

The overall benefits of minimalist shopping are living with more intention, but it goes deeper than that. Once you learn this skill, you’ll see it show up in other areas of your life, which is pretty cool!

Intentional Shopping versus Frivolous Shopping

When you shop with intention, you are conscious of what you are spending money on and bringing into your home. You are aware of what you can afford and what is unnecessary.

It is the opposite of frivolous shopping, which is tied closely to retail therapy or shopping to pass the time. You aren’t going into a store with an agenda.

This can open the door to overspending, buying things you don’t need, and feeling horrible after you realize you spent money on things you don’t need.

Window Shopping versus Impulse Shopping

Window shopping is a conscious approach to shifting from a consumerist mindset to a minimalist mindset. You may not be ready to stop going to the stores, but you go with the intention of just looking.

This is a great stepping stone to intentional shopping.

When it comes to impulse shopping, you’re purchasing things based on emotions, which isn’t helpful. This leads to so much clutter, confusion, and aggravation.

This is when the excuse “But it was on sale!” gets used because you weren’t expecting to buy it.

You only save money when something you planned to buy is on sale.

When you buy something on impulse, you aren’t saving anything. In fact, you are spending money.

Save more money

Leading off the last point, when you master the skill of minimalist shopping, your money goes a lot further.

Having more money than month becomes a thing you get excited about more often because you are intentional with how you spend your money.

Which would you rather have?

  • More money at the end of the month
  • More things in your home

I hope you would choose the first option because that frees you up to do more with your life. Material things don’t make you happy, and once you connect with that, real change can happen!

Related Post: 39 Ways to Cut Expenses from Your Budget

Easier to stay tidy

One of my favorite benefits of minimalist shopping is how much easier it is to stay tidy! I’m not bringing things into my home on a frequent basis, so having a home for everything is simple.

Wouldn’t you like to easily have a tidy home where everything has a place?

If you continue to bring things into your home, that makes it more difficult to achieve. Even with a One In, One Out Rule, you’re creating opportunities for more clutter.

Related Post: How to Cut Cleaning Time in Half and Make Time for the Things You Enjoy

Tips for minimalist shopping

Now that you know the benefits of minimalist shopping, let me share some actionable tips with you so that you can put this into practice right away!

1 // Stick to your list

The easiest way to incorporate minimalist shopping into your life is to always stick to your list!

Never go into a store without one, because it is much easier to fall prey to purchasing things you don’t need.

An easy way to put this into practice is by putting your list on your phone so that if you forget your paper shopping list, you have a backup.

There are three ways I utilize my phone for shopping lists:

  1. Take a photo of the paper shopping list.
  2. Use the Notes App on my phone.
  3. Text my shopping list to myself.

There isn’t a right or wrong way to do this as long as you have a list with you when you go shopping.

2 // Allot time to think about a purchase before investing

When it comes to shopping for something that isn’t a normal purchase, like groceries, I give myself time to think it through.

Giving yourself time to think about a purchase helps to remove the emotional aspect of the transaction, which is what can cause us to impulse purchase things.

Here are my time frames to think about a purchase before investing:

  • Small purchases – 24 hours
  • Medium purchases – 3-7 days
  • Large purchases – 30+ days

I consider a small purchase to be something that is less than $50. It could be a new book, a shirt, etc. It is likely something I purchase a few times a year, but could also be a new online course or workbook.

A medium purchase is something greater than $50 but less than $300. It could be a nice pair of shoes, new gardening equipment or set up, or something that I just want to make sure is something I truly need.

This price range is where I’m more hesitant and want to ensure the purchase is necessary. Sometimes my emotions get the best of me, and while this isn’t a large amount of money, purchasing several items in this price range adds up quickly.

Large purchases are things like a new computer, vehicle, or anything above the $300 price tag. I really take the time to research, think it through, and weigh all of my options.

I’m not going to suggest that these time frames or price ranges are the best for you, but setting up something similar to this will help you remove the emotion behind the purchase and provide confidence in your decision.

3 // Don’t subscribe to store emails or snail mail

While coupons are great to have when making purchases you planned, they are detrimental to your budget if you don’t have self-control.

Remove the temptations and unsubscribe from all store emails and snail mail!

If you have a specific purchase you want to make, there is no harm in snagging a coupon. Just make sure you unsubscribe from whatever service you opted into to receive that coupon.

Related Post: My Minimalist Social Media Approach

4 // Ask yourself WHY you want that item and if it is worth it

How many times have you made a purchase without asking yourself if you really wanted an item? I know I used to do this a lot!

By taking a moment in the store or while you’re shopping online to ask yourself WHY you want that item and if it is worth it, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to think it through.

You may find that you’re only wanting that item out of habit, but you decide that it is no longer worth the investment.

You may also decide that you need it and that it is worth it.

The end result isn’t the point here. The point is to become conscious about the items you’re choosing to spend your money on and why.

5 // Use what you have before purchasing more

When you use what you have before you purchase more, you’re telling yourself that you value the money you’ve spent.

If you purchase more of that item before you use up the last of the one you already have, you may not finish the one you’re currently using.

I know this sounds crazy, but the subconscious mind seeks the newest things because it believes it to be better than what we have.

This is not true, so we have to respect the item we’re using before buying more.

6 // Practice the One In, One Out Rule

While I do believe we should get to a point of contentment with the things we have, replacing an old item with a new item will keep things in rotation versus cluttering up your space more.

So if you want to purchase a new shirt, you have to let go of a shirt you already have.

This is the best way to ensure you don’t clutter your home up and everything continues to have a home.

Questions for minimalist shopping

The most valuable tool you can use to implement this skill is having the right questions when you need them most.

Asking questions before you make a purchase can prevent buyer’s remorse and save you money!

Here are the questions I recommend you memorize and use when shopping:

  • Do I really need this?
  • What can I part with to bring this into my home?
  • Can I really afford this?
  • Do I have this item or something that does the job already?
  • How long will this item be useful to me?

Each of these questions help you shop consciously and with intention.

One last thing…

Remember to give yourself grace if you slip back into a consumerist shopping mindset. To develop the minimalist shopping skill, you have to practice it continuously.

To master this skill you have to keep trying.

You aren’t going to be the perfect minimalist shopper. No one is!

The important thing is to keep working at it, celebrate when you do well, and give yourself grace when things go awry.

Final Thoughts

The minimalist shopping skill is one that I try to always have with me because it has saved me from wasting time and money! Having both of these resources mean more to me than mindless shopping.

I hope this is one skill you keep in your back pocket when you need it and that it provides a lot of value for you as you continue to pursue an intentional lifestyle.

If you aren’t already, be sure to follow me on Pinterest! I share things about intentional living, saving money, decluttering, and more!

There are skills we all need to learn, especially if we want to live an intentional life. One skill in particular is minimalist shopping.

4 thoughts on “Minimalist Shopping – How to Learn This Skill and Why You Need It”

  1. I agree!!! Minimalism has completely changed the way I shop. I don’t even like shopping but I used to come home with stuff I definitely did not need. Minimalism is so freeing because now I don’t feel that pressure to buy all that stuff. You’re so right! That consumeristic pressure is huge!!!

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