How To Buy What You Need And Not What You Want

Buying less, becoming a more conscious consumer, shopping for quality not quantity: All of that is hard enough as it is in the age of social media and fast fashion. But when you love shopping, when you can’t think of anything more fun than combing through racks of clothes on the weekend or clicking through the new arrival pages of your favourite brands online, buying less can seem like an impossible challenge.

If you’ve tried to shop less in the past, but quickly found yourself reverting back to old habits, because you just love shopping too much, don’t worry: not all is lost. You just need to find a new hobby!

Shopping for the sake of shopping

Before we get into how to find an effective replacement, let’s quickly make sure we are all on the same page about why shopping isn’t a great hobby to have in the first place:

  1. Besides the fact that a shopping hobby will undoubtedly make you spend more money than you would like to, it also isn’t great from an ethical perspectivebecause the more you shop (especially from fast fashion brands), the more you are contributing to the negative effects the fashion industry has on workers and the environment.
  2. You are also not doing your own closet any favours by adding to it on a weekly basis (or even more often). If shopping is your hobby, you buy stuff for the experience: to have fun, to relax, to be creative, right in that moment. Things like whether you’ll actually wear that piece, how it fits in with the rest of your wardrobe and even how much you like it, come secondary. Eventually, you end up with a jam-packed closet full of stand-alone pieces that were fun to buy, but that don’t reflect your style or work with your lifestyle.

How to quit

People love to shop for different reasons. Some find it ridiculously relaxing, for some it’s their go-to creative outlet, for others a fun, low-stress way to spend time with friends. What’s your reason?

Think about what situations and times you usually want to shop. What mood are you in? What mood are you in post-shop? Really try to dig deep here. Then: Find something that gives you the same experience that shopping does. Because there are plenty of other ways to be creative, have fun with fashion or just relax after a long day at work, that don’t involve spending money and adding yet another so-so item to your wardrobe. For example, if you tend to shop online to unwind at night, think about what else might give you that same feeling of relaxation. A bubble bath perhaps? Or curling up with a good book?

To help you figure out your personal most effective shopping replacement, I’ve created a little typology of the most common types of “hobby shoppers”.

Each profile contains a quick description and a few recommendations for shopping alternatives. Read through each profile and see which ones you identify with. Use the suggested alternatives as a jumping off point to write your own list of activities. Then try them out the next time you feel like hitting the shops or buying something online.

There are five types in total, but of course you can be a combination. For example, during my shopaholic phase a few years ago, I was both the true creative and the social shopper.

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