Why Do We Spend So Much Money On Things We Don’t Need (And How to Fight This Urge)

Have you ever been to the store and spent hundreds of dollars when you only went in for one thing? For many of us, this is a common occurrence, but it’s something that often leaves us feeling guilty about how much we spend.

Today we’re going to look at why people spend so much money on things they don’t need and some of the best ways to fight this urge in the future.

essentialism by greg mckeown


by Greg Mckeown

⏱ 14 minutes reading time

🎧 Audio version available

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Why Do We Spend Too Much Money on Things We Don’t Need?

There are many reasons why we find ourselves buying things we don’t need. A lot of the time, it’s simply a case of impulsive purchasing decisions.

For example, if you visit your favorite store and see something you like on sale, you might think you will miss out on the deal if you don’t buy it now. It doesn’t matter whether you needed the item because the sale price seems too good to resist.

Another reason for buying things we don’t need is to keep up with other people. If your best friend has a new smartphone, you might think you are missing out by not having one as well. However, by trying to keep up with everyone else, we often put our finances in a bad situation, adding more stress and pressure to our financial situation.

Many of us use shopping as a way to combat challenging times in our life. We believe that we need to reward ourselves with a treat for our hard work because we work hard every day.

While this can certainly be true, we can find that we are constantly buying stuff we don’t need when we do this too regularly. By working to regain control of your emotions and finding healthier ways to reward yourself for the challenges you’ve overcome, you can regain control of your finances for good.

How to Fight the Urge To Shop For Things You Don’t Need

The good news is that there are specific tactics you can use to fight the urge to shop and buy things you didn’t plan for. These are a few of the easiest ways to overcome your need to spend unnecessarily.

Plan Your Shopping Ahead of Time

When heading out to the grocery store or another large store, only buy what’s on your shopping list that day. This will help you stick with your allocated budget and ensure you don’t spend more than you mean to.

By only buying these items, you won’t come home with a car full of purchases and regret your spending later. If you see something you like when shopping, take a photo or write it down and decide if it’s something you need when you return next week.

Save Up For Larger Purchases

Larger purchases, such as phones or laptops shouldn’t be purchased impulsively. For this type of purchase, we recommend planning for a few weeks or months before making your decision.

This will give you time to save up for the item and ensure that it’s a commitment you are willing to make. You’ll also have time to shop around and find the best deal on the market so that you don’t overpay. By waiting a month to invest in something new, you’ll also find that you are so much more excited by your purchase when you finally receive it.

Avoid Going to the Mall

Going to the mall or any large shop can be a huge source of temptation. With so many great online stores and easy delivery options, it’s much easier to sit at home and do your shopping.

While you will still need to ensure you aren’t getting carried away, you can take your time to scrutinize your shopping cart to make sure that you need everything before you check out. The mall is just asking for trouble for people who find themselves regularly overspending, as there’s just so much temptation out there.

Go Shopping in Your Wardrobe

One area that people often overspend unnecessarily is on clothes. This is usually because we aren’t fully aware of what we have in our homes, especially when we have a huge closet. So before you go shopping, take a few minutes to ‘shop’ in your wardrobe and dig out items you haven’t worn in a while.

Then you’ll know what you need to buy and you’ll know exactly what you have at home so that you won’t believe the same thing again.

Avoid the Temptation of Sales

While sales are a great way to save money on items you have been planning to buy for a while, there’s no point going to them if you don’t need anything. Black Friday is one of the best examples of this, where people are found fighting over items they never previously had any desire to buy.

Try to avoid sales altogether this year. If you are looking to cut back on your spending, your bank account will thank you.

While shopping is something that many of us enjoy, spending can quickly add up if we aren’t careful. By following the tips listed above, you can regain control of your spending and stop impulse purchases in the future. The more restrained you are when you go shopping, the more money you’ll be able to save for big purchases, which will mean a lot more to you in the long run.

When you have better control over your finances, you’ll notice many benefits to your mental health and wellbeing, which is why it’s something we recommend everyone looks at more in the upcoming months.

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