Avoid these common mistakes when spending money!

7 Reasons I Buy Stuff I Don’t Need

Avoid these common mistakes when spending money!

Can you imagine how much money you would have if you stopped buying junk?  I’m right there with you, I have a house full of “stuff” that I spent a bunch of money on and I rarely if ever use it.

I Buy Too Much Junk!

What causes us to buy so much stuff?  If I look through my closet, I have clothes that I have worn maybe a couple of times and shoes that rarely get used.  To be honest, I could probably get rid of half the stuff in my closet and I wouldn’t miss any of it.  If I look in my bedroom, I have books and other junk in my night stands that are probably covered in dust.

If we move to the kitchen, I have cupboards that line the top and bottom of my kitchen that are filled with “things.”  Kitchen gadgets and items that maybe I have used once.  Why? Why do I live like this?  Why do I have so much stuff that I paid for and never use?

Have you ever gone through your closets or kitchen and thrown a bunch of stuff in the garage to donate or sell?  Freeing up all that space decreases my anxiety and leaves me with a more peaceful feeling.  The less “stuff” that I have around, the more calm I feel.  Each time I do a clearing out of junk, it seems that within the next 6 months I have found more stuff to put in those cabinets or closets.  How do we stop this cycle?  In order to stop bad habits, we need to understand what is causing them.

9 Reasons I Buy Stuff I Don’t Need

If you’re willing to be honest with me, I bet some of these reasons resonate with you.  The first step to changing a habit is to understand you actually have a bad habit and what is causing it.  Then we can move to eliminating these bad habits and replacing them with positive ones!

1. We Think It Will Make Our Life Easier/Happier

portrait of beautiful young woman over white background

Over the years I have purchased a juicer, an expensive mixer, a pressure cooker, and many other gadgets based off of a whim or a new idea.  I went through a phase of juicing everything (stupid documentaries)… that led to me buying an expensive juicer.  The juice diet lasted about a week before I wanted to eat my own arm because I was so hungry.  With all the hype of pressure cookers, I just had to have one as well.  Don’t get me wrong, pressure cookers are great and you really can create amazing quick meals with them, but I rarely if ever use it.  It sits in the cupboard because I went back to my old routines of making the same thing for dinner that didn’t require a pressure cooker.

I usually buy things such as expensive gym memberships, fitness items, kitchen gadgets, and other things that promise to be life changing, only to find out that they were not good as promised or I lost interest.

2. Buying Things Makes Me Happy

man in red crew neck sweatshirt photography

Have you ever gone shopping when you were in a crummy mood?  It’s called, “Retail Therapy.”  Buying something for yourself can certainly give you a brief high and relieve your stress and depression…. just long enough until you receive the credit card bill.  I have made many spontaneous purchases because of the increase in happiness I had just from the though of purchasing it.  After buying whatever it was, I found that the euphoria of retail therapy quickly wears off and requires more and more retail therapy to fight negative feelings.

3. Everyone Else Has It

Do you own a smart watch?  You should, everyone else has one.  Look how convenient they are!  People can answer their texts and make phone calls from their wrists rather than having to pull their phone out of their pocket!  While I’m poking fun, I don’t have one but I secretly want one – because they look so cool and convenient.  Some of them can even check your heart rate!  I digress, but if this isn’t you, we all know someone who will buy whatever new thing you come home with so they are not left out.  We all want to fit in, so consciously or subconsciously, we are drawn to buy things that other people buy.

Remember Furby’s, Nintendo Classic’s, Hatchimal’s, and Tickle Me Elmo’s?  Everyone just had to have one because they were in limited quantities and everyone else was getting one.  Now, these things are a faint memory.

4. I Deserve It!

design desk display eyewear

How many things are sitting in your closet because you bought it after an accomplishment?  Those new Jimmy Choo shoes?  They are only $900.00, you deserve it after all you put up with at work this month!  Reward yourself, you only live once!  I am all too often in the habit of patting myself on the back and rewarding myself with something that I will put on the counter and forget about in a week.

5. I Am Great At Rationalizing My Purchases

I have a love/hate relationship with Costco.  I will rationalize like no one’s business at Costco.  A year ago, I spent $40.00 on string lights because they were on sale.  I had this great idea that I could put them up in the back yard to create a great ambiance for guests when we have back yard parties.  This is an investment in friendships I told myself.  Do you know how many backyard parties I have had since then?  Not one – I didn’t even get around to hanging the lights up…

Maybe you like to buy clothes.  You need to wear clothes so buying those 10 shirts isn’t wasteful – it’s practical!  Rationalizing is probably my biggest obstacle…

6. I Want To Impress People

adult beautiful elegant eyewear

Let’s face it, most of us will never admit it, but we buy things to impress other people.  Whether it be makeup, new clothes, a new car, or the latest toy, we enjoy other people being envious of us.  When we get compliments on those new granite counter tops or our new car, we love the envy and affirmation we get from others.

7. I Buy Things That I Think Will Be Worth Money

I have an entire cabinet in my garage filled with junk I bought that I thought would be worth money someday.  I have old comic books, Coca-Cola bottles, baseball cards, McDonald’s toys – you name it, if I think it will be worth something, I just might buy it.  I can count on one hand the number of times that one of my “collector purchases” actually made me a profit.  All the other things sit in the cabinet waiting for the day they may actually be worth more than I paid for them.

Breaking Our Spending Habits

grayscale photography of stop signage under sky

I bet several of these resonated with you and if they did, let’s figure out how to change our spending habits.  The way I have been able to curb some of my spending, is by asking myself – do I really need this, and if so – where am I going to put it?  I try and identify the “why” of why I am making a purchase before I do it.

I now have a routine of sleeping on it when I want to make a large purchase.  Emotional purchases are the worst because they quickly leave me feeling empty.  By refusing to make the purchase right then and there, I can more easily determine if this is a wise choice.  If I give myself time to think about it rather than being caught up in the moment, I usually end up making the right decision.

If you have a problem of clutter, honestly thinking about where you are going to store this item can help.  Do you really have room for it?  Do you really need it?  If you are not going to care about this item in a month, don’t waste the money.

Do you share similar struggles with me?  We all have our temptations and bad habits.  I encourage you to reflect on some of your recent purchases to see if they were wasteful or necessary.  Find a way to identify a possible bad purchase and shift to a healthier way of managing your spending whether it be sleeping on the decision or asking someone else for a second opinion.

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Published by

Ryan Luke

My name is Ryan Luke and I am a personal finance blogger and a Police Lieutenant for a major city in Arizona. I blog about the best tips and strategies to get out of debt to help others achieve financial independence!

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