One of the concepts to mindful consumption is to pause and take the time to reflect before making purchases.

What if every time you were about to make a purchase, that little voice in your head asked you if you really needed it? And forced you to have a hard think over the long-term ramifications of spending that money?

Look! An impulse purchase every now and then is fine, but the problem is that we all know it rarely stops there; it becomes habit forming very quickly. More and more shopping trips start to add up, and before you know it, you’ve got a stack of barely-worn or used items and some serious buyer’s remorse. We’re all guilty of a little rampant consumerism now and again, but how can we stop these behaviors and save our wallets and our peace of mind in the process?

Read on for the top questions you should be asking yourself before buying something new, to help you align purchases with their values and break free of the culture of stuff, once and for all.

Can I afford this?

Be realistic with yourself when you’re planning on going shopping and make a budget beforehand. Take a set amount of cash with you when you do, “BUT” no credit cards, just cash. That way you only spend the set amount of money you have on you.

You should make an effort to only purchase items that you know can afford, so be thoughtful of your price range. If something is expensive and out of your price range, it’s definitely okay to say “NO”.

Arguably yes, there’s a fine line between investing in quality items (that you won’t be apt to throw away) and not buying items that are too expensive for you. It’s important to know when something just isn’t in your budget, be realistic, if you want to avoid the guilt and remorse that comes from buying stupidly expensive items.

Do I need this or do I just want it?

Hopefully everyone has learned from a young age, there’s a major difference between wanting something and actually needing it.

I want a Jacuzzi, but I can only afford an inflatable kids splash pool, be aware of your financial limitations. Don’t lie to yourself the only one that suffers for it in the end is you, not the bank.

Can I find this somewhere else?

Always shop around before you spend your entire salary on something new and shiny. You will be surprised at how much cheaper you may find the item you’re looking for at another store, if your just patient and willing to take the time to bargain hunt. Especially when its concerning big ticket items.

Do I already have something similar to this?

Why buy another item that either looks or does the same thing? That’s just plain ridiculous and I have family and friends that do this! So ask yourself the question because it’s not as dumb as you think it is.

Am I buying this because I like it or because I’m bored?

This is a serious question to ask yourself and one I always hype on about in my blogs concerning consumerism. It’s easy to want to spend money when you’re bored or upset because you think it’ll make you feel better about yourself. But guess what, I’m sorry to say it doesn’t, that’s what family and friends are for.

Why do I want this?

This is one of the top questions you should ask yourself hands down. Rarely do we take a few minutes to sit with ourselves and ask, “Why do I want this?” before rolling out the cash on something.

That is why it is extremely helpful to decide in advance what you want to buy, so that you have time to think about “why” you want it.

Consider whether you’re just trying to justify the purchase, as opposed to “actually needing” the item, that’s all the difference in the world to just splurging money.

When and how often will I use this?

Is the item you want to purchase something you’re planning on using often? If so, how often will you use it? If you can’t see yourself wearing or using something on a regular basis, it’s time to rethink the purchase.

I know someone that has three can openers…think about it.

How does this purchase make me feel?

I don’t care what anybody says; spending money is an emotional decision, no doubt about it. How often have you gone to the shop and been angry at the cost of your few groceries you purchased?

It’s important to evaluate how your purchase truly makes you feel, why do you want to buy that item, and what are your emotions surrounding that article?

It’s really easy to fall for cool marketing propaganda, as opposed to actually taking a deep think about why you want something.

If you think you’re purchasing something just to feel good in that moment, I’ll tell you that kind of joy is not sustainable, it’s momentary.

Am I only getting this because I feel pressured to do so?

Are you feeling a certain cultural, peer, or societal pressure to convince you to get something that you’re not really sure you even want?

If so, then it’s clearly not the right decision to make.

So ask these questions when you go shopping and it will help you to be more thoughtful about purchasing choices and help you not to spend money in ways that makes you feel empty and guilty inside afterward.

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