How to go from being an impulse shopper to a conscious consumer?
By Malvika Rao
You’re scrolling through Instagram and stumble upon an advertisement about the latest collection by a fast-fashion brand. You scroll through it, and without thinking twice add 3 new pieces to your cart and make a purchase. Does this sound like something you would do? No need to feel guilty, we’ve all been there. This is what impulse shopping looks like.
Impulse shopping is increasingly becoming mainstream due to several factors – social media, increased affordability, and lightning-fast delivery. But there’s a problem – when you buy things unplanned and without intention, it often means you’re buying things you don’t really need. That’s how you slip into overconsumption and land with a big pile of stuff that you did not need in the first place.
Instead, imagine yourself shopping mindfully and knowing exactly what you have in your wardrobe. You plan for essential purchases, and from time to time you save up money for your wants.
Doesn’t that kind of shopping sound better? Well don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. We’re going to give you all the tips you need. We break down the process from being an impulse shopper to a conscious one in six easy steps.
1. Identify your ‘why’
You’re cutting back on impulse shopping for a reason, so make sure you remind yourself that from time to time. Whether you want to save money, embark on minimalism, or want to shop more sustainably your ‘WHY’ should be crystal clear. Maybe write it down on a piece of paper and keep it in your wallet. That way every time to reach for your card to make a purchase you are reminded of why you need to cancel it right away.
2. Cut out temptation
From social media, email newsletters to blogs- temptations to shop impulsively are everywhere. A 10% discount offer is all it takes for you to be persuaded to shop for something you really don’t need. So the best thing to do is unsubscribe from branded emails, unfollow Instagram accounts that influence you to continually shop, and delete apps that make it easy for you to make a quick purchase. These are some big steps so go step by step. Blacklist one brand at a time and see how liberating that feels.
3. Assess your needs before making a purchase
The habit of thinking before buying can really be a game-changer. Every time you purchase something ask yourself “What do I need this for”?
If you want to buy a piece of clothing, ask yourself these questions: Where can I wear this too? Do I have a similar outfit in my wardrobe? How many ways can I wear this outfit? Do I love this item of clothing enough to spend money on it? Is it possible to borrow, thrift or rent it instead?
Take a moment to answer these questions before hitting that buy button r swiping your card. Do this a few times, and we promise you, it will make a huge difference in your shopping decisions.
4. Take a break from shopping
Take up a ’21 days No-Buy Challenge’ to stop your impulse shopping behaviour’. Sometimes a tough goal is just what you need to make the change. It also helps you be accountable and not fall back into the trap.
Shopping has become a casual leisure activity. Instead of scrolling social media, scrolling through the pages of what you can buy is ar more appealing. Try to curb this leisure activity with another. Baking treats, going for long walks or simply indulging in a self-care day with some D.I.Y. face packs are just some of the distractions available. They are far more productive and healthy while helping you move on from mindless shopping.
5. Wait for 72 hours before making a purchase
Giving yourself a few days before making a purchase will help you in making a more mindful purchase. A 72-hour window allows you to go back with a fresh perspective and think about whether the product is something you really need or was just a craving. The key to breaking the habit of impulse shopping is to make more conscious shopping decisions – so taking that extra time to think about a purchase is always a win.
6. Thrift, Borrow or Rent instead
Shopping is not the only solution when it comes to buying a product. Opting for secondhand approaches like thrifting, borrowing or renting are viable alternatives accessible to everyone. These are better options for your wardrobe and are more sustainable for the planet. We have curated a list of Instagram thrift stores that can help you get started.
By avoiding new clothes you are elongating the life of your existing clothes and enhancing your wardrobe with unique pieces instead of something off the rack. Though the same principles apply here as well. Make sure you’re buying something only if it serves a purpose and something you will use in the long run.
At first, it may seem difficult to curb impulse buying, but with time and the right habits in place, this is a behaviour you can break. Replace impulse with a think-first approach. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself from time to time. The important thing is to make mindful and conscious purchases so that you can truly love what you buy and use it for years to come.
Malvika is a nature lover who talks about sustainable living, veganism, and slow fashion. She strongly believes in the power of individual actions and that if more people become intentional with their habits a huge difference can be made.