How I've Become More Mindful About What I Spend My Money On

Monday, 11 November 2019

I’m going to be honest here – I’ve never been very good at saving money. Shopping is one of my favourite things to do and I’ve always been a bit of an impulse shopper – my motto was ‘You can always return it, right?!’ - figuring that buyer’s remorse was always better than the regret of not having bought something.

TK Maxx and Homesense are probably my biggest weaknesses when it comes to impulse buying. I’ll pop in for a browse, and return an hour later with three notebooks, a dog bed, five pumpkin-scented candles, a novelty planter and last year’s Too Faced holiday eyeshadow palette. It’s an illness.

However, since buying a house and re-reading Marie Kondo’s ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying’, the impulse shopper in me has swiftly done a disappearing act. I think it might have something to do with the 12654 (slight exaggeration) ‘nick knacks’ I had to remove from my office when it came to decorating it a few months ago, as well coming to the realisation that having so much 'stuff' was just making me sad.

My wardrobe was fit to burst, with things constantly falling out. The amount of times I had to dismantle my Alex drawers to find something that had fallen down the back of them doesn't bear thinking about. My jewellery was such a big tangled mess that I could never find the piece I wanted to wear and don't even get me started on my overcrowded windowsill, brimming with far too many candles, planters, ornaments and who knows what else. Enough was enough.

When re-doing my dressing room, watching Marie Kondo's Netflix show and re-reading her book, I had a bit of an epiphany. All these things I spent my money on - how many of them actually made me happy? I had endless notebooks that were 'too nice' to write in, planters I hadn't filled, candles that I'd never burnt. I had too many clothes and accessories I couldn't find the ones I really loved, and just going about my day-to-day life was becoming such a struggle with so many inanimate objects getting in the way.

The realisation hit me the next time I visited my beloved TK Maxx. I would look and things and think 'That's nice' and know that normally, I'd be heading straight to the till with it. But something was different - I started asking reasonable questions like 'Where would I put it?', 'Would I actually use it?', 'Am I going to get much wear out of it?' and just like that - the impulse shopper in me was gone.

And, so far, I've stuck to it. It hasn't even been hard - I've just become much more mindful, and responsible, when it comes to what I spend my money on. I look at things and really think about how much use I'll get out of them, whether they will actually fit anywhere in my house, if I'll actually get round to writing in that notebook or wearing that pair of shoes. It has honestly changed my life. Since clearing out my house of all the meaningless crap I had, I'm much happier at home and can actually get to things.

Are you a bit of an impulse buyer like I was? Follow my tips the next time you're out shopping if you are - less 'That's going straight in my basket' and more 'Do I really need this?'