Minimalism is all about being introspective and figuring out the things that add some value to our life while removing everything that distracts us from focusing on what’s important.
This means that in order to be called true minimalists we must buy less and less ‘useless’ stuff for our survival. But, even minimalists are not buffered from consumerism, they also have to go shopping and buy things from time to time including things for your dog!
How do you purchase stuff and still remain minimalist?
The simple answer is, you shop with INTENTION.
Learning how to shop with an intention not only makes you more aware of you and your dog’s current possessions but it also lets you avoid ending up with a cluttered environment full of purposeless things.
To help you with this I have listed a few tried and tested strategies that’ll surely help you to buy things more thoughtfully.
Assess your intentions honestly
Before you decide to purchase anything, honestly assess why you want to buy it. It is really important to know your exact intentions behind your purchases in order to shop like minimalists.
Ask yourselves questions like:
- Do I really need this item?
- Will it add any value to my life?
- Am I buying this thing just to make me feel better or the dog?
- How useful is it for me and my dog?
- Is it a quality product that’ll last longer?
Sometimes it becomes really difficult to differentiate between your needs and wants. But, once you’ll answer these questions honestly, everything will be clear to you.
Unsubscribe from the store emails and messages
This is one of the best ways to buffer yourselves from temptations because it can be hard to say NO when your inbox is full of latest offers, discount codes, limited period sales and stuff like that.
These offers and discounts are just there to misguide you. In no way, they fulfil your purpose or needs. Choose which brands and companies you value and stay on their mailing lists only.
Paying all at once for everything that you purchase suggests that you’re choosing to live within your means. No credit card debts, no loans, no purchases that you can’t afford.
Admittedly, this is not an easy habit to attain, especially when you don’t have a lot of cash at your disposal.
But, paying up-front for everything ensures that you are not tied to anything in the coming months and you don’t have to pay hefty interests as well.
Plus, this habit will force you to have another look at your budget and decide if you can really afford the thing you want to buy or not.
Wait for sometime before buying
Wait for a few days before purchasing anything, this provides you with a time to assess your true intentions and helps you to avoid making impulsive purchases that you regret later.
For instance, you can make a rule for yourselves that if anything costs more than £50, you will never buy it immediately. Instead, you’ll wait for a few days and after that, if you still think that you need it then buy it.
Research before purchasing
Sometimes we get so excited to purchase something new that we totally forget to do basic research about it, and after a few days or weeks of usage, we start noticing flaws in it.
Therefore, make it a habit to research the products before you purchase them. Check reviews and ratings online, list down pros and cons, ask questions about it on Quora, etc.
Surely, this is a time-consuming process, but this will ultimately help you to make smart decisions and teach you to shop intentionally.
Practice the ‘one in one out’ rule
This rule is more effective than a total shopping ban for reducing unnecessary spending and clutter. The name itself is pretty self-explanatory: every time you bring something new into your house, you must remove an item to maintain the balance.
This not only helps in reducing the clutter but it also forces you to think carefully about their purchases, since it requires them to sacrifice an item at home.
If you choose to follow this rule then do it the right way, within an hour or two after returning home with your new purchase, another must leave because if you delay, it will never happen.
If you purchase eco-friendly dog toys they can go in the recycling bin when they have outlived their purpose. I tend to have some long-lasting toys for Dolly and then we have the ‘destroyable’ which I know will not last.
You can also practice the ‘one in one out’ rule to keep your dog interested in what toys and games they already have. Use a box of bag to stash all their current dog toys out of sight, then choose three for them to play with. After a couple of days, put these three toys away and select another three. This will mean you won’t have to keep buying new toys to gain the novel interest.
Buy experiences more often than things
Years from now, you probably won’t remember all of the things you bought, but you’ll surely remember all of the things that you did.
It doesn’t matter if you want to buy a gift or something nice for yourselves, experiences are always better than material things. This is because experiences result in longer-lasting happiness and they provide better memories.
Unlike physical possessions experiences do not become a burden on our lives, they don’t require care, maintenance, and constant attention.
Moreover, buying experiences instead of material things saves you from comparing your stuff with others which ultimately helps you to become more mindful of your purchases.
You can do this with your dog too. Going to new dog-friendly cafes, finding new woods to walk. If you can, treat yourself to a weekend away on a dog-friendly holiday and make new memories for you both.
You will both benefit from the new sights, sounds and smells without bringing any more ‘stuff’ home!
Always make and carry a list of items that you intend to buy whenever you go shopping in a pet store. Having a list and looking at it frequently will surely help you stay on track with your purchases. Especially if you are tempted by all the toys, treats, blankets, beds, harnesses, collars and leads!
Plan ‘no-spend’ days
You should consider freezing your spending for a few days to get more aware of your finances and this can also help you to mend your spending habits.
You can commit to a no-spend day, week, or even a month depending on your preferences. The key to making your no-spend time successful is to eliminate extra spending that you would do otherwise.
If you’re a beginner then start slowly, choose a no-spend day or a weekend, find ways to enjoy without spending money. For instance, instead of going out, you can plan a movie night at home and cook dinner yourself or go on a walk with your friend instead of going to happy hour.
I know that everyone has different priorities in life and they have their own unique way of doing things. So, it’s fine if these above points don’t resonate with you, the main thing here is to learn to focus on what really brings value to your life. Here’s four things to take away from this article.
- Assess your intentions
- Practice ‘one in one out’ rule
- Shop wisely
- Buy experiences, not stuff
I hope that this article provided you with some valuable insight into how you can shop like a minimalist for you and your dog. Do drop your views in the comments if you have any other ideas related to this topic, I would love to read them!