My Biggest Money-Saving Trick?

Most of you know that I’ve been moving and packing recently. Like a lot of people, going through my things reminds me how stressful moving is and how much crap I actually have. All this stuff also reminded me of my biggest money-saving trick: buying less stuff.

I timed this move with my latest book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” I’ve waited a few weeks to get it from the library and I finished it within a few days.

I’ve been a huge fan of decluttering for a few years now, and this book details the simplest way to get rid of things. “Does this object bring you joy?”

Once you look at your stuff through that lens, it seems even easier to throw things away. I’m a sentimental person and prone to keeping things that others might discard, but using this question has made me more objective. You know instantly if an object brings you joy, and the process of dumping it out becomes much less fraught with hesitation.

In the midst of packing and throwing things away, I’ve realized that every item in the trash represents money spent. I don’t mind throwing things away, but I hate feeling like I spent money on something that ended up discarded.

That’s my biggest money-saving trick. Sales are great, coupons are fine, but if you really want to cut costs and save, then don’t buy it.

Most of us have more than we need. Now that I’ve pared down my wardrobe to only items that bring me joy, I’ve realized how small my closet looks compared to its former iterations. Yet I don’t struggle finding things to wear. It’s easier getting dressed in the morning and not having to sift past shirts and tank tops that I haven’t worn in years.

Buying something should be more of a big deal. It’s too easy to run to Target for toothpaste and find yourself trying on this year’s latest maxi dresses. Since I’ve been debt-free, I’ve noticed how much easier it is for me to spend money. Before, I used to research, save and wait before buying something like eye shadow. Now I can throw it in my basket without a second thought.

Most of us go through a big purge when we move. We throw away skincare samples we don’t need, shoes we don’t wear and movies we never watch. Then we move, get settled and start buying things again.

I’m not against consumption, but it needs to be conscious. One thing that helps is keeping similar items in the same place (a method highlighted in the book). If you can see all your jackets in one spot, you’ll realize that you don’t need a new raincoat. I also try to make sure I’ve read reviews of something I want to buy. If I do pull the trigger on something I’ve researched, I’m less likely to end up disliking it.

If you buy something you regret, don’t hesitate to return it. There’s no point in having something sit in your closet that you don’t wear. Even if you can’t return it, donate it or give it to a friend. Stuff that takes up space is pointless and stress-inducing.

Weeding out things you don’t like makes you realize the similarities between what’s left. It makes shopping easier. It helps you refine your style, your habits and your day-to-day life.

Even if you’re not moving, I encourage you to read this book and see what you can purge. Maybe your kitchen is full of wedding gifts you haven’t used. You might find out that you own too many pens and should avoid the back-to-school sales this week. You might realize that none of your jeans bring you joy. The next time you shop, consider each item thoughtfully and ask it the same question.

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