How to Stop Yourself From Buying Stuff You Don't Need

Buyer's remorse happens to even the savviest shopper. We have all purchased items we "needed" only to have the clothes hanging in our closet (with the tags still attached) months later. While the occasional shopping blunder is understandable—hey, it's hard to resist a good sale!—repeat offenders should take a moment to figure out why they keep buying the wrong thing. 

Review these five tips before your next shopping trip to keep your impulse buys in check.

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Buy What You Actually Need

Trying on Jewelry
Photo: Getty/Reza Estakhrian

These tips may seem obvious, but it ​can be tough to turn down items that strike our fancy. Have you ever found yourself swooning over a pair of heels, entranced by a blingy necklace, or in love with the scarf simply because of the pretty pattern? This can happen way too often, but unfortunately, loving something just isn't reason enough to buy it.

If you can't figure out how to practically work the item into your rotation of fashion essentials, or how to pair it with your current wardrobe (not the wardrobe you wish you had) leave that pretty little thing behind.

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Shop for Items That Fit Your Lifestyle

Photo: Getty/Jason Loucas

Special event purchases aside, the items we wear the most are those that fit into our lifestyle. Do you buy heels because you like them but don't really have an occasion to wear them?

Look at your day-to-day life realistically and make sure you are purchasing things that have a real use.

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Avoid Items That Cause Discomfort

Photo: Getty/Dave & Les Jacobs

Do you walk like a baby deer taking its first steps when you put heels on? Does wool make you itch? All of these things should be considered when shopping. Any item that pinches, prods, pokes, or causes an allergic reaction isn't worth owning.

It may be difficult to put those gorgeous Manolo Blahnik heels back on the clearance rack, but even the most talented cobbler can't make shoes that are a size too small fit your feet. 

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Keep Your Current Wardrobe in Mind

Photo: Getty/Hybrid Images

It's important to think about your wardrobe before you buy. For example, accessories are the finishing touches that get added to make your wardrobe pop. However, if the accessories you're considering buying don't work with the clothing you already own, they're useless.

Make sure you are buying items in hues that work with your clothing's color palette, and choose necklaces that are the right length and work with the types of necklines you prefer.

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Never Shop When Bored (or Buzzed)

Woman shopping
Photo: Hero Images/ Hero Images/ Getty Images

Just like it is never smart to go to the grocery store when you're hungry, you should never shop when you are just looking to pass the time. Boredom and frustration often lead to impulse buys and haphazard purchases.

Similarly, shopping after one or two drinks may seem like a good idea in the moment (your go-to brunch spot is just a block away from that cute boutique), but that liquid courage may result in purchases you regret. 

Instead, shop only after you have taken a little time to inventory your wardrobe, and get a sense of what you need and know you will wear.