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When I first discovered natural and organic beauty, I admit I went a little crazy.  But for the last couple of years, my purchases have dropped significantly.  I found that I wanted to be more intentional about what I have and more conscious of how I use my products and my money.  In short, I aim to limit purchases and enjoy those that I do make while the products are their freshest and most vital.

Here is a list of strategies I use for maximizing my purchases (and my $) by staying on top of what I have.  This includes strategies for using up products, limiting purchases, and buying products that are multipurpose.

How to Use Up Products

  • Make lists of things I want to use up in a certain period of time and stick to it. (This gets old after a while and I feel like I want to be liberated!  However, it can work for a month or two, and it has for me.)
  • Focus on using the same product for consecutive days rather than jumping around from one to another.
  • Revisit my stash and deciding what items I can use up. (This also limits repeat purchases.)
  • Take partially used products with me to trips with the point to use them up while away.
    Repurposing items that did not work well for one area (i.e. face cream as body cream, body oil as hair oil)
  • Give away new or gently used products to friends or family members.

Limiting Purchases

  • Make things that I want myself, especially if I have most of the ingredients I’ll need.
  • Avoid purchases of ‘simple’ products that I can make myself.
  • Avoid overpriced products. (Quality is usually more pricey, but I have my limits on how much I will spend.)
  • Weigh the pros and cons of each item and decide if I really want it, or need it.
  • Being picky about ingredients and sellers: truly natural? organic? fair-trade?  preservative-free?  good, consistent feedback?  general shop philosophy?
  • Resist sales from shops I’m not familiar with or whose products I don’t really want or need.
  • Keep an inventory, mental or otherwise, of products and types of products I have to avoid repeat purchases.
  • Buy fewer items (one or two) from a new shop or line to make sure I like them before buying multiples.
  • Be reflective on what works well and what does not work well for me with certain ingredients, formulas, etc.
  • Buy fewer, higher quality, and more effective products that I know will perform well rather than more products that are less quality.

Sometimes I feel that I overthink purchases to the point where I’m obsessive.  But I don’t go through this list bullet point by bullet point every time I make a purchase decision.  It’s just that these strategies influence my purchasing habits.  I’ve found that it really limits overspending and overstocking.

Case in point, this Black Friday I only purchased ONE item for $15.  ONE.  That is truly unusual for me, especially with all of the sales that were to be had.  I think it stemmed from realizing that the 20+ items that were in my cart on Etsy (as a sort of wishlist) were products that I already had in some other form, or didn’t really need at the time.

Sometimes, it’s about asking ourselves the tough questions that take the excitement out of the potential purchase and the huge sale that we’ve encountered.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and philosophies on these issues.  How do you decide on a purchase?  How do you maximize purchases while not taking all of the enjoyment out of them?