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How to Rethink Your Buying Habits

Annie Annie 09 Jun 2023 How to Rethink Your Buying Habits

As consumers, we shop for a variety of reasons, from passing the time to when we’re sad or celebrating. But consumerism isn’t the path towards a meaningful life, and we know that happiness is not tied to how many things we own, nor is it beneficial for the environment. Being more intentional with your money will not only help you reduce waste and save money, but it will also contribute towards a reduction in the amount of waste we produce globally. 

Understand your triggers

If you’re someone who shops a lot, you might have certain triggers or weaknesses where your urge to shop is higher. For example, maybe you’re someone who shops when they’ve had a bad day, where buying new goods serves as a pick me up when you’re stressed or overwhelmed. Or maybe you find yourself reaching for your credit card when you’re celebrating. Are you someone who can’t stay away from a sale or a discount? 

Knowing your triggers can help you identify those moments when you’re likely to buy unnecessary items. If you’re tempted by sales, for example, you can unsubscribe from store email lists where you might receive codes and encouragement to shop when you normally wouldn't. If you’re an emotional shopper, on the other hand, you might look for alternative ways to manage your emotions that don’t involve buying more. 

Consider the reason behind every purchase

Moving away from mindless consumption takes effort. You need to think about why you’re buying a product and the reasons why you need it. Are you just placing an online order out of boredom or is it something you really need? 

There will undoubtedly be items you need to purchase, but in those moments, consider if there are businesses you can shop from that are more sustainable. Greenwashing is a major problem, with businesses trying to appeal to sustainably-minded shoppers without backing up their green credentials. So, when you’re thinking about making a purchase, first think about whether it’s essential and then consider where you can buy from for the least environmental impact. 

Experiment with a temporary shopping ban

The first step to changing how you shop is looking at what you have, your lifestyle and where you spend most of your time and energy. Often, we buy without really thinking about what we actually use and need in our lives, which means we accumulate clutter which encourages waste. 

To remedy this, implement a temporary shopping ban and take the time to evaluate the bigger picture such as your income, your monthly expenditure and your day to day pursuits. For example, your current spending habits might push your salary’s limits, or you might be overspending on a certain hobby that you never have time to actually take part in. 

With a spending ban, you’ll have the chance to really reflect on where you want to spend your money and what’s important to you. More often than not, a few days away from the purchase that’s caught your eye can be enough to remind you you don’t really need it.

Carry out an audit

Often, we’re creatures of habit and that results in us buying multiples of items we feel comfortable with. You might find that you have multiple versions of the same shoes, for example, or various sweatshirts in the same colour. But if you don’t audit your shopping habits and look at where you spend most of your money, you’ll likely make the same mistakes again and again. 

Once you assess what you have at home, you’ll have a clear overview of not only what you no longer need to buy but also where you tend to overspend. Have you ever considered adopting a capsule wardrobe? This can serve as a resource when you’re making future purchases. For example, if you find yourself tempted by another dress, you can look back to your audit and see that you do, in fact, already have several dresses that might work for the occasion. 

Shop for value

Cheap products may seem like great value in the moment, and for many people they might be the only option available, but they do contribute towards a harmful disposable economy that damages the environment. 

Lower quality clothes and electronics, toys or cooking equipment are likely to break or become damaged more quickly, which means they’ll end up in a landfill. What’s more, because you didn’t spend as much on it initially, you’re less inclined to really value the item and repair it if it becomes broken. 

If your budget allows, it’s recommended that you buy the best quality you can afford and buy from brands that value high quality manufacturing and materials. These products are better for your wallet in the long term, but they’re also kinder to the environment because you’re likely to take better care of them and repair them rather than throw them away. And if you can combine great quality with sustainability, more so the better. 

Learning how to stop buying more and buying better quality instead can take time, but it doesn’t have to be a complicated shift. In fact, these tips can help you create more sustainable, greener shopping habits that will not only help you save money and minimise waste but, more importantly, contribute towards a healthier planet.

Shop used instead of new

You don’t need to buy a brand new product every time you need something in your life, and making the switch to used can really help to lower your carbon footprint and help you create more sustainable shopping habits. 

Buying used provides you with an opportunity to find unique items and promotes a more sustainable future, keeping products in circulation for longer. There are numerous online platforms you can use to buy and sell items in a more sustainable way, enabling you to find a bargain and minimise the need for the mining of new resources. But you might also trade with friends and family or look to local thrift stores for used products when you need a new item. 

Shop with compassion

Finally, we urge you to shop with compassion. No more than you really need. Always vegan, fair and as sustainable as possible.

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