As the holiday season is approaching, the intensity of commercials is reaching its’ peak, awakening a consumer in every single one of us.
Let’s get it straight from the start: I am a consumer and so are you, and there is nothing particularly bad about it as long as we are conscious about the decisions we are making.
Consumer culture – the theory
For the biggest part, consumer culture is driven by a lifestyle choice, that concentrates on purchasing material goods to attain happiness and prove status.
Of course, there is nothing bad in the search of happiness. By the end of the day, isn’t it an ultimate goal in all of our lives, to be happy? Anyway…
We all are guilty of those “Oh, whatever, I might as well just get it” moments and that is alright. It is a different story, however, when such behavior becomes a habit. The vicious cycle of purchasing goods and attaining short term happiness might not only encourage materialism but also clutter the living space and mind.
But no, today I will not dig deeper into the famous “money cannot buy you happiness”. Instead, I am here to draw your attention to what drives our consumption choices.
Do your homework
In my belief, people consume more than they need without even realizing it. Purchasing has became a part of our everyday routine, just like waking up, eating and going to work. We do it without a question and that results in overspending. Every commercial we see or hear is encouraging us to buy more and so, we do it.
What I suggest doing is analysing the reasoning behind the purchases you are about to make. It does not necessarily have to result in you not buying the good or service. Instead, take that minute as reassurance to yourself that the decision you are making is not overly influenced by the media or opinion leaders.
Become more sustainable
Now that you know where your inner consumer is coming from, it is time to decide which item out of numerous options is the best for you (if you still think you need to purchase it).
In my opinion, it is worth investing a little bit more in quality items that will last longer. Instead of owning a few cheaper items that serve the same purpose and are barely ever used, buy one – the one you truly like and going to use up.
Also, do not forget to read labels and choose items that are not only better for you, but for the environment too. Think bigger.
Another thing that can help you not only understand what kind of consumer you are, but also save your time and money – is minimising the shopping/spending trips you make in a week by half. Take it as a challenge. Starting with food shopping, eating out, take away coffee, all that jazz, cut the outings in half.
Quite recently myself and significant other started to plan our meals for the week ahead. It helps not only stay on top of good eating habits but also saves the time we usually spend on numerous trips to groceries store throughout the week. Now we shop twice a week, Sunday and Thursday. If we didn’t buy those chocolate cookies on Sunday, we are not going to have any till Thursday. And no, that does not mean you should stock on cookies for the rest of your week when shopping on Sunday.
By the end of the day, consuming is not our enemy as long as we are conscious of what we are buying and why. It only takes a moment to stop and reflect on the habits we have. An honest moment with yourself.
If before starting to read this sentence you have caught yourself questioning your consuming habits – my job is here is done.