reducing consumption

1. Think: “need” or “want”?

2. Substitute chocolate or other cheap or free treat: walk outside (alas, I’m spoiled, living in Vancouver…), library book, etc.

3. Ooooh: novelties: cheap stuff that’s eco-friendly–vintage/thift store clothes, charity shops, markets, and cheap online stuff. This is why I love Silk Naturals: lippies and eye shadows around $5, loads of colours, so a little treat won’t hurt.

4. Actually, just thinking first is really useful.

5. Limit time and access for online shopping; if you don’t trust yourself, set up auto-blocks on certain sites (ex. Sephora) with credit card. I did this. Yes, I’m that sad, and I trust myself that little. I also have no TV, as it’s that or…6-hour-zombie-sessions…

6. Shopping in the real world: do if possible with responsible good friends who will look after you–dissuade you from impulse buys, that sort of thing; close friends who know your danger and weak points. If impulse buying is a serious issue, have a friend look after your wallet and chaperone you. DHs and other significant attachments can be handy for this too–can be an excuse to get a non-girly individual to carry a really girly bag for you 🙂

7. If shopping on your own: leave credit card at home; ideally, bring only cash, no debit card either. This prevents being able to pay for anything.

8. If it’s not that bad: set yourself an upper limit for impulse buys, novelties, etc. Cash only.

9. There’s also that whole conscience thing, beating yourself up with a big stick. Sure, but life’s for living too. My compromises so I can sleep at night:

(9a) set up charity donations by monthly direct debit, at the end of the year; same principle as paying tithes if you’re of a religious persuasion (many do something like this, not just Christians). I do 10% of income. When I was in the US and–being a foreigner–subject to taxation without representation, but with tax dollars going to fund things I objected to, I donated the same amount I reckoned was going from my taxes to defence budgets and suchlike, to hippie peacenik human rights organizations.

(9b) if you buy a luxury item above your self-imposed limit, donate the same amount of money to charity–or to the first beggar/pan-handler/homeless person you see in the street afterwards.
Limits can be carried forward and accumulated: ex. $15/month, so if you spend $20, donate $20. But you could wait a month, and then “deserve” a $30 spend.

10. Basically, pretent you’re a kid, or a teenager, with pocket-money–but you’re doing your own self-parenting.

Sympathies–it’s hard!!! And did I mention, I am weak. Easily led astray. No will-power. Down-side of being “young at heart”, heh.

Galloping consumption (no horses were harmed in the process); c/o the splendid Librarisaurus.

Image at top: Barbara Kruger


    • gingerama

      hi there–yes, you can quote it, so long as this is for non-commercial use and it’s properly attributed (as per Creative Commons licence)!

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