Save the Environment with Savvy Shopping
SALE!! FURTHER REDUCTIONS! 70% OFF! BUY! BUY! BUY!
by Jennifer Bain
Am I the only one breathing a sigh of relief that I missed the first rush of bargain-buying after Christmas? Foodstuff aside, I went shopping for the first time since Christmas, on the 15th of January. After a disappointing absence of socks among my Christmas presents, I made the careful decision to stock up on a fresh supply myself. Why? Because if you spend any time up and about on your feet in your daily life, socks are just some of those things that can only last so long before getting worn out, so a few annual replacements never go amiss… I expect a better turnout next Christmas. Do I regret that I missed the best bargains on other, perhaps more fashionable items? No. Of course not. I already have clothes. New things can certainly be very appealing, but I can’t help but wonder where all these wonderful new products come from, and indeed, where they’ll end up…
Besides, running around the shops on the 2nd of January, crushed amongst frenzied hyper-competitive shoppers comes at a cost and risks several unpleasant side-effects. Namely…
- Over-spending: When things are going cheap, people buy more, perhaps wasting money on things that they would not otherwise have bought.
- Panic-buying: Sales create a sense of urgency and you may find yourself buying something immediately, before the last one disappears off the shelves… But the faster things sell out, the faster they are replaced by new stock, so why hurry?!
- Excessive choice => excessive stress: The sheer abundance of things to choose from, combined with the palaver of sifting through the sale rails and shelves of fancy gadgets or beauty products can lead to sensory overload in even the most hardened of hyper-consumers, and the more time spent browsing, the less time spent making use of what you already have…
Of course, not everyone experiences all or indeed any of these side-effects and if you have the cash to flash, this warning may seem irrelevant to you, even morally counter-intuitive if we want to get the economic ball rolling again; but in reality, over-consumption of the world’s resources will ultimately affect us all, and let’s not forget that the more money we spend on the accumulation of inanimate things, the less we have for spending on good old-fashioned quality service!
And so, without further ado, here are a few tips for wiser spending:
Savvy Shopping Tips:
- Quality over quantity: Isn’t one high-quality item better than several throw-away items? High-quality things need to be replaced less often and can be shared around, swapped about and handed down to friends and family when no longer needed – the more generations an item can get through, the better-made it must be!
- Passion for fashion? If you believe that new stuff=status and consider your image one of your most important assets, you must concede that a careful consideration of the rest of the planet is a far better indicator of status than simply keeping up with the latest fads… So shake off those insecurities and take pride in your personal independence from the fickle world of fashion!
- Ask yourself – Do you really want it? Realistically, how often do you expect to use your potential purchase – and will it improve your life in the long-run? Before you hit the shops, write down exactly what it is that you need – a shopping list can keep you on the straight and narrow!
- Hire it! Why waste space for something you’ll only use on the odd occasion?
- Second hand: What better way to reduce waste than to re-use things which the original buyer no longer wants?
- Look around for a good store: If you can find a good reliable shop that depends on the income it generates from the reliable quality of its goods (and service!) rather than the number of products sold, then that is a precious find indeed!
- Buy local: Check that your purchase is both produced and packaged locally.
- Buy sustainable: Know where your products are coming from: Check for the FSC label on paper and wooden products to avoid funding illegal practices by unscrupulous companies; steer clear of excess packaging; look for evidence of responsible retailing such as the Rainforest Alliance logo, and be aware of things like un-ethically sourced palm oil in your confectionary and cosmetics…
- Replace your shopping fix: Swap your urge to hit the shops with another hobby: play a game with the family; organize a cards night with friends; learn a new skill; settle down with a good library book; exercise; do some cooking or gardening…
- Bring your own bags and make sure to let the shop assistant know before your purchase is placed in a fresh poly bag.
Got more stuff than you want?
If you are wondering what to do with your unwanted Christmas presents or are simply clearing the clutter, there are several places you can take your unwanted things:
- A charity shop
- Sell, swap or give away online (visit Freegle)
- The GK swap shop is running on Fridays and Saturdays, 10am till 4pm, until the end of January. Bring something along and you can take something away!
And with that, I wish you all happiness and prosperity in the year ahead!
For learning resources about over-consumption and how it is affecting our planet and our health, visit http://storyofstuff.org/.
For more information and guides on ethical retail, visit http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/.|