What’s consumerism? In line with Wikipedia, consumerism is a social and financial order that encourages the acquisition of products and companies in ever-increasing quantities.
The definition sounds cheap till the final couple of phrases, “ever-increasing quantities.”
Consumerism implies that we exponentially purchase items even when which means going into debt, compromising well being or squandering precious time whereas we’re nonetheless alive.
How will we keep away from consumerism in a world that’s engineered to make us endlessly want extra? Effectively, we are able to’t.
I do know that’s a little bit of a downer reply, nevertheless it’s the reality, my associates. We should essentially eat to outlive.
Whereas we are able to’t 100% reject consumerism, we do have the ability to keep away from the limitless vortex of excessiveness and get some company over our lives.
On this publish, we discover 13 methods that can assist you curb your consumption habits. They’ll be some stuff you’re already conscious of (and wish a pleasant reminder), however there are additionally a bunch of distinctive strategies in right here, which I’m excited to share with you!
Nonetheless, earlier than we get into the juicy ideas, we have to see for those who’re affected by the signs of extreme consumerism.
The signs of extreme consumerism
So that you assume you’ve bought your consumerism below management? Beneath are 9 indicators that you just nonetheless have some work to do.
- You purchase greater than you deliberate: for those who set out with a plan of what you could buy however constantly come again with greater than you anticipated, you then’re falling within the consumerist entice.
- You run out of space for storing to your stuff: generally it might probably’t be helped for those who dwell in a decent space otherwise you’re disorganised. However suppose you’re in an affordable scenario and stuff you herald don’t have an allotted house. In that case, you’re possible dwelling excessively.
- You rely an excessive amount of on return insurance policies: returning an merchandise is helpful. Notably if you could take a look at a product for the supposed objective, be it sizing for garments or a device for a constructing undertaking. Nonetheless, suppose you’re relying on returns for purchases. In that occasion, you’re undecided you want it, or for those who can’t afford it, you then’re most likely affected by an excessive amount of consumerism.
- You routinely search approval to your purchases: getting suggestions on purchases will be reassuring, particularly for those who’re indecisive. But, there’s a distinction between choosing somebody’s mind earlier than shopping for and seeking to justify your buy after the actual fact. In the event you’re searching for post-acquisition approval, you most likely don’t want the merchandise.
- You mistakenly purchase issues you have already got: not a lot to say right here. In the event you’re getting issues solely to grasp you have already got it, you then’re most likely deep in a consumerist cycle.
- You purchase issues on credit score: for those who’re strategic and disciplined, you should purchase issues on bank cards to amass factors and advantages. Nonetheless, for those who’re like the vast majority of us, you then’re weak to purchasing issues you possibly can’t afford.
- You continuously go over your funds: generally, you miss-forecast how a lot you could spend every month. However for those who set a sensible funds and discover that you just’re nonetheless going over, you then’re most likely consuming excessively.
- You remorse your purchases: the obvious signal that you’ve a purchasing behavior is you remorse stuff you purchased. Patrons regret is an amazing feeling and one we wish to keep away from.
- You’re hiding purchases: once I was 19, I took out a mortgage to purchase a model new bike. I hid it in my neighbours’ storage as a result of I used to be scared and embarrassed to point out my dad and mom. Did I would like the bike? Nope. Might I afford the bike? Nope. Was I an extreme client? You wager! In the event you’re hiding purchases out of your family members, you undoubtedly have some consumerism points.
How did you go? Do you’ve got any of the above signs? If not, kudos to you!
However for those who expertise a number of of those indicators, beneath are 13 methods that can assist you keep away from the entice of consumerism.
13 methods to cut back consumerism
Right here’s a breakdown of actions you can begin implementing right this moment.
1. Change quick buying with sluggish buying
Once we begin dropping management of our consumption habits, it’s normally as a result of we’re making fast, impulsive choices.
We reactively say sure to issues we haven’t totally thought by means of and as a substitute eat with our feelings.
Feelings ought to gasoline our choices, however our minds needs to be driving the automobile to make sure everybody makes it to the vacation spot safely.
One solution to make it possible for your thoughts is within the driver’s seat is to decelerate your shopping for course of. The best approach to do that is to jot down down a listing of the stuff you want or need, then take the time to analysis the most suitable choice. Give the method area as a substitute of performing unexpectedly.
If you could purchase one thing urgently, first replicate on why you’re in an pressing scenario. Is it as a result of an occasion randomly got here up that you just couldn’t management, and you could act swiftly? Or is it a results of your lack of planning?
If you could make a faster choice, nonetheless take a second to sluggish it down.
For instance, as a substitute of going straight to the retailers to purchase an merchandise that wants pressing changing, analysis the choices on-line, first studying critiques and watching a video or two. Even name forward to your native shops to see if they’ve the great in inventory.
One other profit to sluggish buying is you’ve got extra time to discover a second-hand possibility and even borrow the merchandise if it’s a short lived want. Extra on that later.
By slowing down your buying course of, you’re giving the ability to your thoughts over your feelings. You progress from a reactive state of consumption to a centered and proactive mindset. If you make this shift, you cut back the prospect of buying one thing you don’t want or received’t use.
2. Make the shopping for course of inconvenient
I recognise for many people, purchasing is sort of a enjoyable sport. The system of consumerism is designed to be addictive, which is all a part of the entice.
Within the New York Occasions best-selling e-book Atomic Habits, writer James Clear talks about how one of the simplest ways to cease unhealthy habits is to make them inconvenient and unattractive.
So if we wish to ease up on our purchasing habits, how can we make the method troublesome?
One method that’s labored extremely effectively for me is to undertake a mindful consumer mindset. What this implies is buying gadgets that not solely carry out effectively however are additionally moral and eco-friendly.
By layering on these necessities to what you eat, you immediately shrink your choices. It makes the method of purchasing extra tedious in consequence.
Have you learnt how laborious it’s to go right down to your native retail division retailer and discover clothes comprised of natural supplies? More often than not, the store assistants received’t be capable to provide you with any readability on the availability chain of the manufacturers they inventory.
If you realise will probably be difficult to discover a sustainable model of what you need, you mechanically decelerate your buying course of. This makes the expertise of purchasing a bit of extra off-putting.
Different examples of creating consumerism inconvenient embrace:
- Deleting any app in your cellphone or pill that’s associated to purchasing stuff. Sure, that features your web browsers.
- Transferring to a distant space the place you’re compelled to plan your journeys into city, and also you usually have poorer entry to the web. That is an excessive instance however efficient nonetheless.
- Minimize up your bank cards and take away them out of your units. In the event you bear in mind your card quantity, order a alternative card earlier than destroying it.
3. Go the mall take a look at
I grew up in a metropolis with a mall (or purchasing centres as we name them in Australia) in each area.
The mall was the place to hang around with my buddies, eat within the meals court docket, and, after all, purchase stuff I didn’t want.
I bear in mind deciding to purchase a Nintendo with a mate after a 20-minute dialog or shopping for a jacket for a “purchase one get one free” deal inside minutes of seeing it.
I realise malls don’t have the identical attract as they used to, however they’re nonetheless a consumerist hub for many people.
As I’ve stepped into minimalism, the mall represents a completely completely different expertise to me.
Once I enter a purchasing centre right this moment, it feels chaotic, overwhelming, complicated and unhappy.
The standard recommendation to cut back consumerism is to keep away from going to the mall altogether. I feel it is a optimistic begin. Nonetheless, it’s even higher for those who can go to the mall and never grow to be vulnerable to all of the stimulation.
So right here’s the train. Subsequent time you go to the mall, consider your self as a researcher (not a browser), take a step again, and do some people-watching.
Observe what persons are considering shopping for. Hear in to their conversations (with out stalking). Spend a minimum of an hour strolling by means of the mall as you do your observations. It’s really fascinating!
A sample I’ve noticed is the number of justifications we make when contemplating a purchase order. The conversations individuals have with store assistants and/or their spouses aren’t any completely different to the conversations you’ve got in the identical conditions.
You’ll hear feedback like:
“How lengthy is the sale for.”
“I do want to switch x.”
“What do you assume?”
“What’s your return coverage?”
“Mummy, can I get this?”
These are the statements I’ve picked up, however your expertise could also be completely different.
In any case, by observing individuals, you begin to see the mall in a very completely different gentle. You perceive the reality of the framework and the way we play a job within the system.
I nonetheless imagine we are able to benefit from the mall (for those who select to) and do some window purchasing, chat with store assistants or associates you randomly stumble upon. You can play some video games on the arcade with out cashing out your tickets on stuffed toys.
Use the mall as a measuring stick of your self-control. Do you assume you possibly can cross the take a look at?
4. Declutter to find the reality
You already know whenever you’re shifting home, and also you’re downright horrified by what number of issues you’ve got?
I skilled this just a few years in the past. It appeared like we didn’t have a lot on the floor, however issues saved flowing out of our storage areas to point out us the reality.
The quantity of litter you’ve got is a mirrored image of your consumption habits.
That is the equal of checking your financial institution steadiness earlier than making a monetary plan. Or taking your physique measurements earlier than working in the direction of a well being transformation.
So as a substitute of ready to maneuver homes, take the time to declutter your environment. Decluttering will reveal your behaviours and provide you with some further motivation to grow to be higher at managing your consumeristic tendencies.
5. Lengthen the lifespan of your issues
Repairing your issues will not be solely an efficient solution to cut back your consumption, nevertheless it’s additionally beneficial to the environment.
Suppose you’ve got the talents to knit your sweater or reinstate your espresso desk. In that case, you’re most likely already utilising your skills. However for those who’re like me and don’t possess any particular commerce expertise, you possibly can search assist out of your group.
Do you’ve got a useful pal or relative? Do you’ve got a restore cafe in your space?
Alternatively, you possibly can pay for the companies of a shoe smith or take your iPhone into the Genius Bar.
Learn extra: The Life Cycle of a Product
By extending the lifecycle of your issues, it provides you a larger respect for every little thing you possess. Naturally, you grow to be extra intentional about what you convey into your life.
6. Reframe purchasing as a ability
Generally we are able to tackle the id of being a artful shopper who can discover high quality issues at a discount worth.
We brag to our associates prompting them to guess how a lot we paid for a specific merchandise.
The extra we reinforce a consumer’s id, the extra time we wish to spend enhancing the ability—thus consuming excessively.
If we’re not cautious, we find yourself looking for the sake of purchasing, whereas failing to grasp why we have been purchasing within the first place.
Strive reframing purchasing from an occasion to a mission of discovering probably the most acceptable device that can assist you’ve got the perfect expertise.
For instance, after being car-less for a 12 months, my spouse and I purchased a 1999 Toyota Tarago regardless of not having any dependents.
The Tarago (which we named Maurie) was our getaway car. We purchased this automobile as a result of it was low cost and supposed to place the entire issues we owned into the van as we moved states. Maurie represented change and journey.
There was by no means a give attention to the method of shopping for the car. Maurie was merely enjoying a job in a larger expertise.
If you give attention to the function the factor you’re shopping for will play within the general expertise as a substitute of the expertise of purchasing itself, you’ll be capable to shift away from a consumerist mindset.
7. Keep away from the entice of “free”
You obtain a secret Santa present at work.
A pal presents you their rice cooker.
The native actual property agent provides you a calendar fridge magnet.
Your baby comes house from college with new toys.
The place is the draw back of receiving this stuff totally free? In any case, they’re all beneficiant acts.
In the event you settle for free presents that’ll genuinely add worth to your life, then sure, these are form acts.
Nonetheless, suppose you’re saying sure to issues you recognize you don’t want however try to justify them anyway. In that case, these presents are literally burdens.
Accepting free issues for the “potential” alternative will possible lead to extra litter, which implies extra choices down the highway.
Not solely that, by persevering with to say sure to numerous presents, you set the longer term expectation that you really want extra issues that you just don’t want.
So right here’s the problem. Default to no earlier than you say sure. Begin pushing again. Or a minimum of give your self a while to ponder a free provide.
Generally receiving free issues can’t be averted, and that’s okay. You simply wish to get out of the behavior of accepting something and every little thing on the precept it was free.
8. Do the deathbed take a look at
To not get too darkish, however for those who have been hypothetically in your deathbed right this moment, and also you have been reflecting in your life, what could be your fondest recollections? I’ll look forward to you as you write down a minimum of three recollections.
I wager your solutions have little to do with the stuff you obtained and extra to do with experiences you shared with others.
The standard of our lives is usually measured by moments of “that was an excellent time”, not “that factor I had was superior”.
So subsequent time you end up longing to purchase issues to really feel higher, do the deathbed take a look at to offer you on the spot perspective.
9. Change purchasing with hobbies
In line with data collected from the U.S. census, the typical American over the age of 15 spends 10 hours a month looking for client items. Whereas this quantity is steadily declining (allegedly from the efficiencies of the web), it’s nonetheless a big period of time to be spending on purchasing actions.
I get it. Procuring typically feels productive, enjoyable and exhilarating. However what if we reduce our time spent on purchasing in half? We might liberate an additional 5 hours a month to spend with household and even pursue the interest or side-hustle you’ve wished to begin. This isn’t to say the cash you’ll possible save.
To know how a lot time you spend purchasing, return and overview your whole client items (not together with groceries) you’ve bought within the final month. Estimate how lengthy it took to browse every buy, together with any on-line or offline analysis.
Do that train every month for the subsequent 6 months. The motion of monitoring how a lot time you spend purchasing will make it entrance of thoughts, and naturally, you’ll begin getting these hours again to do different issues.
10. Deal with your issues like stock
When you’ve decluttered and Marie Kondo’d your own home, you need to have allotted area for every little thing you personal.
The objective now’s to deal with your issues like merchandise on cabinets in a retailer. Virtually, this implies is defending the “shelf area” to your stuff.
For instance, earlier than you resolve to purchase new footwear, take a look at your present storage scenario to your footwear. Do you’ve got an area in your shoe rack for a brand new pair? If not, you could liberate some area by eliminating an current pair earlier than shopping for new ones.
The method of liberating up area for brand new gadgets will add friction to performing on new purchases. It’s not about exponentially including issues to your storage which you’ll’t accommodate. You now need to be intentional about what number of gadgets you possibly can maintain at any given time.
I apply this precept to every little thing I personal. I’m conscious of what number of free hangers are in my closet, how a lot area we have now for cooking utensils, and what number of footwear I’ve in rotation.
It’s additionally frequent for fogeys to make use of the one in, one out technique for managing their child’s toys.
Understanding your stock makes your space for storing extra sacred. Subsequently you’ll be extra intentional about what you convey into your own home, figuring out that you just’ll possible must do away with one thing else first.
11. Borrow or lease as a substitute of purchase
A easy technique for getting your consumerism below management is to lease or borrow gadgets as a substitute of shopping for them.
Bought a marriage or funeral to attend? Take into account renting a costume or go well with for the event.
Want to make use of a drill for constructing your deck? See for those who can borrow one from your pals or household.
Operating out of area in your bookshelf? Borrow books at your native library.
The additional benefit of borrowing issues is that it provides a while strain to make use of them. Borrowing really helps you overcome procrastination.
12. Flip your consumption habits right into a sport or problem
In the event you’re somebody who likes a problem, strive a no-buy interval—which means, go with out buying a non-essential client good for an outlined timeframe.
Get your greatest pal concerned and see who can final the longest with out shopping for something. By gamifying our consumption habits, we flip what’s perceived as restriction into empowerment and enjoyable.
13. Apply minimalism
What’s the final word various to consumerism? Minimalism.
A minimalist is somebody who naturally rejects consumerism and sees worth in having fewer issues over extra issues.
Minimalism is a strong philosophy that impacts the way you view materials issues, your relationships, commitments, and digital stock.
By adopting a minimalist mindset, you give your self an actual likelihood of creating sustainable optimistic adjustments to the way you eat issues. In the event you’re new to the idea of minimalism, take a look at my freshmen guide on how to get started with minimalism.
The right way to keep away from consumerism
Hopefully, after studying this information, you’ve got loads of concepts to flee consumerism, create extra time, save extra money, and enhance your psychological well being.
What about you? Do you’ve got among the signs of extreme consumerism? How have you ever overcome your habits?
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