We, in this wonderful world, have an addiction to stuff.
Look around the room you’re in – I’m sure there are a lot of items you don’t really need but maybe got because it looks nice or was on sale. Have you noticed that the Wal-Mart down the street has turned into a “Super”centre or that field across the street is now home to a new strip mall or courthouse?
It really is quite ridiculous that we spend so much money and time into things that, in the long run, really don’t matter. I’ve started to ask myself, is this something that in 1 (or 2 or 5) year(s) I’m still going to have or use?
When I look back on the years that I used to buy impulsively, I really am a bit ashamed. I have so many things that still have the package on them, tags hanging off and items I’ve never opened! I have a relatively “addictive” personality, meaning that when I get stuck on something I get a little obsessed, then I’ll move on to something else and the same thing happens.
A good (or bad) example of this is when I started wearing makeup. I never wore it throughout school but a couple years ago when I was turning 19, I thought I would experiment a little. I researched companies and meticulously read labels for animal friendly products and started buying a few products here and there. Then I started buying more items and brushes and eventually came to buying a drawer cabinet and filling it with makeup. And honestly, only the top 2 drawers have opened products in it and the other 2 have items still in packages that I thought I would wear but really haven’t got much use out of any of it.
I know that this isn’t necessarily typical, but is an example of how people are in this day. The more options and items there are out there, the more chance there is of people overbuying. And with stores constantly popping up everywhere, it’s hard not to over consume.
Like I had said above, I really try to ask myself if this is something I’m really going to use. I used to buy things just because they were on sale and end up never using them. Why would I want to buy something to “save money” and then never use it and waste the money anyways! So I try to look at the longevity of the item and think if there is an alternative that may last longer but cost a little more (like a knife that costs $2 and lasts a year or 2, compared to a $15-$25 knife that’s going to last 5-10 years or longer).
One thing that has helped me is researching stores, companies and products to really find out how the company does things. It may take a while at first looking at everything, trying to remember which product comes from which company, etc. But it certainly is worth it, after everything is said and done. I actually feel like I’ve accomplished something and don’t feel ashamed for overspending or regretting something that I really didn’t need.
Another idea, rather than spending a lot of money, go to a second-hand store for books, magazines or clothes. I would spend money on new books, read them a couple times and look at them sitting on my shelf. Now if I want a book I’ll go to second-hand store, get what I want and when I’m done with it, give it to a friend or donate it. Unless it’s one that I know I’ll want to keep (or a new book that’s coming out), then I’ll usually buy it from the book store or try to order it through Kobo (at least there’s no trees getting cut down for ebooks!).
Since realizing that I needed to slow down and really think about what I’m buying has helped me a lot. It makes my conscience feel lighter, but also my apartment – I’m not constantly looking around and thinking about what I want to get and buy for a certain room. I like what I have now and really feel like a weight has lifted off of me. I don’t have the urge to buy everything: I buy a couple things that I really like and actually use and I feel great about it!