With holiday shopping about to get into full swing, I’ve started to think about how to be a more conscious consumer. And while it’s certainly a good idea to be conscious about our spending year round, we really have to up our game this time of year.
The holidays seem to make many of us go on unconscious spending sprees. We can get into shopping frenzies that can wreak havoc on our credit card balances, our relationships and eventually the landfills. My motivation for being a more conscious consumer has several components. From a personal financial standpoint all the way to not wasting earth’s valuable resources. Let’s take a look at what being a conscious consumer means.
What is a Conscious Consumer?
What does is mean to be conscious? I believe it means being fully aware of what one is doing. It means really being able to see what impact our actions or behaviors have on our own lives and the world we live in. Being a conscious consumer then means we no longer mindlessly purchase things. We stop trying to buy our way to happiness and success. We begin to go through a mental checklist of our values and goals before taking action with our money.
For the record, I don’t want to imply that I’ve always been a perfect consumer. Lord knows, I’ve had my own years of unconscious spending, from ridiculous car purchases, clothes I never wore and handbags that could’ve made a mortgage payment. BUT, I can now say that I’m fully awake to the far reaching implications of being an unconscious consumer and I have changed my ways.
Aside from the financial side of consumerism, there’s another element that I have become more conscious of. Maybe you have too. It’s the impact that all of this mindless consuming is having on our planet. The resources that are being used and the pollution that is being created just so we can have more stuff. The minimalist movement, tiny house and off-grid living may not be “new” ideas, but they’re certainly making a comeback for a reason.
Why Be a More Conscious Consumer?
As I mentioned earlier, my personal motivation for being a more conscious consumer is three fold.
When we’re more conscious of where we’re spending our money, life just gets easier. Mindless spending leads to debt, stress and anxiety about the future. When we get truly honest about what our values and goals are, we can more easily direct our money to the right places. Buying things you really can’t afford or don’t really need is stealing from your future.
I decided that enough was enough. I don’t care what celebrities are wearing, what car my neighbor drives or where my clients are jetting off to (Ok, maybe a smidge on this one..Lol!). My financial stability means MORE than any of these things.
Personal Growth Challenge
When I started getting serious about being a more conscious consumer, It was a personal challenge. Somehow I knew that letting go of the trappings of my ego were becoming necessary for my own personal growth. No longer leaning on buying an expensive dress or having fancy dinners out to feel good about myself. I wanted the challenge of knowing who I was without these things. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with having nice things. But I found it a good exercise of the spirit to eliminate things that weren’t who I really was. Some of these things were just feeding an image that I wanted to portray.
So I ask you, who are you when all your stuff is taken away? If that’s a scary question, then it’s a sure sign that some growth is waiting for you behind all your material possessions. I found it to be quite LIBERATING to realize just how little we really need to live a good life and be happy.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know what our consumerism is doing to our planet. If you’re reading this then you most likely have EVERYTHING you could possibly need. Maybe not WANT, but need and much more. And yet somehow we keep gorging ourselves on material goods like it’s chocolate chip cookies without calories. We’re binging out on SO. MUCH. STUFF. But the consequences are there even if we choose not to see them.
When I began purging my life of unwanted and unnecessary stuff, it was humbling to say the least. Car load, after car load went to the thrift store. Tons more got sold on Ebay or the Facebook garage sale. Every time I thought I was getting to the end, more would surface. This closet and that drawer. I was OVER IT!
Now I won’t even so much as buy a Christmas wreath without first thinking about how I will get rid of it later. We MUST consider the end game with everything we buy.
13 Questions For Being a More Conscious Consumer
These are some questions that I encourage you to begin asking yourself before you buy ANYTHING. It won’t be an overnight fix, but these questions are a great place to begin to become a more conscious consumer:
- Who is my money supporting if I buy this?
- Is this who I want to support?
- Where was this made?
- Who was this made by?
- How far has it traveled to get to me?
- Is this the best option?
- Is this something I can afford?
- Is this something I will use often?
- Am I choosing quality over quantity?
- How will I dispose of this when I no longer want it?
- Is this timeless?
- Do I really need it?
- Do I love it?
Being a more conscious consumer is not only good for YOU, but also who we’re purchasing from. Let’s put our money where our values are. We can vote on the kind of world we want with our dollars.
I hope you’ll keep these 13 questions in mind not just during the holidays, but throughout the entire year. By being more conscious we’ll all be a little more financially secure and will help the environment one step at a time. It truly is a Win-Win in my book.
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