Spend less, consume better

Spend less, consume better

By consuming better, you can stretch your hard-earned dollars and thumb your nose at consumer culture.

1. Buy right the first time

Ask yourself if you really need the thing before buying it.

Instead of making an impulse buy, sit on it for a few days or weeks. Wait a day or two and once you have a cool head you may decide that you really didn’t want it or need it that much.

Have you made up your mind to go for it? Try to find a good sale, if possible.

Shop around – or go on the web – to:

  • Gather all information required for a well-thought-out purchase
  • Get the best deal possible
  • Get a comprehensive warranty on your purchase

When buying something that you plan to keep for years:

  • Carefully select items you will enjoy for a long time
  • Go for colours or styles that will stand the test of time
  • Aim for quality. It will pay more, but you are shelling out once for quality items instead of paying every three or four years for items that end up in the recycling bin

2. Recycle to give objects a second life

Before tossing an object, consider giving it a new lease on life.

If you think you’re not creative or artistic enough, start off with baby steps:

  • Reuse glass containers to store pasta, coffee or nuts
  • Make an old piece of furniture new again: strip it down, repaint it
  • Design furniture out of recycled wood
  • Repurpose a mirror into a decorative tray
  • Use leftover fabric scraps to make Halloween costumes or even reupholster cushions or lampshades. Get creative!

Switch up colours on walls. You’ll see your current possessions in a new light.

Scour yard sales: you could end up snagging an item that will go perfectly with what you already have and liven up your décor.

3. Extend the life of your possessions

Maintain your belongings and fix them when they show signs of wear and tear. There are many online tutorials to show you how.

Do you prefer dealing with experts? Leave your shoes and boots with the shoemaker, your clothes with a seamstress and your furniture with a cabinetmaker.

Take advantage of the warranty that comes with these goods.

Give away or sell things you no longer use. They could be the right fit for someone else and prove to be useful.

Resist the urge to replace your possessions, household appliances for example, in order to enjoy the newest innovation or latest technological advances. Do you really need a washing machine with 14 wash cycles?

4. Do more with less

There are countless ways to do more with less and everyone embraces those that suit their specific needs and circumstances. Here are some potential ideas:

  • Cook at home instead of going out. Money spent on dinner for two at a reputable restaurant equals several nutritious meals for the entire family.
  • Reduce the number of housecleaning products you use. Vinegar, baking soda and a single all-purpose cleaner will do the trick in most cases. They are not only safer for your health and the environment, but they cost less.
  • Reduce the amount of shampoo, toothpaste and soap used on a daily basis. Do the same for laundry detergent and dish soap.
  • Lower the temperature in bedrooms at night or, even better, in every room in the house.
  • Hang clothes on the line or drying rack instead of using the dryer to save electricity and keep your clothes in better shape longer.
  • Adopt a minimalist lifestyle. Benefits guaranteed.

5. Buy local

Some regions coordinate activities that allow the public to discover local talent. Enjoy browsing through these open-house days to discover new products.

Wander through public markets in your area.

Some online vendor sites like Etsy offer unique items crafted by artisans and communities and promote products by region.

Local merchant groups have Facebook pages. Take a look and discover the wealth of products available in your neck of the woods.

6. Plan spending

Prepare a budget to help you understand where your money is going and get a better idea of your spending habits.

Draw up a list of things you want to buy, then add them to your budget by spreading the purchases out over time. You will then get an overview of your purchase planning.

Apply tried-and-true tricks when food shopping to lower your grocery bill.

Visit secondhand stores, barter, take your turn lending and borrowing. In a nutshell, there are many ways for you to spend less and consume better.