After writing a post about decision making, I thought I’d focus on a decision we all make on a continual basis. Shopping. Purchasing. Spending money. As a society, we love to shop. Whether for shoes, clothes, makeup or groceries. We buy a lot of stuff. And every purchase we make produces a ripple effect. Not just from our wallets, but out into the world as well. So make the decision right now. To be a better shopper.
You see, one of the most important aspects of the shopping experience is awareness. Sadly, this is also what usually gets left behind. Instead of paying attention to what we’re buying, why we’re buying it, and who we are buying from. We just buy. Out of impulse. Desire. Boredom. Convenience.
It’s easy to pay attention to the price tags on our purchases, because that directly affects us. We don’t want to be ripped off. We want more bang for our buck. And we don’t want to spend more than we have to. I get it. Money is important.
*Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, so if you purchase anything, I earn a small commission. Thank you for your support.
What Are You Buying?
But outside of money, have you really thought about what you are buying? Genuinely paid attention to the products in your cart? The things you order online. And the sale items you just had to have. Do you actually need them? Do you absolutely love them? Is it what you really want, or are the purchases just convenient?
As a society, we throw away 2.3 million tons of clothing every year. And that’s just clothing. Don’t let your purchases become part of another sad statistic. Really think about what you are buying, and determine if it will just be something that you inevitably get rid of at end of the year. Adding to the landfill waste, and unnecessary consumerism that already exists.
This may take time. Lots of time. I once spent over 3 months looking for a simple necklace. I knew exactly what I wanted, and was not going to buy something I didn’t love. It had to be silver, to match with everything. And it had to be short, like 13-14 inches, as I wanted to wear it. All. The. Time. I didn’t want it to bang in my face during yoga. I didn’t want it to smoosh into the soap while washing my face. Basically, I wanted to keep it on continuously, and be able to do everything with it. Without spending a fortune.
Why Are You Buying It?
Now you may have decided that you absolutely love and wanna purchase a specific item. But have you asked yourself why? Why are you buying it? What is the real reason behind your purchase? To impress someone. To feel better about yourself. Is there a void that needs to be filled? Or do you just “have” to have it? I really don’t care what your reasons are, just make sure you do.
For my necklace, why did I want to buy it?
- I had been looking for an exact necklace for a long time and finally found one.
- I wanted a single necklace I could wear all the time. To help me look presentable, without having to change my jewelry every day.
- It’s not too expensive. My daughter broke my last 2 necklaces, so I’m not going to spend a ton of money knowing she might destroy another one.
Who Are You Buying From?
Last, but probably the most significant, is who are you buying your items from? This matters because it not only affects you, but the rest of the world as well. Every purchase you make supports a business. When you buy something, it says “I love you & your business so much, because out of all the other places I could have shopped, I chose here.” Choose wisely, where you shop, and from whom. Every cent you spend supports someone.
Suggestions to Help You Be a Better Shopper!
Go Cruelty- Free
When it comes to beauty, if it isn’t cruelty-free, I don’t even entertain the option. I don’t care how good the product is, or how many rave reviews it has. I will not buy it. There are way too many beauty products and companies out there for me to support. So, the ones still hurting and killing animals will no longer get my money. Again, it’s a choice. Vanity < Animals. Here are some websites that provide more details about cruelty-free companies and products.
Here are some cruelty-free companies I’ve personally tried and loved. They vary in price and product.
Support Small, Private & Home Run Businesses
We all know the big companies out there. They’re huge, massive, and typically convenient. But they definitely don’t need our money, and probably don’t care if we shop from them or not. But….. the single mom selling handmade soap from her home. She’ll notice. She’ll appreciate your business. And honestly, she deserves your money more anyway. So anytime you can help out a friend, fellow acquaintance, small, family run business- do it.
Avoid these Companies at all Costs
I hate pointing fingers and passing blame, but we need to know who we’re buying from. I used to shop at these places. And recently bought some t-shirts I needed. But not anymore. After reading the VegNews article on Sweatshops. I am now appalled, and disgusted with not only the clothing companies, but also myself, for being completely unaware and oblivious.
These retail stores, I’m sure with 1000’s more, use sweatshop to manufacture their clothing. Now we have all heard of this before. Sweatshops are not something new. But when you read about the specific details from another woman- it’s heart breaking. She would work 70+ hours a week, in hot, sweaty, dangerous conditions, making $38 a month. Just for me to wear some stupid bra or t-shirt. No way! These companies can afford to do better than that. I don’t want to wear clothing, that is supposed to represent me, knowing it was made that way. No thanks.
There are a billion other clothing companies that either:
- provide better working conditions
- pay more
- keep their manufacturing local
- Or are hand-made retailers
Of course, I don’t have all the answers. Nor do I pretend to understand everything. But what I do know, is that knowledge is power. And every small step we take, or change we make, matters. So maybe we won’t be perfect customers, but our decisions help define us. So, start showing some good through the positive purchases you make. Be a better shopper 😉