2014: less consumerism

My love language is gifts, which makes me more likely to buy a thing when I want to show my love. Or be more organized. Or be more grown-up. Or, well, anything.

I buy things. Things make me hope for better. Then I have to deal with said things, which devolves into maybe buying more things, and… yea. Too many things.

So if I have to buy things, I want to be more intentional about where I make my purchases.

For me, it’s about the people.

I have started to buy from a person (or a place owned by a person) I know, else from a place owned locally or by a company I believe in.

I do not think corporations are evil. (Hi, I work for a big one.) I do think *some* corporations aren’t good for the people in them or who buy from them. McDonald’s isn’t good for me as the buyer who eats the food or the person who works at the place. No more McDonald’s if I’m buying.

I’m not sure about Walmart. I don’t think you can complain about globalization or the impact of outsourcing on the American worker if you buy from Walmart, a corporation dedicated to low prices above all else. I don’t judge people who shop at Walmart, but I do judge those who b*tch and then still shop at Walmart. It’s all tied together for me. (I need to delve into why “hypocrisy” is a such a hot button for me at some point.)

I have been driving out of my way to buy paint and home improvement supplies from an Ace Hardware (versus Home Depot or Lowes) with a paint manager I really like who really cares about her work. I buy lumber from Home Depot, though, because John the lumber manager has put great effort into getting me accurate lumber cuts in the past.

Along these lines, I am going to continue to buy food from animals who had as happy a life as I can find or afford. I get that driving 20 miles out of my way to buy local, humanely-raised pork might not be a net benefit to the environment, but I am choosing the happy pig over the shorter drive. For someone else it might be about the drive; for me, it’s about the people (or animals).

Made in the USA doesn’t resonate for me personally. “Made by actual people who are craftsmen” does (regardless of where in the world they live). Barring that (as craftsmen-made wood screws are out of my price range, ha), I will buy from the best approximation of that spirit as I can.

I’m still struggling to find my way on what and when to buy.

I’d like to be more intentional about purchasing and not immediately assume I need to buy things to see improvement. Because I often assume I need to make a purchase to achieve <insert any word here>, I often don’t bother to try, because although I buy things as gifts, I often don’t buy the things I really need.

So, I’m going to try only buying off a list, which means I’m going to maintain a list of things to buy and then buy the things on that list. I also have to limit my opportunities to binge-buy, so no more Target trips for a while. I’m not going to buy on any day but Friday to stem the constant flow of incoming stuff. I’m not going to buy kid things (barring real needs) at all in the first quarter. I’m going to struggle mightily with all of this.

In the end, though, I’ll have what I want: what I need and want but not so much stuff.

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3 thoughts on “2014: less consumerism

  1. Yes, yes, yes. I am doing the same in 2014 – with slightly more emphasis on clothing. I am a mom with a corporate career (read: business casual or suits required every day). I buy the clothes to make me feel better at work and compensate for my guilt over working 60+ hours a week (another issue altogether), but then feel weighed down by all the stuff I’ve accumulated. I go crazy on Target trips and Amazon prime because of the limited amount of time I have to actually do the shopping, and it’s gotten out of hand.

    I’m so glad you’re blogging again. I’ve read you since WB and love your perspective on relationships, finances, motherhood, career, etc.

    • Thanks, Ellen! I’m getting the sense that, in blogland, 2014 is the year of cutting back and decluttering. Here’s the funny twist for me on your situation: I am going back to working in an office, so now, suddenly, my five pairs of Old Navy jeans and three favorite sweaters aren’t going to cut it. Given my history, though, I’m trying to acquire quality items more slowly than I might like, with some thoughtfulness, rather than freak out and binge shop cheap stuff. Do you read Corporette? I just found it and love it!

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