shopping

EMBRACE ANTI-CONSUMERISM AND FEEL LIKE A MILLIONAIRE

Read on to learn about how to learn to shop more consciously and how to spend money on only the things you really want. This post originally appeared on SixtyandMe.com

“I don’t need it. I don’t want it. I’m not gonna buy it.” Say it three times and walk away. Say it and feel fabulous. You’re a part of a new anti-consumerism movement that will help you feel like a millionaire.

The anti-consumerism movement began as a reaction to the ‘haul’ videos prevalent on YouTube. If you’ve never seen one, here is the basic concept: A young woman (usually) sits in front of a camera with shopping bags filled with her ‘haul’ from a particular store.

She pulls out each item, describes it, says why she bought it, why it is so fabulous, and why you should have it, too. This huge trend has resulted in haul video channels and even videos on how to make haul videos.

Viral Consumerism

Haul videos are but one example of today’s viral consumerism. Viral as in virus, like a disease. Viral as in infection; consumerism has gotten to the viral point. A haul is not just one item but an overdose of purchase. A ‘spree,’ a ‘splurge.’

What’s the purpose of a haul video? To create envy, to demean the viewer and make them feel jealous, and to inspire purchasing. Brands love social media haul videos.

It’s free advertising by young people who have so many followers they are called ‘influencers.’ Often these influencers get their haul products free or are paid in some way so that they keep making more videos. It’s how they earn their living – by shopping for things they don’t need.

Meet Kimberly Clark, the Anti-Haul Queen

Say hello to Kimberly Clark. Not the paper company, but the drag queen. My millennial daughter turned me onto Kimberly Clark, an intelligent, eloquent individual with her own YouTube channel. She posts contemplative, insightful videos on a range of pertinent topics.

Kimberly says, “I want help to build a world in which we are not beholden to blind consumerism, unrealistic beauty standards and the patriarchy. Makeup can be radical as it represents the ability to progress and self-transform.”

The Anti-Haul: Why You Shouldn’t Buy Something

Kimberly began reviewing makeup products that she bought for her drag performances, and then gave it a second thought. She started an ‘anti-haul movement.’

In her anti-haul videos, she presents the marketing world’s top, ‘must have’ products and tells you why “I don’t want it. I don’t need it. I’m not gonna buy it.” She saves you lots of money and freedom from the clutter of products that will go unused and ultimately, tossed.

Anti-haul videos give you a good reason NOT to buy. And, they open your eyes to the power of marketing.

Desire Is Endless

Kimberly says, “Desire is endless, and marketing is made to create desire after desire. You want more, more, more.” Haul videos create envy. Wow, she has the money, she has every color, she must be better than me.

The Power of Marketing

“Consumerism is trying to part you with your money,” she says in her insightful Listen Up series on consumerism. “Haul videos urge you to buy; anti-haul videos give you good reasons not to buy.”

Three Gimmicks That Create Desire

‘Limited Editions’ are just bait. You think if you don’t buy a ‘special,’ limited edition that you’re missing out on something cool. Limited editions are created to jump start a fresh new desire and to create urgency. You’re missing out on nothing.

Beware of sales. Sales are where consumers make their biggest purchasing mistakes and why marketers are so keen on sales. Bottom line: don’t buy something just because it’s on sale. If it’s something you’ve been looking for, buy it. If it’s not something you’d pay full price for, don’t buy it on sale.

Do you really need that set? I wanted a tube of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. Then I saw a set with the cream, a lipstick and a body oil for a few dollars more. “Wow, that’s a great value,” I thought.

When faced with sets, ask yourself, are you really going to use the whole set? Guess what, the answer is no. Don’t buy the eye shadow set with 30 colors. Are you really going to use it? No. Buy what you need and nothing more.

Shopping as Entertainment

In the old days, people shopped when they needed something. Today, shopping has become entertainment. You’re bored, you buy a lipstick. You’re depressed, you buy a dress.

Save your money and deal with your emotions in a healthier way: read a book, talk to a friend, cook a beautiful meal, write in your journal, make a phone call.

Bottom line: Buy what you need. Enjoy what you have. Feel good about not spending money needlessly and then having to KonMari your house. Save your money for something else, like a well-deserved vacation. Learn a language. Send your kids to college.

I hope you enjoyed this discussion of how to feel like a millionaire by not spending money needlessly! Do look at the video links I posted in the article. Check out some ‘haul’ videos and see what you think. I’d love to read your thoughts below.

Have you stopped spending money casually? What tricks of the trade have you learned to live more consciously when it comes to spending? Please join the conversation!

By Elizabeth Dunkel

#ProjectPan

When I came home from London for Christmas break last year, I realized just how many makeup and beauty products I had. When I moved to London, I could only take what I could fit into a suitcase or two, so I chose the cream of the crop and fit all of my makeup into a medium-sized toiletries bag. When I came home for the first time four months after living with just the products I had originally brought with me, I decided I  seriously needed to minimize my at-home stash.

Enter Project Pan.

Project Pan is a project created online by fellow beauty enthusiasts who found themselves with too much makeup. Traditionally with the project you choose ten (or however many you want to do) beauty items you own to use up in their entirety before you buy any other beauty products. I’ve tweaked this a bit to where I am not choosing a specific number of products (I essentially want to use up ALL of my makeup) and once I do finish something, I grab its replacement out of the drawer in my room instead of buying something new.

I have loved beauty and makeup products since I was little. Since discovering Youtube and beauty vloggers a few years ago, my collection had grown embarrassingly large. I don’t wear a lot of makeup – there was no way I could finish those products in this lifetime. After clearing out my collection, I decided to do something I think I had only done a handful of times since I started wearing makeup: I was going to finish a product before I bought a new one. In this consumer driven world (and thanks largely to the Youtube beauty community), we are encouraged to have way more products than we could ever need. The hype surrounding a new lipstick or mascara makes you want to try it yourself and add it to your own collection.

Now I challenge myself to completely use up a product before moving on to the next one. I have three backup bronzers patiently waiting their turn for when I finish up the one I’m currently using and I shouldn’t need to buy another lipstick for at least five years. I want to focus on minimizing most things in my life and this one I’ve been doing fairly well with. My goal to produce less waste will be helped through this challenge and my resolution to use less plastic will be helped as well as I will have time to thoroughly research the best glass-packaged products to replace the plastic housed ones I finish.

I still love makeup and watch beauty vloggers on the regular, but I can appreciate it differently now. I no longer feel the need to run to the nearest Sephora and buy that lipstick or eyeshadow just because someone’s using it in a tutorial that I like. It’s also strangely satisfying to use a product up in its entirety!

No Buy January

I am now more than halfway through my ‘No Buy January’ endeavour. ‘No Buy January’ is a pretty common thing across the web – it’s a challenge not to buy anything unnecessary for the entire month. A lot of people (myself included) use it to reset after the expensive months leading up to Christmas. It also helps you get some perspective to what you are spending your money on and why. Here are a few things I’ve learned over the past twenty days:

  • I can be very good when it comes to buying things, but not so much when it comes to spending money on “experiences”: While I walked away from books, stayed away from clothing stores, and worked hard to use up my stores of toiletries instead of purchasing new items when they ran out, I still spent a fair bit of money on going to restaurants, cafes, and drinks with friends. I have definitely stayed in on more Fridays than not. I don’t make much at my part-time job and am trying to be choosy with what I do spend money on, but I could definitely do better. Of course, going out with friends and spending money on experiences is inherently better than spending money on things, but I would still like to save a bit more in that area. For example, if I know I’m going to a concert in Boston on a Saturday night, then I’ll stay in on Friday to balance out the spending.
  • Western culture revolves around shopping: During the weekends I am often at a loss at what to do that does not involve going to a store and buying something. So much of my adolescence was spent at the mall on weekends and during the summer that I am realizing that it’s a bit difficult not to pop out to the stores when I’m bored and need something to do. I love window shopping as much as the next person, but with this ‘No Buy January’ I also tried to refrain from participating in anything related to consumer culture. This is part of my goal to lead a more conscious lifestyle. Instead I am trying to blog, journal, read, and meet up with friends in restaurants or cafes.
  • Learning to not beat myself up over necessary purchases: Because I don’t make a lot of money at the moment, I’ve been finding this a bit difficult. I pride myself over being able to say ‘no’ to books and clothing but then punish myself for having to spend money on things I actually need. For example, I ran out of my all-time favorite moisturizer. I stood in the aisle of Whole Foods for probably 5 minutes debating whether to repurchase. This was silly because I NEEDED the moisturizer (it is currently the middle of winter in New England and I have perpetually dry skin so yes, moisturizer is a NEED). I also spent a lot of money on a pair of prescription sunglasses, another thing I needed since a late-entry New Years resolution of mine is to wear my glasses more. I need sunglasses to drive so I really did need to buy them. It didn’t stop me from feeling insanely guilty and like I’d failed the whole point of ‘No Buy January’, but in hindsight I am realizing that there’s no way to avoid purchases like these. I can avoid buying books because I have so many currently unread on my shelf and I can avoid clothes shopping because my closet is currently full with items that I love, but I can’t avoid some purchases no matter how hard I try and that’s okay.
  • Overall I’m learning that less is definitely more: This whole process is actually teaching me a lot about myself.  I don’t need things to define who I am. I am just as content (if not more so) sitting in a coffee shop with friends or a book than I am out shopping. I’m going to try and buy only what I absolutely need going forward. Sometimes I won’t need anything and sometimes I’ll need lots of things and that’s okay because every purchase I make will be a conscious one. I never want to clean out my closet or bathroom cabinet and throw away unworn shirts or unused products because I bought them in the moment without really thinking of their value.

I’m planning on continuing my ‘No Buy’ experiment into February. It’s the shortest month of the year so if you’re interested but don’t think you can do a whole 31 days then I recommend trying to give it a go next month. I also recommend downloading a money tracking app. At the start if the month I just searched for “money tracking” in the App Store and found Fudget, which is the most basic app on the planet, but it’s really helping me see exactly where my money is going and how small and unnecessary purchases can add up very quickly.

I recommend trying to instill a ‘No Buy’ even for a week to see how much stuff you can actually survive without. If you find yourself still wanting it at the end of the week/month/YEAR then by all means go for it!

Has anyone else ever done a ‘No Buy’ for a set period time? What did you like about it? What did you find the hardest? Let me know your thoughts!

A Place to Go for Ethical Inspiration – The Good Trade

 

Launched in Los Angeles in 2014 as a community for ethically-minded consumers, The Good Trade is an online publication featuring brands, products and ideas creating positive social change. The Good Trade was built on the fundamental idea consumers are collectively powerful and capable of driving significant social change through their everyday purchases, consumer preferences and lifestyle choices. Our team envisions a world where ethically minded consumers vote with their everyday purchases for a world that is sustainable and free from forced labor. – ABOUT The Good Trade

I can’t remember when or how I first heard about this site, but it has been a source of constant inspiration since deciding to try and live more ethically. There are articles and guides pertaining to ethical beauty, fashion, gifts, home, and travel that give tips and offer up some great alternative products. Some of my favorite guides include “35 Fair Trade & Ethical Clothing Brands Betting Against Fast Fashion” and “Conscious Living 101: 5 Books & 5 Documentaries That Will Open Your Eyes to the ‘Way’ Behind Conscious Living“. Guides and articles like these have helped keep me motivated when I feel discouraged or overwhelmed with the process of trying to live ethically and sustainably. It seems a lot easier to just pop into Zara, buy that £20 polyester top, and be done with it. You can’t do that while trying to live ethically. There is no more aimlessly wandering into a high-street store and having a peruse around. If I want a new piece of clothing, I have to do some research and more often than not, buy it online. Yes, this is better for my wallet as I can no longer spend my Saturdays wandering around Oxford Street, but it can also take the fun out of the shopping pastime. Luckily I can get on to The Good Trade and within a few minutes of reading their articles and guides, I feel completely encouraged and motivated to buy sustainably. The site offers so much information and options when it comes to fair trade and ethical fashion that I don’t really feel like I’m missing out on anything.

 

I highly recommend you take a peek at the site. You’ll find some inspiration and maybe a more ethical option to that H&M top you’ve been eyeing!