How to Escape Consumerism

Advertising is constantly shouting at us - left, right and center. Buy this and you certainly need that. Is it time to get away from your consumer lifestyle? Take time to embrace a life of true freedom, fulfillment and happiness. It may be difficult at first, but it's worth it and you could save a lot of money!


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    Measure the effect of advertising. Be aware of why, when, how much and how often advertising affects your spending habits. Advertisers are paid a lot of money to influence your subliminal mind with flashing pictures, soothing scenes and jingles that linger in your mind to connect you with a product. They convince you that having things is a lot of fun and that your happiness comes from having things. Notice how companies associate their product with happiness.
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    Shun advertising. If advertising is shouting at you everywhere, simply ignore every advertisement that comes on the radio or television, or reduce the amount of time you spend watching television.
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    Evaluate yourself. Be sure that you are the right kind of person for this lifestyle. Are you controlled by greed? If you love to keep up with your neighbors, the latest fashion or fads, this is probably not for you. However, if you don't care about what other people think and have a passion to reduce or reuse to maintain our planet, then you should have no problem.
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    Appreciate what you have. Go home, twirl around and spend a good amount of time looking at and appreciating all the things you already have. Do you really need another pair of jeans? Or a better toaster? Chances are, the answer is no. Remember, it's not having what you want, it's wanting what you've got.
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    Think thrice. Before you buy ANYTHING, be it a new hoody or an overpriced sandwich, ask yourself at least three times if you really need it to live. Walk away from it, sit down, have a think about it, come back and face the object in question.
    • You can also ask yourself how your purchase will impact other people or the planet. Were people paid fairly in the production process and was care taken for the environment? Is there a fair trade product that is similar to the product you are considering?
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    Make a list. Everyone has a wish list. Just wait a while longer and you'll realize that you can get by without whatever is on the list.
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    Stop buying. Ok, let's be realistic - stop buying from places you know to be ethically or environmentally dodgy. This includes clothing shops where you suspect the clothes to be made in sweatshops and huge monopoly supermarkets. Big no-nos include McDonalds, Walmart, and British Petroleum (BP).
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    Compare. Check out small family run businesses, markets and charity/thrift stores. You can find good bargains at charity shops, especially if you look in a wealthy area!
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    Bargain and recycle. Do your friends have something you need and vice versa? Can you recycle something into something else that is more useful? There are many raw materials that already exist within your home - just use your imagination and create something new. Fabrics are a great resource.
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    Think of your long term goals. Is buying this today going to bring you happiness and security tomorrow?


  • To stay inspired, keep a list of all the money you're saving in the process of becoming less of a consumer.


  • Dressing in clothes that are not the latest fashion/style/from Topshop may get you weird looks/comments at school/college/work. Ignore all of them, because you are better than those poor little people trapped in their consumer ways.
  • Graffiti, as vandalism, is illegal, and you could be arrested. Only do it on property where you have permission and legal rights to proceed.

Things You'll Need

  • A strong will to be a better person.

Article Info

Categories: Sustainable Living | Philosophy