When we think about consuming responsibly, we often imagine that we have to say no to everything (hello, killjoy!), to vote when we buy (so much pressure!!), to refuse trinkets (not always easy without offending anyone), to resist temptations (iiiiiiiiiii!!!!), to force ourselves to buy lifeless beige things (no thanks)…
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Really. In fact, it’s not that at all. For me anyways.
For me, responsible consumption is
- Making thoughtful purchases
- Opting for quality
- Anticipating the future (and considering buying second-hand!)
What does this mean? Let me explain.
Make thoughtful purchases
I have a super impulsive side. Like, when I dive into a new project or habit… I dive in at a thousand miles an hour and leave everyone else in the dust (Road Runner style!) While some people would still be in the ideation stage, I already have my business plan, my team, my equipment. I’m kidding, but it gives you an idea of how fast I can go when I get excited.
So it’s a big challenge for me to put on the brakes and think before I buy.
But that’s what makes the difference between making purchases I regret and making purchases I’m proud of.
Here’s a simple example. A few months ago, I was interested in nutrition, because I don’t always digest well (OK I don’t digest much and I often eat things that are not good for me). While talking with a friend, I learned that 5% of the adult population has irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), including 3 women for 1 man.
Since moderation is not my middle name, I told myself THAT’S IT, I’VE UNCOVERED THE KEY TO ALL MY PROBLEMS!
And immediately, I ordered 10 recipe books on IBS and the FODMAP diet.
But, when I received the books—I realized that there were a lot of protein-citrus combinations, and a lot of dishes with dairy products (which I can’t digest well at all). I have to admit that if I had done a little more research before buying—for instance by testing 3–4 recipes on blogs before buying a complete library—I would have consumed much more responsibly.
Even if I’m conscious of it, I still do this kind of thing to this day. But as I write down these words for you, I aspire to remember them in the future!!
Opting for quality
For me, quality is also a key to consuming more responsibly.
In my kitchen, I have a Le Creuset (a cast-iron Dutch oven of great quality), which must be more than thirty years old. It is in this pot that I cook all my simmered dishes. Why am I telling you about my cookware? Well, because I inherited it, but if I had to buy a new covered pot, I wouldn’t buy anything other than this one, because it’s unkillable. (and it’s pretty too.)
The same goes for my Vitamix blender, which I’ve had for almost 10 years and still works just as well (by the way, it’s the only appliance that allows me to serve the kids a ton of vegetables in the form of soups and smoothies that they devour without making a fuss!)
Yes, quality often costs more… But when you think about the lifespan of what you are purchasing, you realize that the investment is well worth it.
Because after all, buying 5 poor quality blenders in 10 years (at let’s say $200 each), is more expensive than buying one good quality one in 10 years (at let’s say $800).
Ditto for clothes. Ditto for furniture. Ditto for bedding…
Anticipate the future and consider buying second-hand
Buying second-hand is a great way to stay budget conscious. Because, of course, it’s nice to strive to buy only high quality, but if you can’t afford it, it can be very frustrating. And if it’s not a question of means but you don’t necessarily want to invest in things that you won’t keep for a long time (for example, everything you need to welcome a new baby—or children’s clothes that will only last for one season!), it’s perfectly okay to make different choices, because considering the lifespan of the things you want to buy, it may not be relevant to opt for the best quality.
When we had Laurent, we had already given away all our baby stuff, because we didn’t think we would have any more children. So we had to re-equip ourselves with everything, EVERYTHING! Well, to avoid spending a fortune or buying cheap, crappy things, we got a lot of second-hand stuff—by going to the local “vide-poussettes” (we lived in France at the time—it’s like a big collective garage sale with baby things) and by shopping on Vinted or the local classified ads. Besides his little mattress that I preferred to buy new, we found almost everything second-hand, so we didn’t have to buy super cheap stuff to avoid spending a fortune!
So there you have it: my easy tips to consume in a more responsible way… What are yours? I’m interested! Send me a message with your tips and thoughts and I’m sure that together, we will do better this year :).
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