Do I want or do I need “it”?

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Earlier this week, I was reading an article about Affluenza, the idea that we are a consumerist society and we buy what we want, when we want it, and that this way of living puts the way we live in danger.  So, the example is given, if we are thirsty and out and about, we buy a bottle of water – drinking the water and throwing away the bottle, giving no thought to the natural resources that have gone into making that bottle (resources that are finite) or to the damage that bottle might be doing to the environment.

The article wasn’t saying that we shouldn’t buy things but it was making the case that, as a society, we are somewhat addicted to buying things for the sake of buying them.  It was saying that if you buy something then love it, care for it, and use it until it needs replacing.  Only this way will we change the way we live and the way we think.  We will all end up better off financially and mentally because an addiction to buying things can be more than a bit stressful.

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I’m paraphrasing a lot here and there is a book to go along with the article that I plan on buying and reading but, even with the article, it got me thinking about how much of this, even though I would say I’m a bit of a spendthrift if asked, applies to me.  I don’t spend a lot of time shopping but my family do have a tendency to replace things more often than maybe we should – or certain things, mainly technology.

In other areas of my life, I’m pretty good at not spending.  I am a big fan of re-using items (turning old bed sheets into a wigwam for my daughter’s birthday the other year for example) and hand-me-downs are a family tradition, with me now serving tea out of my nana’s Hornsea tea set (which also has pride of place in my kitchen and makes me smile every time I look at it because of the childhood memories it brings).

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I used to be better though.  I used to make vs. buy, knitting scarves, baking bread, and giving home presents like bath oils.  Somewhere along the line, though, I have lost this habit.  Now, first thing I do is go online and see what I can buy.  In part, this blog was set up as a way for me to rediscover this love of making vs. buying and has definitely kick-started my home-baking again but I’d like to go beyond that, especially as I now have time.

Time is, I think, one of the biggest things for me when it comes to spending.  Or it was.  With working as much as I did and trying to be a perfect “soccer mom” as well, I didn’t have much time to think, let alone, worry about whether I was spending money on things I really needed and would use or whether this money was going on things I would be replacing no sooner had it being unboxed.  Now, I don’t have that problem – or that excuse – and the article has made me feel guilty enough about my behaviour to want to change.

The timing seems pretty perfect too, with Christmas around the corner and my daughter’s letter to Santa just written.  It’s a long list and some of it, possibly most of it, are things I know that she will enjoy for not much longer than it takes boxing day to roll around.  Before I get onto Amazon, I will be thinking about what she really might want from that list – what will she likely play with and enjoy long term.

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And for others, I’ll be thinking about what I can make over the next month or are there other places to buy things (charity shops for example).  If I manage it, it will also make for some (hopefully) interesting blog posts so it’s a bit of a win, win there.

What about you – do you buy because you want something or because you need it?  And do you hold onto things forever or replace them with the seasons?

Emma x

The Lovin' Life Linky

50 Shades of Age | Seize the Day Project | And Anyways | Write of the Middle | Deep Fried Fruit.

Images courtesy of pixabay.

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16 thoughts on “Do I want or do I need “it”?

  1. I like to only replace when they break. Actually that becomes a problem with clothes when I’m down to like one pair of pants and it takes me ages to find anything that fits, let alone that I like. I need to be more proactive about some things!

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    • If it makes you feel better I have tights that are older than my marriage – and I’ve been married 15 years! Clothes are one thing I struggle to buy as well as very few things ever feel just right x

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  2. Oh yes Emma this is a biggie for me. I’m a ‘the more I have the more I want’ person.

    When I got my part-time job early in 2016 I didn’t have a mortgage. But before I knew it I’d upgraded into a bigger, nicer house and again had a mortgage.

    And now I’m working full time instead of part-time I’m already being more frivolous with my money.

    Having said that I think it’s good I recognise that and do spend some time thinking about what I’m going to spend money on. And my priorities are kinda weird. I’ve been okay bottles of red wine since I previously finished full time work, but would never allow myself to have a facial or massage or buy many clothes, for eg.

    #teamlovinlife

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    • It’s interesting what we are and aren’t willing to compromise on. When I was working it wasn’t just that I had more money but I had no time so everything was about convenience. Now I have time to think about what I want…which could be dangerous actually!

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  3. I usually buy because I need something but lately I find I am buying more because I want something. It’s because of all the brands I’ve become aware of through blogging and following people on Instagram. There are so many brands who’s stuff I love! My inbox is full of temptation all the time and shopping online is so easy and accessible! #TeamLovinLife

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  4. I’m hopeless with books & music – I always have been. I’m determined to not buy any more until December. Except for the book I’ll be buying at the airport tonight because I always buy a book at the airport.

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  5. Great post Emma. I’m very much a buy everything because I want it, rather than need it type of person. I made a pact with myself earlier this year to reduce the amount of shopping I do and also stop using plastic bags. I have certainly curtailed my shopping, but would like to reduce it even more. #TeamLovinLife

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    • It is hard. My husband is a buy then think about it person so it’s a balancing act in our house. Not buying is hard so good luck on your plan to curtail your shopping x

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  6. Thanks for sharing these thoughts. I totally believe that we are a throwaway society, and it is definitely harming our finances and environment. Your post was a reminder for me to get myself back to the basic and simple type of living that I embraced many years ago.

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  7. Hi Emma, and nice to meet you! Your blog is new to me I think. Two things I enjoy, which are also about living a more sustainable life, are op shopping (thrift shopping in the US I think it’s called) and tending my vege patch. Nothing beats the taste of home grown produce! Besides, it’s very grounding and relaxing to tinker in it each day 🙂

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    • Pleased to meet you too 🙂 I used to love thrift shopping and plan on doing more. I used to grow veggies too. This year I managed tomatoes and herbs but still. I agree with you on nothing tasting better!

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