With Black Friday just around the corner and the holiday season approaching, promotions and deals are everywhere and often try to lure us with their "unbeatable never seen before price" or "an offer you can't miss out on" slogans.
Marketing often creates needs in us, and then offers solutions (at a discount) to satisfy those needs. It also makes us believe that gifts - preferably in large quantities - are essential to successful holiday celebrations.
Faced with this profusion of discounts and attractive advertisements that promise pleasure and satisfaction, it can be difficult to resist this sense of artificial urgency and to buy (or not) in a conscious, sustainable, and thoughtful way.
In this time of year that can sometimes feel hectic, we would like to share with you some advice to guide you towards shopping habits that are more gentle for you, for humans and for the planet.
Less, but better
« Buy less. Choose less. Make it last.Quality, not quantity. »
- Vivienne Westwood
Consuming in a more conscious and responsible way does not mean to stop shopping, or even to stop taking advantage of promotions! It means no longer making impulsive purchases and replacing them with thoughtful ones, following these principles:
Fulfill a need
Prioritize purchases and gifts that will fill an existing need. It’s as simple as that!
Before buying new, consider buying used! It saves you money, often much more than a store discount. And it is absolutely possible to find quality items in very good condition (that you won't even be embarrassed to offer as gifts) even if they once belonged to another owner.
Choose good quality and durable items
Rather than trying to pay the best price possible, choose quality goods that will last for years, even if they require a greater initial investment.
Whenever possible, buy from companies that manufacture their products locally. This will reduce the emissions associated with transportation and ensure that the people behind your items are working in good conditions. And you'll also be supporting a local business rather than a large chain!
Make ethical purchases
When a purchase cannot be made from a local company, it is also possible to buy from fair trade companies.
Following these principles will undoubtedly make you buy less, but more importantly, it will make you buy better. If you find a promotion that allows you to buy an item while following these different criteria, why not take advantage of it to make some savings!
And when it comes to gifts, remember that it's not the goods and objects that count, but the time spent with those you love.
Good VS Goods
Purchasing new stuff activates the secretion of serotonin and dopamine, two hormones associated with happiness and reward, and that’s why we get this euphoria feeling when buying something. At least until the novelty wears off... Because this feeling doesn’t last. And to get it back, you have to buy. Again, and again!
In November, with the grey weather, the reduced sunlight and our naturally lower dopamine and serotonin levels, the search for happiness is felt more strongly, making promotions all the more attracting and marketing tactics even more powerful.
However, the relentless pursuit of that brief feeling of happiness associated with shopping is not only exhausting and impossible to fulfill, but it also has negative consequences on the humans who make our objects and on the environment whose resources we overuse.
To feel good without having to buy goods, we offer a list of dopamine-boosting activities that provide lasting happiness and satisfaction without harming our planet and its inhabitants:
- Spend time in nature;
- Move your body in a way you enjoy, dance, run, walk;
- Go for a cold water dip;
- Achieve a personal goal you have set yourself;
- Perform an act of kindness;
- Listen to or play music;
- Talk to a friend;
- Do something creative;
- Pet an animal.
These are just a few suggestions to inspire you, go for any activity that makes you feel joy!
In addition to being beneficial for the environment and for all the beings that inhabit it, buying with consciously and with purpose allows us to appreciate more what we already have and to better enjoy the small pleasures of everyday life.
Instead of focusing our energy on finding the next purchase that will make us happy, we are better able to live in the moment and recognize the happiness that comes from memorable experiences, deep conversations, meaningful friendships, and genuine laughter.
In short, conscious consumption is a way to make room for what is essential in our homes and in ourselves.