It’s that feeling again; that little skip of a beat that your heart makes every time you see those 4 letters in bold, striking red. “SALE”. Trust me, I too have been victimized by deals that are too good to pass up on, and just like Rebecca Bloomwood from Confessions of a Shopaholic, I held myself in utter and complete satisfaction as I stride along the aisles, hands full with shopping bags from only the most prominent brands in the business. Did I feel good about my splurge? Absolutely. Did this feeling last very long? Now that is open to question.
More than anything else, our economy is a consumer driven society. Our streets are filled with billboards and advertisements, televisions flooded with catchy commercial tunes, and for what? To make their brand stand out. For you to remember that same brand you saw in a poster the next time you visit the grocery and tell yourself “maybe I should give this product a shot”. Consumption is more than just buying something off the rack and contributing to the economy, but more importantly, it is a reflection of who we are, what we vouch for, and what we believe in. Advertising agencies promote their products in such a way that it will make consumers feel like their lives will improve if they buy it, or some even go to the extent of making consumers think that using this facial soap will get your office crush to notice you, or drinking this will magically lead you to your soulmate.
Conscious consumerism, however, goes beyond all the false advertising and nice packaging in the hopes of discovering the real value of products on the market. Conscious consumerism takes into consideration 3 key factors: practicality, finances, and the emotional impact that the purchase may have on you. Being a conscious shopper is as easy as having a list of stuff you want to buy before going to the mall. Not only does this avoid you from sidetracking or giving into distractions such as sales or bundle offerings, but it also saves time from idly walking around the mall in search of anything that will satisfy your urges to purchase something. In the event that you are in need of a product but you are not sure of which brand to buy, researching on the best option would work to your advantage in many ways. For one, reading about the brand can tell you more about their advocacies. Do they use biodegradable materials? Are the workers paid minimum wage? Is animal protection one of their primary concerns? These factors may seem like a publicity stunt in order to gain your liking, but these kinds of companies take it upon themselves to instill change within themselves and consequently, create conscious consumers. Digging into the reviews of a product can also give you an honest perspective on whether your next purchase will be something you won’t regret.
Not everyone can afford to spend thousands on skincare or a new wardrobe, so being aware of your financial capabilities is another step towards conscious consumerism. This also means avoiding the occasional shopping spree during sales, or impulsive buying. However, some people find comfort in these little splurges, simply because it makes them happy. Unboxing a pair of high heels can make your imagination run wild on the possibilities a night out could bring, or wearing that new perfume can give you the boost of confidence you’ve been waiting for a while now. At the end of the day, these emotional influences determine your true satisfaction when it comes to consuming goods, all you need to decide is whether or not these products live up to your money’s worth and if the gratification they can give you is something sustainable and worthwhile.