consumerism

Steal this resolution: one box in, one box out

For the new year, I’m trying this new idea. Any packaging that enters my home must now be filled up with old stuff, and given away.

Egg-cessive gift giving: Is Easter the new Christmas?

In my humble childhood experience the Easter Bunny brought chocolate, candy, and perhaps a few small toys — all of which are the appropriate size to fit in a basket. An actual basket! Not a toy bin, not a kiddie pool — a basket. What’s next? Children sitting on the lap of a man in a bunny suit asking for the trendiest toy of the season?

Once we start down this slippery slope of excessive Easter gifts where do we draw the line?

What happened when I made a resolution to not buy anything new for a year

My resolution this year was The Compact, defined by Wikipedia as “a social and environmental movement whose members promise not to buy anything new for a year.”

So here’s how my Compact experience went…

When you gotta shop big: 4 corporations for ethical consumers

Where is the ethical consumer supposed to shop when they don’t have the time (or funds) to hire a local artisan? Offbeat sponsors are a great starting point, but here are some additional companies worth checking out…

How do you support small businesses when your budget is even smaller?

I have a small budget. And while my heart screams “Buy that $15 artisan sandwich!” my wallet says “If you want to make rent, go for the mass-produced sandwiches that are only $5.” What are some ways to help support my small business community, when my budget is even smaller?

Make compromises within a relationship that don’t mean sacrificing your values

I had a lot of time to fantasize about my future and prospective living situations, and the idea of a vegan, eco-friendly, ethical household was appealing to me. So when I met my now-fiancée and the topic of moving in together came up, it was apparent that some compromises were going to have to be made on someone’s end. The compromises didn’t come without some heated discussions. While having these conversations with my fiancée, it occurred to me that a lot of my choices that tried to incorporate ethical consumerism were a lot about boycotting. I decided that from now on, instead of focusing exclusively on cutting things out of my shopping list, I’ll do things that support causes I believe in instead.

How do you curb impulse spending?

The combination of a steady income, no huge financial responsibilities other than rent, and the ease of online shopping has meant that I have been spending money (and acquiring things) more quickly than I would like to. I know a good solution is not to browse in the first place (even if all the shoes do look pretty…), but I’m wondering what strategies other homies might have when it comes to resisting impulse purchases either online or in a store.

Spending for happy: What purchases give you most joy?

I’m usually so focussed on spending less money in general, that it’s actually really liberating to think about spending more money in some areas, and to make cutbacks in others without affecting my overall happiness. My question is, what purchases do other Homies consider to have the highest happy-for-money rating? What can we spend proportionately MORE on, to make sure our money’s working for us, and where can we cut back without noticing even a dint on our happy-ometer?