How I Overcome Excessive Consumerism

Overcoming excessive consumerism is a long work in progress for myself, particularly as I am a certified shopaholic for as long as I can remember. Not in the sense of buying thousand-ringgit worth of branded products, per se, but small, I-think-I-need-this-in-my-life things that once accumulated could serve a down payment for a car. (Looking at you, digital and physical stationeries.)

Here’s what I do to start overcoming excessive consumerism:

Buying skincare and fragrances from local companies and stocking up on backups during sale

I revamped my skincare routine to only using products based locally as much as possible. Why is this important, you might say? Because I can get them at the store within a ten-minute drive, and not having to purchase them from overseas stores where shipping and packaging are involved.

I also stock up on backups during sale where I can get two products at a price for 1. Not only do I own backups for cheap, I can also stop endless searching for new products to try because I don’t need them.

Another thing that I source locally is fragrances. Now, I love my Elie Saab Girl of Now and Burberry Blush, but they are not local, which, cost at least RM300 to purchase and while I shall treat myself with expensive fragrances once in a while, I opt to using fragrances from a local brand that is high quality and 95% similar to the original ones for my everyday use.

My husband and I are a big fragrance fan (especially him), and he approved of this brand and has accumulated quite a number of bottles. Besides, I can spray as much as I want without feeling like I’m throwing money away. And here’s the thing – I get more compliments using this brand than my expensive ones.

Not hoarding on drugstore makeup and only using and buying what I need

Another thing that I was guilty of is hoarding drugstore makeup just because they are cheap and easily accessible. I have downsized my makeup collection a few years ago, where I threw away old products and the ones which did not work for me (the still good ones have been passed to my sister.)

Now, I’m quite happy with just 1 primer, 3 liquid foundations, 2 blushes, 1 highlighter and contour duo palette and 1 bronzer collection. All of them work for me and my skin tone so I don’t see the need to accumulate more than this. Makeup right now is rather expensive, and I would rather spend my money on something else.

Doing my reading on iPad and less buying physical books

Reading on screen is not everyone’s cup of tea and I totally get it. I have an iPad and that multipurpose of a powerful device is being used to the T by me. Reading, planning, streaming content, showing recipes when I’m cooking – you name it – I do it on the iPad.

I do my reading on the iPad just by using the Books app on it. I can easily purchase and download books for free as I don’t intend on buying a lot of physical books due to its crazy pricing (on average RM60 per book here in Malaysia – cost the same as my monthly electricity bills) and limited spacing to store them in my home.

Limiting myself to five pairs of clothing purchase per year

This might seem a little bit unfair because my mom and I are of the same size, so she passes a lot of her attires to me. From hijabs, abayas, baju kurung, shoes, blouses, and pants. She is a retiree and doesn’t go out much so whatever she passes to me is practically new. Whatever both of us doesn’t want, we will donate it to the cleaning workers in my apartment building.

Hence, I limit my clothing purchase to at most five pairs per year because I don’t need them. Since I’m not working an office job, I don’t need to purchase office attire and that saves me money as well. I try to be mindful and only purchase what I would and could wear at every occasion to avoid not having much use of them in the future.

Keeping things in cart for as long as possible

I have this habit of finding things that would look cute on my desk, and that is not okay because I would end up not loving them and stashing them in a box somewhere in my home. So whenever I get an itch to purchase something cute, I will just leave them in the cart for as long as possible.

If there were frequent occurrence in which I thought to myself, “okay, it would be great to have this on my desk now” – like this desk lamp that I ended up purchasing after a month – then I can proceed with the purchase. It saves me a lot of money as I no longer buy on impulse. Right now in my cart is a coaster for my desk. My son smashed my two-month-old clay coaster a few weeks ago so my husband wants to get me a new one.

Holding off on product upgrade

There really is absolutely no reason for regular consumers to upgrade their phone once a new model is released and I stand firm on what I said. If it’s still working, then why bother spending all that hard earned money especially on something so expensive that you already have, just older version.

I get wanting the new features and all, but I gotta admit, as a loyal Apple customer of almost 15 years, they don’t come out with new features every year anyway. I’m quite happy with every device I own and I hope they live a long, happy life for as many years as they can.

Unsubscribing to retail newsletters

The amount of time I got sucked into being nosey of the latest products by retailers I (unwillingly) subscribed to is copious – borderline repulsive. They are sending me emails every three days of the latest bags and shoes and planners and promotions they have going on and I just do not want that anymore.

So I start unsubscribing once new emails roll in, and haven’t been happier since. Okay – maybe not to all retailers, I still keep a few that I love, but you get the gist.

And lastly, being grateful for what I already have

I think this is the hardest bit for some of us. To be grateful for what we already own because human nature is wanting to own the nicest and prettiest things human can get. But we need to take a second and reflect that there are people out there who aren’t as blessed as we are.

We are always wanting more materialistic things but some of us out there don’t even have basic necessities accessible to them. As simple as water dispenser and electricity with a flick of a switch. As basic as roof above the head and mattress on a bed. As convenient as ordering food on the phone or microwave to reheat leftovers.

I’m saying this to myself as well because I am guilty of wanting more materialistic things that money can get me. But I want to be better in the future. I’m not saying that I will completely change and never spend my money on trivial things again, but I want to be more mindful, more grateful, and more appreciative of what I already have. And you should, too!

Discover more from Her Little Plans

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading