How I buy stuff

I’ve changed the way I buy things lately. (I suppose this is what it means to be a person in the world, constantly figuring out how to live life using my reasoned choice.)

Lesson #1: Natural is not always better.

I remember posting, a few years ago, about wanting to become more “natural” and “green.” Like with skincare. I religiously looked up ingredients on the EWG Skin Deep database and sought out (supposedly) greener products.

I’ve given up the “natural products only” schtick, especially after I got hooked into The Beauty Brains podcast and Lab Muffin. I realised that a lot of “green brands” made unsubstantiated claims. I’d bought “green” products that worked poorly or caused breakouts. So-called natural products don’t work for everyone and that’s okay.

I’ve learned just because something’s “natural” doesn’t automatically mean it’s better. (What does “natural” mean, anyway?) I’ve found out cramming numerous essential oils into products is a no-no and that chemicals aren’t the devil. (Everything is, after all, made up of chemicals.) Sellout-y as it sounds, at least bigger brands have gone through more rigorous research and testing.

Right now, I’m using a mix of “natural” and otherwise unnatural(?) products. And I’m not beating myself up over it.

Lesson #2: Green consumerism is still consumerism.

A few years ago, I started to become even more conscientious about my purchases. I really liked the idea of buying things that were ethically sourced, locally made, sustainable, biodegradable, yadda yadda yadda.

I obviously still had a lot of stuff that weren’t any of those things. Part of me resolved to stock up on items for my idealised, low-impact, zero-waste life. But then buying those things was still buying things.

A friend of mine had lamented that reusable coffee cups were supposed to fix disposable coffee cup wastage. But then the reusable coffee cup business has turned into a massive manufacturing effort on its own. There were cups for sale in every cafe and branded ones being given away at the conferences I went to. I’m not too sure how much it saved vs disposable coffee cups exactly.

Lesson #3: I will pay more for some things.

Like quality, seller reputability, local products, or for a good cause. And time savings. I no longer spend as much time as I’d done in the past trying to find the best deal.

So where does that leave me?

One thing I’d like to stick to, become even clearer with this pandemic, is to buy local. I like supporting local businesses. (With the decreased number of flights the parcels are likely to get to me faster, which is an added benefit.)

Second is to only buy new things if my old ones need to be replaced.

Third, I’d like to make most of my clothes that I can. I’m not up to knits or complex pieces of clothing yet but I can make simple tops, skirts and dresses!

Finally, I don’t buy things right away. Even though it’s something I could easily afford, I only buy things on the weekend. A lot of times I realise that I don’t really need to.

Any purchases the past few weeks?

Outside of groceries and meals, I’ve purchased a Spinaleze pillow. I am officially an old person – I’ve resolved to investing in pillows, haha! I used to scoff at my dad who was particular with his pillows. Now here I am buying an exxy pillow hoping to relieve my neck and back soreness. 😛

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *