Learning to Live a Life of Less

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

How I Will Help Myself Consume Less

I am a marketing person's dream.

Show me something shiny and new and I'll probably want it; especially if it's in the form of clothes, shoes, bags, Disney or stationery.

I know I'm not the only one.  Consumerism has become a big problem over recent years, and I believe having instant access to everything online has made it worse.  Especially when social media channels have become so sophisticated that they tailor advertisements to you based on your Google searches!  Those of us with a problem with shopping and spending money have no hope.

I knew being ploughed with tailor made marketing would be a huge issue for me, so before I began my year long challenge I decided to take control of the situation as much as possible.  For me, that meant making some hard decisions.

I'm a huge supporter of small online businesses.  I'd rather give my money to somebody making a stab at creating their own products and trying to sell them than to the big brands.  My most favoured social media channel is Instagram.  I love photography as I'm a very visual person.

I've used my Instagram account to find many a small business, and over the past couple of years I've followed a fair few, and even become a repeat customer for some of them.

As a small business, part of their job is to heavily promote their products on Instagram in order to get their brand out there.  I realised a few days before beginning my challenge that this would be an issue for me.  A well photographed product can be the thing that sways me to purchase said product.  

This is an issue I could take control of before the challenge took place, but I wasn't happy with the action I would have to take in order to do this.  I would have to unfollow all of the wonderful small business owners that I'd found over the years.

It broke my heart to do it, but I did.  I love supporting these people, even if it just be with a like or a comment, but right now, if I am to give myself even just a small chance at succeeding at this challenge, I need to not be bombarded with new product after new product.  Maybe in a years time when I've hopefully progressed and worked on gaining control of this addiction I can slowly begin to reintroduce these accounts to my feed again, but for now I need to put myself and my own needs first.

The second step I took (And am still working on!) was less of a hard decision.  In fact, it's more like one of those tasks you've been meaning to do forever, but have just never gotten around to.

Decluttering my inbox.

I am bombarded with newsletters on an hourly basis.  Many I'm pretty certain I've never even signed up to!

There are a few that I'm very much responsible for reaching my inbox though (Notifications for the latest Cath Kidson x Disney collaboration...), and some I know I especially can't resist.  Throw in a discount code and you may as well just take all of my money!

It's unnecessary noise in my inbox, and it has to go.  I'm currently looking at my inbox a couple of times a day, and opening every email I receive.  I can tell you the 'Unsubscribe' button has been getting a bit of a beating this past weekend.

It won't be a quick fix, but hopefully by spending a few minutes a day cleaning out my inbox, eventually it will be neat and tidy, only receiving the emails that are important and that I actually want to be there.

As I take one step at a time on this new journey, I realise just how hard it's going to be.  I thought the first step would be the hardest; admitting I have a problem.  I think I was wrong.  Coming up with an action plan, sticking to it and staying motivated is going to be the harder part, but with the bigger picture always in my mind, this is all the motivation I need.

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