The Holiday season and New Year is a time to spend with family, celebrate, and rest after an incredibly long year.
This year, especially with all of the attention shifting towards shopping solely online, the “deals” and “savings” have been never ending. These offers have been continually flooding our inboxes and news feeds across all platforms for months.
Capitalism in it’s extreme is all about driving profits at whatever cost necessary. This often leads to fear based marketing tactics that focus on pain. Advertising in this way focuses on perpetuating emotional and energetic voids to keep us spending.
Conscious consumerism on the other hand ensures that spending & gift giving is done with intention.
So how can we become more conscious consumers?
First, we need to get in touch with what really matters to us. This can be accomplished with an exercise I go through with my clients to understand their values. Ask yourself the following:
Who am I?
What do I stand for?
What matters most to me?
What social initiatives matter to me and why?
What human rights causes do I support?
It’s important to have an understanding of your personal values as well as your professional values, especially if you are a business owner. Anchoring into strong values helps simplify decisions making and is crucial for becoming a more conscious consumer.
When coming to terms with our past behavior, it’s also important to show ourselves compassion. Don’t blame yourself for past decisions and allow that to be a hindrance to making more empowered financial decisions moving forward.
Some of the values that I embody have become a mantra for my life. They guide my spending and ensure I’m operating in alignment with what matters most.
MINIMAL. SUSTAINABLE. LUXURIOUS.
This means that if it’s not minimal, sustainable, and luxurious, I don’t buy it. I only spend money on products and services that meet all three of these requirements.
Another mantra that my husband does a great job at holding me accountable to is:
IF IT’S A MAYBE, IT’S A NO.
If it would only match that one pair of boots or you’re only going to wear it once, you probably don’t need it. If it’s not a yes, a HOLY HELL YES, then it’s a no.
You don’t need that 10th sweater, a 12th mug, or (even though it breaks my heart to admit it) a 14th house plant.
Start to ask yourself what companies and brands you spend most of your money with. Do you know what those companies stand for? What their company values are? Who are these companies owned by? Who is going to benefit from your dollar?
For example, let’s say some of your values include investing in small, local, black-owned and woman-owned businesses. Yet you buy Starbucks everyday or have been shopping exclusively at Forever 21, it may be time to look into some alternatives and reallocate some spending.
It also needs to be addressed that conscious consumerism is in and of itself a privilege. There are marginalized groups at the heart of intersectional feminism that don’t have equal access to resources or opportunities, and we have to acknowledge that while doing this work.
I’m not saying that enjoying a Caramel Macchiato every now & then or grabbing a cheaper alternative when it’s all you can afford is wrong by any means.
However, I am reminding you that your dollar is a vote. Your dollar is your energy. When you decide to purchase a product or service, you are investing your purchasing power into that company.
You can be more intentional with your spending, regardless of your bank account.
What services, products, investments, or opportunities do you have a burning desire for? Start saving for that.
What do you own that no longer aligns with your values? How can you downsize, what can you donate, and what can you give up to create room for growth and expansion? If you’re constantly weighing yourself down with material possessions, there’s not much room to expand. What can you release that is no longer serving you?
This year I want to encourage you to reflect on the following:
What matters most to you?
What’s your money story?
What was your parents relationship like with money growing up?
What beliefs did you inherit about money?
What social & economic influences are impacting the way that you spend today?
And remember what the holidays are really about. The holidays are about giving. They’re about sharing and receiving love. Not overspending as a placeholder for intimacy and connection.
Let’s stop spending out of emotional and energetic deficits. It’s time to go deep within and use this information to empower yourself and your finances. So you can become a more conscious consumer. Not just during the holidays, but into the next year. And ultimately, throughout your life.