Consumption Culture


Black Friday is right around the corner – and your inbox is probably overflowing with promotions, special deals, savings and discounts that feel hard to pass up. It’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement of scoring a great deal and imaging the money you’re saving by either buying in bulk or buying at a reduced rate – but we have to start thinking, would I be buying this if it weren’t on sale?

So much of our culture is focused on acquiring things, from big houses, to expensive cars, to beautiful handbags, that often we don’t feel successful if we don’t see ourselves measuring up to our neighbors – the keeping up with the Jones’ mentality is definitely still going strong. We wind up with closets full of clothes, accessories, and kids’ toys that barely get a second glance once they’ve come home from the store. It’s even easier now to snap up a good deal with online shopping services like Amazon, where you can pretty much order an item faster than you can blink. If we see something we want that’s been marked down, we rarely stop to think about where the item is made, who made it, what it’s made of, or how it’s impacting the environment or our wellbeing.

Conversely, when it comes to our health, this is where we look at the cost more critically. The cost of nutritious, organic food in the supermarket, the supplements or vitamins at the pharmacy, even health services like dental exams or therapy all come under closer scrutiny. Even if it’s a matter of a few extra dollars for an organic product, it seems frivolous. When you think of something like a home water filtration system, that has proven benefits for your health, you may be hesitant to take on another monthly payment – but what if you reframed your spending, and more importantly, your thinking?

Maybe you’re thinking that you don’t have room in your budget for a monthly bill for a water filtration system. Take a look at the money you spent in the past month on clothes or things – how often do you wear them? Do you use the appliance every day? Is it enriching your life? A reverse osmosis system is something that you’ll literally use every day, multiple times a day, by each member of your family – and you’ll know that it’s positively impacting your health.

If you’re making your Black Friday list, take a few minutes to think about why you want those items and what they’ll do for you, and if you’ll still want them six months from now. Add up the costs of all of these items and think of how you could use that same amount of money investing in something that’s truly good for you – it’s not tacking on an extra bill, it’s just reworking your mindset and being smart with your finances.