At first glance, the title of this post may appear as a contradiction; how can you recommend consumerism as a way of helping the planet?  It is more about recognizing our individual needs when shopping.  It means that before we make a purchase we evaluate it from four sides – the financial side, the economics side, the giving side,and the environmental side.  How is that?  Just simple, by ensuring that you make the absolute best of your purchase. This is how I am learning to live my life now. 

The Financial Aspect – It is as easy as asking yourself if you can afford the item without going into debt.  It is for your ultimate financial well being, and your family’s financial health.  If you have to charge it or cannot pay it by the end of the month, when the bill comes, then don’t buy it.  Another application to this side is by evaluating your need for the purchase – do I need this? Do I already own a version of it?  Do I really need another pair of stilettos or should I cushion my savings or emergency fund this time? 

The Economics Aspect – Think of the Country you live in.  Purchase goods that are made in your country.  Stimulate the economy that way, by supporting the small Mom and Pops, local businesses and farmers, and by buying homemade.

The Giving Aspect – There are companies that will give a portion of the purchase price of a product to a good cause.  See if you can choose products that contribute to a good cause. 
In addition, before discarding something, see if you can find someone who needs it and give it to that person.   

The Environmental Aspect – This is about reducing – reusing – recycling – repurposing.  Thinking of other ways to use items or repurpose items can be fun.  It fuels your creativity.  In addition, it gives things a second chance. Buy from antique shops or flea markets.  If you don’t want to spend money at all, you can visit the free section on Craigslist, eBay classifieds, or local newspaper, and you will be amazed at the amount of free goodies.  
You will be preventing these things from ending up in the landfills.  Whether you use these items for yourself or transform/alter them to resell, you are helping the environment. 

Next time, before you head up to do some shopping, see if you can incorporate one or more of these steps into your shopping agenda.

Take the road less traveled and make a difference.