Conscious Consumerism in September

Being a conscious consumer has been on my mind a lot lately. I want to be more purposeful with what I spend my money on and why. Both from a quantity standpoint - I feel like I own a lot of stuff and buy a lot of stuff on a weekly basis - but also from an environmental standpoint. I’ve learned a lot more about fast fashion and sustainable packaging in the last year and I’m at the point where I feel like I need to take more responsibility for how I take up space in the world. Our environment faces serious challenges and I don’t feel like I’m doing enough as an individual to be “green.”

So for this month, I have put together some goals that will encourage more sustainable, eco-friendly and mindful behaviors, especially when it comes to spending. Money has a lot of power and where you put your money has a lot of impact.

My goals for September are as follows:

  • No-buy for a month, with the exception of necessity (replacing toothpaste, getting gas for my car, etc.) and influencer/ambassador programs. This is both to help me change my habits, but I am also currently freelancing and not working a full 40 hours a week, so I don’t have a steady income to waste.

  • Committing to 80/20 with fast fashion: I don’t plan to buy clothing this month, but going forward, I will try to only buy new/fast fashion if it’s something I need and cannot find secondhand or from an ethical brand.

  • Switching to cruelty-free beauty. Anytime I need a new beauty or skincare product, I will purchase it from a cruelty free company. Once I run out of a product, if that brand isn’t cruelty free, I will replace it with a product from a brand that is. My goal is to also find brands that have sustainable packaging and mostly contain natural ingredients, because it’s better for my body/hair/etc. When checking brands, I’ve found Logical Harmony’s cruelty-free/vegan list to be amazingly helpful.

  • More purposeful gift buying: When I buy gifts for birthdays, holidays, etc. in the future, I will make an effort to only purchase from small businesses/artists. There are so many talented artisans out there and I would rather support them while buying gifts than just default to buying something easy from Target (I’m sorry Target, I love you, but you’ll be fine in terms of profit).

This lifestyle change was partially inspired by some of my favorite Youtubers and they have some great resources on how to live more sustainably. If these goals speak to you, I recommend watching these videos:

I won’t beat myself up if I make a mistake or don’t live up to these goals - it’s not easy to change your habits drastically, but it’s important. If I advocate for this when it comes to social justice, I need to walk the walk in the other avenues of life.

I’m not great at saving money and definitely engage in retail therapy when I’m bummed, so this will be a difficult exercise in restraint for me. There are aspects of this I expect to struggle with, but I’m proud of myself for doing the best I can and I will continue to work on these goals until I can achieve them fully. I encourage you to join me!

[featured image made with photos by chuttersnap & Sylvie Tittel on Unsplash]