Conscious Consumerism Update

At the beginning of September, I made a post about my desire to become a more conscious consumer and set a few goals for the month. Some were just for the month of September, and some were behaviors I wanted to start implementing in September that I hope will become part of my lifestyle overall.

These were the goals:

  • No-buy for a month, with the exception of necessity (replacing toothpaste, getting gas for my car, etc.) and influencer/ambassador programs I already have commitments to.

  • Commit to 80/20 with fast fashion, a.k.a. only buying new/fast fashion if it’s something I need and cannot find secondhand or from an ethical brand.

  • Start the switch to only owning cruelty-free beauty and skincare.

  • Be more purposeful with gift buying and supporting only small businesses and artists when I buy gifts for birthdays, holidays, etc.

Here’s how it went!

When I first thought of this idea, I spent a decent amount of time crafting my goals, but definitely missed a few things. For one, I didn’t remember to factor in monthly charges, such as Hulu and Spotify. I had this grand idea that I wouldn’t spend any money on non-necessities, but I didn’t really define non-necessities. In my head (but I didn’t say this in my post), when I thought non-necessity, I basically meant makeup, clothing, stationery, and other random material items. In that aspect, I was actually pretty successful!

I was pretty good about not making unnecessary purchases, but sadly had to drop a few hundred dollars on some necessary car repairs. I also spent some money on iTunes by accident, because I thought I had a giftcard. One thing I spent money on that I normally wouldn’t was a car wash - I always wash my own car, but I was too busy to wash it and it was beyond filthy. The wash cost $10, which isn’t too bad in my opinion, but it definitely could have been avoided if I’d managed my time better. I don’t want to make paying for a car wash a habit, because it’s such an easy thing to do myself.

In September, I purchased two sets of tickets: one for a comedy show and one for a play. Both had to purchased ASAP or they would sell out. The comedy show is in October and was pretty cheap, and the play is not until next spring and was definitely a splurge. I’ll get into it later, but let’s just say it’s part of an international trip and a show I’d literally give up limbs to see. Show tickets are the kind of thing that are good to have extra money saved for since they can sometimes come up out of nowhere, so when I buy less clothing and craft supplies, I can afford to buy these things the day they go on sale and ensure I can attend.

I didn’t consider buying food/going out (non-grocery) as something I would avoid, but in general I try to not buy food if I can help it, so I don’t see this as an excessive spending issue in my life. I mostly eat out if I’m doing something with friends and I often resort to pre-packaged or easy to-go food when I need stuff to bring to work. I was also house sitting for a few days and didn’t want to full-on buy groceries, so I bought a lot of pre-made stuff for the few days I wasn’t at my home.

Another one of my motivations behind these goals was to acquire less “stuff.” This month, I actually found myself still acquiring things without purchasing them with my own money. At the end of August, I started a new job, so I did get some free products and samples, but have yet to spend my own money at the store. So while I was acquiring new possessions, it wasn’t because I spent the money. It’s a natural wellness store, so everything is cruelty-free. On a similar note, I got a bag of clothes as hand me downs from a friend who was moving and needed to downsize her closet. I got a couple new outfits, including a light summery dress I’ve worn about 10 times already, and I didn’t spend a dime. Closet swaps are a great way to refresh your closet without spending money, so definitely do that with your friends.

For cruelty-free products, I haven’t had to replace anything yet, but I did buy reusable cotton rounds in August that arrived in September. I’m almost out of the disposable ones I have and then I will be only using my new reusable rounds. For the beauty influencer program I’m in, I made sure my September product choice was a cruelty-free brand, and that is a practice I will continue to implement in the future. Also in August, I ordered a Quip toothbrush, which arrived in September. I started using it and might post a review (not sponsored at all) next month. I used to have a more intense electric toothbrush, but it kept getting super yucky no matter how much I cleaned it, so I’ve been using those plastic toothbrushes that only last a few months for a couple years now. Such a waste!

I downloaded the Mint app last month to track general spending and I love it so much already. I didn’t set super strict budgets, just kind of went with the default ones the app set. According to my app, I spent about half of my monthly budget in September. It was an arbitrary budget and some credit card charges might not be included because they didn’t process before October 1, but it was a successful month overall. For October, I plan to set much more detailed budgets based on my current income and other factors in my life. The app is free, so I highly recommend it! In the next few weeks, I’ll probably do a blog post on the different apps I use to save and manage money.

Overall, I am proud of how I did with my goals and hope that as I continue to weave these behaviors into my everyday life, I can become a smarter and more responsible consumer.