To consume is to make use of services and products to satisfy one’s own needs or desires or those of another living being. Consuming is not the same as buying in an uncontrolled way, understanding that this action will make us happier. When this happens, we talk about consumerism. On the other hand, the term smart consumption refers to the use of products and services to cover the basic needs of an individual in order to provide a better quality of life.
Falling into consumerism has negative effects on a person’s life on an individual level, both on health and personal finances, but it also has a global impact on natural resources and the environment. This is why smart consumption is so important, as it is a way to make consistent decisions regarding our needs and improve our individual and global quality of life.
WHAT IS SMART CONSUMPTION LIKE?
Smart consumption is to seek information beforehand about the product or service to be purchased, examine and compare brands, prices and guarantees, in order to make a decision that suits our needs and our economy. But choosing promotions, price and quality is not enough. You have to ask yourself a question first: is it an impulse or a need that I must meet or that brings quality to my life?
Over the past few years, qualifiers have been added to define what smart consumption is and what influence it has. These are five attributes that affect financial health, either at the time of consumption or in the future. Whenever possible, it is recommended to take them into account:
When consuming, it is important to meet real individual needs and also that such consumption does not harm environmental conservation and social equality.
To take into account the social implications of our consumption and to value the most solidary, fair and ecological options.
To consume products that are beneficial to care for, encourage and maintain good lifestyle habits that improve and add to our physical and emotional health.
Consumption that helps or at least does not harm sustainable development. Meeting our needs today without harming tomorrow’s generations.
If possible, encourage the consumption of fair trade products, as they have a favorable impact on the production of underdeveloped countries.
TIPS FOR SMART CONSUMPTION
Recommendations for smart consumption that will benefit our personal financial health, the quality of our lives and that of future generations:
- Plan before you buy: What is missing and what do I need?
- After planning, make a shopping list and follow it to the letter.
- Apply the philosophy of “less is more” or “quality is better than quantity”.
- Buy by credit card only when you are sure you can pay for it later.
- Make responsible use of energy and supplies in the home.
- Knowing what standard of living we can afford and adjusting to it.
- Before buying something, think about whether we really need it.
- Differences between wants and needs when consuming a service or an item.
- It is advisable to prioritize quality and long-lasting products to avoid replacing them after a short period of time.
- Care to conserve what we have and thus avoid discarding as a first option.
- Before spending money on a one-time service or product, such as a household appliance, compare value for money among several products.
- Avoid shopping at times when we feel emotionally disturbed, for example, when we feel nervous, sad or anxious.
- Think about and weigh the benefits and drawbacks before consuming.
- It is advisable to follow the “four Rs” rule: reduce, reuse, recycle and recover.
- Pay attention to food expiration dates to avoid throwing food away.
- If the situation allows it, think about sharing or borrowing, rather than buying.
- Try to avoid unnecessary packaging.
- Reuse plastic bags to avoid consuming new ones and/or carry a cloth bag.
- Before buying on the Internet, check that it is a legal and safe site.