I am a psychotic, raving fanatic of the site The Non-Consumer Advocate. I get all kinds of great frugal living and Money-saving ideas from the blogger, Kate. I also adore her weird finds at Goodwill and her uncanny ability to get cheap street food.
It didn’t hit me until now that not many people are familiar with the world of non-consumerism. I talk a lot about consumerism here on the blog, but I’ve never clearly defined its polar opposite, non-consumerism.
What the hell is non-consumerism?
I’m glad you asked!
Non-consumerism is the choice not to consume items. Sounds easy, right? But just like frugality, non-consumerism comes in all kinds of shapes and sizes.
Some people think it means shopping only at local stores and forging Amazon and Wal-Mart. Some people think it means you should grow your own food. Other people say it’s buying only used items.
I agree with all of these ideas! The point of non-consumerism is to Stick It To The Man. Consumerism is our default these days. We don’t bat an eye when we buy fast fashion, upgrade our phones each year, take out $40,000 car loans, or eat at restaurants every night.
And that’s just Not Cool.
You know what, though?
It hasn’t always been like this. Even within my brief lifetime, I remember a time before smartphones and the onslaught of buy, buy, buy messaging they came with. The times are a-changin’, and with it our habits have changed, too. Nothing is all good or all bad, but the changes have certainly encouraged us to participate in a buy-sell model that’s bad news.
We used to buy a car and drive it ’til the wheels fell off. We used to keep phones for years (if not decades) because they worked perfectly fine. Our clothes held up and we mended them when they frayed at the edges.
Companies wised up and realized they could make a lot of money by making crappy products that we have to replace every year. They make more money, and meanwhile we’re spending like crazy and creating a ridiculous amount of garbage.
Non-consumerism is here to save the day
To me, non-consumerism is a counter-movement against our consumer-happy norms. We say enough with buying crap. Enough with wasting money on things that don’t matter. No more creating mounds of garbage for the sake of owning the newest thing.
Non-consumerism isn’t about not spending money: it’s about spending money more wisely. A non-consumer still buys things, but instead focuses on putting their money to better use.
Non-consumerism slows me down. It reminds me that it’s okay to be weird. It’s okay to wear mended socks if you want to wear mended socks. Shop at the thrift store for better deals. Pass on the new phone upgrade. Remember to save scraps of food to make stock. No, you don’t need a cable package–NO, PUT DOWN THE CREDIT CARD.
Non-consumerism is how I remind myself of wants versus needs, and how my money needs to build me up, not tear me down. I’m not a perfect non-consumer, mind you. I’m guilty of buying new cooking pans at Ross and throwing away perfectly good food. Oh, the shame!
The key is to do the best that you can. Non-consumerism is different for everybody, and we’re all doing the best we can to make positive changes.
The Bottom Line
So that’s non-consumerism, my friends! It’s different from frugality in that it focuses on our obsessive need to buy things–frugality is about finding prudent ways to save money in daily life. The two are definitely related and they’re equally important in my journey to debt freedom.
We want to know: Are you a non-consumer?
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