10 things Parents can do to reduce consumption and reduce participation in consumerism:
1 Buy Nothing – Take a challenge.
2 Buy less – Try having some household consumption reduction goals and get the children to help and make it a challenge each month. See who can make things last longer, fix things or save money.
3 Edit your possessions – Go through your home and ask yourself if I lived on a small boat and I could only keep a handful of things, what would I keep? We live with too many things, our homes are stuffed full of stuff. Our kids have many possessions, so many that they have trouble appreciating what they do have. Try to reduce your paper by viewing bills and statements online and putting documents on electronic devices.
4 Stop comparing yourself to others – Easier said than done I know; but the moment we stop trying to keep up with the Jones’ we will feel a heavy weight lift off our shoulders. Let the guilt go, the children will be fine without the latest brands, they will survive. They might even get creative about the no name brand items they have to use and wear. Stop trying to make you and your family, prettier, smarter, thinner and wiser by buying crap. Accept that your good enough already. You don’t need another ab crusher or wrinkle cream from the shopping channel.
5 Buy wisely – If you need to buy, buy locally at small farmer’s markets and shops where your dollar goes towards your local community. Buy a product that will go the distance and is off quality. Ask how ethical is this product? Has it been made with child labour? Is a multinational making millions from this product produced by a child? Try to reduce packaging, buy products that don’t have masses of plastic packaging. If you buy furniture make sure it will last and stand up to children. Space save by buying a sofa bed or folding furniture so your house doesn’t have to be a mac mansion. For presents, consider giving a gift that continues to give. For example, look for businesses that donate something to a developing nation every time you purchase.
6 Home gown – Start a veggie garden, grow your own food and produce your own produce to swap or sell at markets. Use the produce to do more cooking at home. Get some chickens and have your own sunny side up eggs. The skies the limit!
7 Reduce your fuel consumption – Do you really need three cars to a household? Sell a car if you don’t need it. Car pool for work and play. Ride bikes where possible and here’s an idea, make the children walk to school! Try catching the public transport with the children.
8 Sharing – Try a system where you share things - toy library, clothes swapping parties, free gift exchanges and re-gifting, share meals with the neighbours and friends. The possibilities are endless. Try errand and task networks. Swap skills for things that you need. Some workplaces are sharing workspaces and parking spots with other workplaces to save costs. Almost anything you can buy new you can either borrow or rent from a stranger.
9Try a smaller home – Less is more, some bright spark said once. Less furniture to fill it, less cleaning products to clean it, less maintenance to maintain it and more time for fun.
10Live in the moment – Try to recognise happiness in the moment, don’t hang on for the next best moment, it may never come. Enjoy the ones you have right in front of you. When you’re feeling good take a moment to take it all in. Smell, feel, see and touch the moment before it passes. Recognising you’re in a happy moment means you’re already there, you’re already happy.
Replace your craving for consumerism - with something else more meaningful; find something your passionate about, like giving back by volunteering or joining a team sport. Spend time with the children or just go about doing random acts of kindness.