Weathering the consumerist agenda this fall
Saving a few bucks while going back to school
By Robyn Welsh, Layout Editor
The marketing industry is great at making you feel like you need to purchase an entirely new life for back to school. Whether that be school supplies, clothing, home decor, or anything in between, saying no to the bombarding consumerist messages can be difficult. If you just can’t shake the feeling that you need to spend your hard earned summer dollars to kick off the semester, I’ve got some tips for you.
Reassess what you already have
Things get lost, and they get lost often. Before you head off shopping, try browsing your own home. It is quite possible that you already have a very similar item to the one you want to buy. Even if that’s just your favorite top from grade 12 buried in your closet somewhere, finding items after forgetting about them can make them feel new again.
Swap don’t shop
Chances are, you have a few articles of clothing or small knick-knacks that you can’t see yourself using anymore. Organize a swap with some friends and bring everything you’re willing to get rid of. The best thing about this is, you get new items while culling your own! You’re welcome to make this into a movie night, enjoy some fun cocktails, or to just keep it simple and chat.
When in doubt: DIY
As cliché as it is to say, trends come and go. And it can get quite pricey trying to stay on top of them. Thankfully, there is always the option to DIY (do it yourself). Whether you’re a novice crafter or someone who constantly puts their skills to the test, there are many resources online for creating cheap look-alikes to your favorite pieces. Plus, creating your own school supplies means you can get exactly what you want and will ensure your pencil case doesn’t get mixed up with anyone else’s.
Creating something yourself is rewarding and can make your belongings feel special. You can DIY nearly anything, so consider whether you can create something before shopping.
Dorm room decor
Want to decorate your dorm room but don’t know where to start? Try creating a vision board or photo collage using quotes, photos of friends and family, or images from magazines and online (but be sure to give credit to any artists when necessary). A vision board can illustrate future goals, or simply act as a form of daily inspiration.
Kijiji is also a great tool for picking up used furniture or decorations. Small household items are often put up for sale in great shape for a much cheaper price than you would find in stores.
Is there a more ethical option?
If you just can’t shake the feeling that you need to buy something new, or are simply not motivated enough to create something yourself, try looking into more ethical options before heading straight to Walmart.
Shopping at thrift stores is an easy way to be more ethically conscious. Rather than giving money to corporations that don’t have the highest ethical standards, you’re helping to reuse clothing that might otherwise be sitting in a landfill. Besides, you get way more for your money at thrift stores. You’ll find unique pieces that no one else will have and you may even find designer brands for cheap.
In general, shopping at small businesses is an easy way to keep your items a bit more ethical. Here you can support local artisans while bypassing the pollution that comes with shipping items overseas. I also suggest looking into the materials that many mass-produced items are made of. A large number of them are chemically based and contain many toxins.
Becoming a more educated consumer takes some work, but it will help keep your environmental footprint down and will give the earth just a bit more breathing room.
Hopefully these tips will help you save a bit of money this back to school season and allow you to, as the ads say, go back to school in style.