All around us we are confronted by the idea that buying x, y and/or z will make us happier. However, as most people realise, it doesn't. Yes there is a temporary feeling of excitement and happiness but often this doesn't last long.
To move towards a more sustainable life or intentional living whichever way you look at it, everyone needs to consume less and to be careful of 'fast' purchases whether it is fashion or items that quickly loose their interest or are not built to last.
Before spending your hard earned money think carefully about the reasons for your purchase. I've found it helpful to make 'wish lists' and not to purchase items straight away. When you return to a list sometimes you don't really need the item and have used something else or your interests have changed.
Being a thoughtful consumer does not mean you have to go without 'nice' things. It means thinking about your purchases, researching and understanding the impact of the purchase. What is it made from? Where was it made? Who made it? How can it be disposed of at the end of its life or when you don't want it anymore.
Thoughtful consumerism starts with using what you have, clearing the clutter so you know where things are and they are easily accessible, upcycling, borrowing, swapping, exploring online free sites, boot fairs and charity shops. The more cluttered our homes become the harder it is to function effectively in them.
Be careful with browsing in shops, even in charity shops, they are full of things you didn't know you wanted.
I am also conscious of gifting problems to other people. I try to make presents that I think people will use, buy locally and try to buy ethically. Of course a teenager wanting the latest gaming machine gives you no alternative. I'll wrap it in fabric Furoshiki style! I'll get the eye roll as I did with newspaper wrapping paper or the brown hand printed paper.
I'm need to include banking in this section but I need to research the ethics of some banks who make investments in fracking for example. The same goes for pensions. There is £3 trillion of private money in pensions. This could be funding fossil fuels, investing in factory farming...
According to David Hayman, campaign director at Make My Money Matter "Moving your money has 25 times more impact than giving up flying or becoming a vegetarian.”