Have you ever bought something simply because you wanted it? Yeah, we thought so. (Well, we’re assuming so.)
Or maybe you’re like Brandee and occasionally go on spending sprees.
In this week’s episode, we’re diving into the wave of guilt her recent spree has brought on, what makes us want to consume in the first place, and whether there’s a way to consume that is more ethical.
So grab some tea, get comfy, and hit that play button.
Find our previous episodes at https://theteaonsustainableliving.com.
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Links and resources:
Article | Capitalism is killing the planet - it’s time to stop buying into our own destruction.
Article | Why We Need to Change Capitalism for Climate Action
Article | Is Saving the Planet Under Capitalism Really Possible?
Article | The fight against climate change is a fight against capitalism
Article | How Buying Stuff Drives Climate Change
Article | Consumerism and Climate Change: How the Choices You Make Can Help Mitigate the Effects of Climate Change
Article | Can We Consume Our Way Out of Climate Change? A Call for Analysis
Article | Cooling consumerism could save the climate
Article | Consumer behavior and climate change: consumers need considerable assistance
Article | Plastic vs cotton bags: which is more sustainable?
Article | 40 Life Lessons from 40 Years
Book | The Four Tendencies
Budget Spreadsheet | Free Budget Spreadsheets and Budget Templates
Video | HOW TO STOP SHOPPING | 5 TIPS TO STOP SPENDING MONEY ON THINGS YOU DON'T NEED 💸
-Brandee and Hannah
Note: This transcript is mostly unedited.
It's not easy living on a dying planet. But it is easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to making changes and taking action to try and save it. Where do you start? Is it even worth it? Can you really make a difference? Welcome to The Tea on Sustainable Living podcast, where we attempt to answer these questions by spilling the tea on living sustainably in a world that's going to shit. I'm Brandee.
And I'm Hannah. And for years, we've been navigating the big messy gray area of caring about our planet. It hasn't always been smooth sailing, but we're not giving up yet. So brew yourself a cup of tea, get comfy. And let's try and navigate that gray area together.
Hello, Give-a-Shitter. This is Hannah. And this is Brandee. And you're listening to episode number 16 of The Tea on Sustainable Living podcast. Wahoo welcome back. Yeah, I was gonna make a cup of tea, but I just had a cup of soup. And it's a bit too warm for soup. So I'm a bit too warm now. So I have ice water.
And I also have my bottle of water. Denise, anything else at this point? No, no, no tea. No tea is being consumed. But we do have some tea to talk about. And we do to you. It's your tea this week. Yeah.
So we'll see where the conversation ends up going. My my brain dump of an idea was talking about money and spending consuming. Because I feel like well, you were there when when it started. I have been a bit spendy lately. I think it's on a down peak. But when we were in New York this summer, I am. I don't know what like what came over me. I think it's just normal for me to for like my spending to like come in waves.
Yeah. But a lot of stickers.
Stickers, I bought stuff from The Body Shop, which is my new favorite store. And then since I got some things from lush, and my Vinted use has been out of control, I think I have one more thing. And then I'm deleting the app, because it's been a bit much. But it just got me thinking about spending and guilt around spending in general. Because I felt guilty. And then I look going back and forth on it. Like, why do I feel guilty? Should I feel guilty? Is it bad to spend money on things you don't need?
Right? Yeah, it's interesting. You mentioned Vinted, as well as something that you're feeling a bit bad about? Because I feel like for you that's kind of, you know, a way where you're like, Well, I'm happy to I'm shopping secondhand. So I feel okay about what I'm buying. Yeah. But there's obviously there's something there's another limit going on there is at the end, do you think it's just kind of feeling guilty about having too much stuff? Or where do you think that's coming from?
Well, first of all, for those who don't know vented his secondhand clothing app, it's like eBay, but it's like it's grown from close to how everything stuff. Yeah, everything. It's just super easy. If that's yes, it's too easy. But yeah, secondhand clothing and like food have been my like, I mean, I'm human i i like to buy things too, as a as a hobby, which right away back in high school to make myself feel better. Yeah, out of boredom for all sorts of reasons. But my kind of, quote unquote safe zones, so to speak, have been secondhand things like vintage or mana or their stores and food. Because those are areas that I won't we need to eat. And well, I have enough clothing, but it's just a fun thing for me. So it's all relative. But yeah, I think it's more of like, I don't know, feeling like I should feel guilty for like, consuming things more than I normally do. I mean, with vintage, it's, I mean, that brings up a separate thing of like all the packaging that comes with it. And I look for like local stuff. People who are nearby, so it's not traveling as far. And then I try to like deconstruct the packaging as best I can and recycle what can be recycled. But yeah, I think it's a bit excessive.
But how many vintage packages? Are we talking about brand new.
We're not gonna talk about that. For now, I just got me thinking of like, I mean, have the money. I'm not in debt and find things I want. Right? So is that bad? And I jotted down like my thoughts like, do I just feel like I should feel bad because there's this pressure that comes with you know, caring about the planet that I shouldn't consume and is like, absolutely need to.
Yeah. It's interesting.
Have you ever felt like, guilty about spending? Or like, what are your? What's your general?
Yeah, for sure. I think as well I definitely go through phases. I guess especially probably with clothes where I don't buy anything for months. And then I'll just be like, ah, and buy like four or five things at once. And then like, that's it. And that feels like to me. But, you know, it's hard, I guess how, who you comparing yourself with? And yeah, reason actually, I just had that thing. And, and I actually went to vintage because I was like, okay, but I know about vintage now. So I'm gonna, like, buy my like, you know, five new dresses that, you know, I don't really need through vented and I do feel better about that than having like, you know, buying you. For sure. I definitely felt that was that felt better. But it's also dry looking like posit and I'm like, I have so much stuff. And I don't need this much stuff. And there is that element of okay, it's secondhand, or even when it's not, because I definitely also buy things new and I, you know, got a dress from Primark the other day, like I'm also not always just buying new from more ethical brands, I'm also buying from, you know, quote, unquote, fast fashion brands. But where was I going with this? I got last
don't need to even write an email. Yeah. And even secondhand, that is still, you know, that's still contributing to this mindset that we have like an ending resources. And that it's so that it's okay to get whatever we want. Which I feel kind of bad saying that, because I also don't like putting restrictions and saying like, Oh, no, you shouldn't do that. But there is a limit. And also, we're talking, you know, this, this whole thing is coming from a very, we're both from very wealthy countries and live in a very wealthy country, there is no way you know, the world can't sustain how a small proportion of the world's population is living now. If everyone lived like this, then I mean, it's impossible. But also, then, who am I to say that's also bigger questions? Right? Who am I to say to someone? Well, no, you can't live like me. Right? Because it's not sustainable.
Right? Yeah, I think I have a tendency of when it comes to consuming of like ping ponging between like one extreme and the other, like the black and white, if you will, just bypassing the gray altogether. Because I think with these buying secondhand it, I think this is why greenwashing is so successful, because it removes like the guilt, like, Oh, I'm buying secondhand, so it's fine. I can just consume, consume consume. I think I'm in need of like a recalibration like. Because just because something is secondhand, it doesn't mean that there's no risk of over consuming. Because my closets full too. I have all the clothes I need. I'm buying out of 101 enjoyment, boredom, I get that like having this app on my phone. Once this last package arrives, I need to delete it. Too easy. It's like I make the rounds between you know, like Instagram and Facebook. Yeah. Oh, let me go on Vinted with a specific purpose. And I think I started going on it for a specific purpose looking for a specific item that I couldn't find in a secondhand shops locally, because there is a lot more selection on it. So I have like, removed all the barriers and it's just become like a I don't know, like, what do they say like notifications on social media? It's like a slot machine. It's like you get that like rush of adrenaline like, oh, well, let me see what else I can find. Wait a minute, right. I don't I don't need it. I want in that moment. It's like become a habit. Because I think you've removed too many barriers and forgotten that. It's all relative. It's not like, I have an eye reference all the time. Recycling is good place to start. bad place to stop. So it's, it's not okay, I'm buying secondhand. Let me remove all thoughts on why I'm consuming if that makes sense.
Right. Do you like do you think there is something negative or that the the impact of being able to consume kind of endlessly, does that have a net negative impact on us? As people, or as you on you as a person? Let's be more specific.
I think it I mean, it's a time thing to it like it's spending all this time browsing on an app for things I don't need when I could be taking a walk or reading a book, you know, doing other creative things, right? Because one thing I hear people say, in response to over consuming is to create more than you consume.
Yeah, yeah, then just and I guess there is that. You know, as, obviously, I feel like I have less limits on what I can do. Now, as an adult with my own income, that's only for me, that when I think back to, for example, being a teenager, or when I haven't been working, I'd be much more creative in some, in some ways. Because there's a kind of a limit there that that forces you to be like, Okay, I actually can't buy the perfect, the exact dress that I want. So like, How can I style it? Or how can I, you know, change it, or whatever that solution might be?
Yeah, I think limits can definitely breed creativity.
You know, we just have so even if we're buying secondhand, and we're consuming in a way that feels more ethical to us all as you and there's, like, I don't know, it just, I'm not sure it's healthy.
Yeah, I feel like, I mean, like, so I feel a bit on the down, down peak, I don't know how to say it. Like, I'm, I'm consuming less like that, that wave is subsiding. But I feel like it was less of like, me wanting to consume things. And I feel like it kind of like took over, like, I just got comfortable with it. Right. And when you're talking, I thought about like, Oh, this is why lifestyle inflation happens. I don't know, if that's the right term, and you make more, you just, you just spend more like, you don't end up saving more, because you just like fill that say, fill that void, that doesn't make sense. It just you just like you fill the space, like you felt like yeah, and the size of your home, the more money you make, you just find things to spend the money on. Because without because of like the society we live in, and the capitalist nature of it all, you know, it is too easy to. So it'd be a cog in the wheel. But I think that's what I meant. It's so easy to just get swept up into, like, how everybody else is doing things, because that's kind of the system we're in. So it makes sense.
Yeah, it does. And, um, I don't know, it can be quite hard to make all the different elements tangible. Right, especially again, especially the more you earn, frankly, because yeah, because money kind of creates that disconnect between between what you've done to earn that money and what what is being what you're buying with it. You know, like, is this thing worth the eight hours that I spent on it? And again, I think that's harder to kind of maintain Well, I don't know maybe that's just a mindset thing. You just have to keep I I'm not being very clear, I guess what I wanted to say like when I was earning more on like an hourly wage, or which tend to be when you're earning, you're on a more low on a lower salary, although not necessarily it depends on the industry as well. It was more like okay, this literally cost me like three hours of work in a restaurant. Do I want to pay that whereas when you're kind of on a monthly salary or on a fixed salary I think it's harder to keep that in mind
yeah, I've definitely heard that as like advice for I think it was when I was like getting out of debt consumer debt and school loans thinking about the money Yeah, in terms of hours worked to get there and and yes, that does help is like a good perspective shift because it's not just this you know, swipe of a card or handing over some paper bills. It's thinking about it in terms of like what yeah, what you did to earn the money right idea of like making it a bit harder to start with but
do you think for example, when you went on this most recent your recent recent spending spree Can you other than getting comfortable with it? Can you identify certain things that maybe kind of triggered it a little bit? Was it that okay, I'm on a holiday So you know, I deserve to enjoy or you're buying for someone else or like, what can you kind of? Are there any trigger points where you think, Oh, that maybe it was why I started off on that spending spree?
Yeah, just think about that as Yeah, definitely the aspect of like, being on holiday like, for you to, like, do whatever I want, whenever I want. And yeah, it makes it like buying things for myself, just because I wanted to buy things for other people, because I find enjoyment in that as well. And then I could just like carried over.
Right. Yeah. And it is that that element of like, why is kind of socially bound up in, in the consumerism, what is the emotion were like, you know, trying to attain? And, like, I definitely know, I was like, was just had a breakup. So I was like, buying clothes, because I was like, oh, I want to feel good, right? You know, that was like part of it. And like, Okay, I'm gonna go out, and I'm not going to wear something I've already got, I want to wear something new, because I want to feel like nice about myself.
Yeah. And is that bad to buy something to make yourself feel better? I don't think it's a big,
but it is a gray area. But it's like I you know, fundamentally, the only reason I can do this is because the world is an inequitable. And I'm one of the lucky ones who's not making the clothes, but Who's Buying the clothes. And if I had chosen a more, I mean, it's hard, isn't it, but like, if I'd have chosen the more equitable route of buying those clothes and make myself feel good, I would have made me bought one thing. Because I would have been buying from a more sustainable fashion brand, that would have been more expensive. And then that's what I could have afforded. I couldn't have afforded to just go and buy five things. I think that's where I'm like, Oh,
I mean, I think we're both kind of products of the societies we've grown up in is that is that we, like our whole lives have been not even told directly, but like advertised to, and like you buy, buy this thing to solve this problem, whatever it is, whether it is boredom, or sadness, whatever it is, and then so of course, we're more like wired to like, want more of that? Because we do I think, get that like adrenaline rush of, of a purchase.
no, it's like, relate everything to food. It's like how, why we crave you know, excess salt, oil and sugar, because that used to mean our survival. But now, you know, like, our, sort of, like we have our bodies, our humans haven't really caught up. So we're still like, hardwired to like, want more of that. Even though that now live means, you know, lifestyle diseases, etc. So I think it's, it's difficult to get out of like, us, like consumers, trap or cycle because, yeah, we're constantly told, sold to advertise that. That more is the answer. Right? Yeah. So that's why I feel like I need like a recalibration and to reprioritize okay, why am I buying things? What can I do instead? What barriers can I put in place? Yes, um, but But ultimately, no, I don't think it's inherently bad. To buy something. Because you want to feel better or run toward boredom. I mean, obviously, depends on your individual situation and whether you are in debt and whether that's making other things worse. But for me, personally, I don't think it's inherently bad. I just feel like it's gotten a little bit out of control. Yeah, yeah, savings goals that I that I could be working towards more,
right. I guess it's that having, you know, lots of different things in the bag for dealing with a situation it's like, okay, and which ones are the most appropriate? Like, okay, I'm bored. So I'm going to scroll. And that might be through Instagram, or that might be through Vinted. And then I might buy but then also, you know, maybe I have other things that I want to have nearby that I could work on when I'm bored. Just a bit more effort. Yeah. You know, yeah. But often pays off.
More, right? Because when you have a physical thing, even a second hand, I'm like, you get that little rush. But I know there are a lot of studies that say like the wanting of an item brings you more joy and pleasure than the actual buying of it?
And how do you do find that? Because I know you're, when you're in, you're kind of settled spending periods that you, you know, you've told me that you'll have like unvented, you'll have like notifications for certain items that you're specifically looking for. Do you find that that gives you more satisfaction when you've been kind of looking for something for a while? And you're like, there is?
Yeah, I do. And I like to, like, favorite things. And I don't like something that like, I just feel good about, like having a favorite item, and then come back and looking at it. And then yeah, having something that I'm searching for, it's like a mission like to find a specific thing. And then you find it, it feels good. And then like, Okay, well, what's the next thing?
Okay. All right. So that's again, that's the problem.
Yeah. And I don't think I'm alone in this. I mean, I hope not listener, no, no, no. Let us know what issues you've had around consuming spending. Maybe unnecessarily?
Yeah, for sure.
Because, yeah, like, I think ultimate question like I'm trying to, to answer, which I don't think I'll ever have a solid answer for is how, how do we not get caught up? Living in the capitalist society? We do? How do we not get caught up in over consuming and consuming? unnecessarily?
Yeah. Because I don't I don't want to, like, support it. I don't want to but I mean, I have to like we as humans, like, we have to consume things to survive, even if you live in the woods you have to consume. But it's yeah, it's finding like an appropriate level. Right for ourselves.
Yeah, and I think, you know, some of that is about, you know, deciding what the values are and what, you know, as we talk about a lot, what are the things that are important to you, and, you know, trying to really stick to that, even when it's hard to be like, Okay, I'm not gonna buy from this shop. But as we've talked about in other episodes, that's not something that's easy. For sure, I think that can
be appropriate at times to set those like hard limits. Which I've definitely done in the past, like I've done like, no spend months and got really strict with like, I was very fortunate. I mean, I lived near the beach. So in walking distance, I'd walk to the beach at stop on my local library and like rent a DVD, that when I had a computer, I could play it. And those were my weekends for a while. Yeah, but and that was fine. The timing, I was trying to like jumpstart my like debt repayment and savings. Right. But I find enjoyment in buying things and going out to restaurants travel. Yeah. So yeah, I think it's, you made a good point about like values. And I think that's definitely part of the recalibration of Yeah. What are my values? What do I want to spend my time and money on? That I know my future self will thank me for right. Not just my five minutes from now, so.
Yeah, yeah, some? Yeah, definitely a gray area. I just feel Yeah, but on an individual like, what are your values? And what things are you compromising? By consuming? What things are you fulfilling? You know, what's the best way and then on a larger scale of like, equity? Who's making your clothing? Yeah, I think not only recognizing recognizing privilege or also not, you know, obviously, I'm feel like I'm in my life. Right now. I'm talking from a space of privilege. But of course, even in, you know, Western countries and in the UK, in the States and Spain. There are people who, you know, have to purchase the cheapest clothing, because that is the only thing that's available.
Yeah. And buying out of need, I think, yeah, that's definitely a separate thing. We're getting our 10 minute zoom warning. So we'll try and wrap this up with the next few minutes. Yeah. Yeah, I think right needs versus wants needs versus wants because I, I'm not talking about I'm not overspending on needs. I'm overspending on once. Yeah. And things that I don't need. Yeah. So I think even just having this conversation and like saying it out loud.
Yeah. I feel like no spend November might be coming up. To me, I
hear things like that.
And you're like, Oh, okay. Yeah, tell me what you feel.
I feel resistance to that. I think it's okay. Gretchen Rubin has these like four tendencies, this really good book. I'll link it in the show notes. And I sometimes a questioner and sometimes a rebel. So like I said, not like when I'm unsure about something knowledge looking up like the why behind things can help me determine or change my habits. And then other times I tend to rebel like if I set too strict limits on myself. Have, I will rebel against that, for the sole reason that like there is a limit in place. So,
I am to be fine saying that but I do think the most effective one I've done not maybe not so much with clothing, but just when I've wanted to bring spending down was actually I think I've talked about her before Emma from the broke generation, she's suggests she's like, oh, like she'd rather have one week out of the month where she spends nothing. And puts that to savings or spends very little or whatever she sets for herself, and then kind of live normally the other three weeks than to try and like reduce all four weeks.
Yeah. Like that
into, into like spending slightly less. So maybe that's
any limitation, no spend day, week month, people do whole years. Like that, that's great. If you go into it, acknowledging that it's like a short term thing. And that's not going to be your new standard, because that can be realistic, unrealistic for a lot of people. I think I find that when the more I know, and I'm aware of like my financial situation, then the less likely I am to just overspend, or spend without thinking. Because if like, I don't really know what's going on in my bank account. I don't I don't know why that is, it's just easier to just spend because, like I out of sight, out of mind, kind of thing. Yeah. But the more I know, the more I go into my spreadsheet and update it and see, like, how quickly I could accomplish, you know, certain savings goals. If I don't overspend this month, overspent just by things on top of the necessities. So I think I've I've started doing that. And I'm, that's I think that's contributed to coming out of this.
Right. Okay, you kind of got a hold of it. Yeah. So what would you say if you know, someone else is looking to take action? I tell you who someone else who has the same problem,
I think it would depend on their exact situation, but and we can leave, we'll leave links and maybe even more like bullet points on like specific action items, start including those a bit with show notes. Because those are easy ways to look up how to, you know, what's the one I really liked, that I used to hear all the time put like your credit card in a glass of water, put it in the freezer? Like that's, that's a limit limitation you could set or other tips and tricks like that, but I I jotted down some questions that maybe listeners could ask themselves, yeah, mindset that changes, you know, switching your mindset, tweaking it, I think that can have longer lasting impacts. So the question is, ask yourself, why do you consume the way you do? What brings you joy? Where can you shift your focus? How can you create more than you consume? And we talked about that? When was the last time you took a walk or just went outside? Just because I think there's some other potential for an episode about getting out in nature. And I think that that's definitely a way to combat over consuming, because you see, especially in terms of, you know, sustainability, trying to live more environmentally friendly. It like puts kind of the why right in front of your face, like, Okay, this is why I want to have less of an impact on the planet, because, you know, because beautiful oceans are beautiful, like, let's keep them let's not destroy our environment. So, those are my final thoughts on radio. What would you say to?
Um, yeah, I think that's, I think, being Yeah, those questions are really good. I think there's an element of being very honest with ourselves about what things are needs and what things are wants?
Yes. The minimalists have a great article on that. I will link Yeah,
I'm definitely not very good at that. But I think it can be easy to think or want to think that our needs are greater than they are. Yes. Oh, all the other way. I mean, I guess. For me anyway, it's easy to think that my needs are greater than they are. And actually, when we realize how much of what we own, just once, maybe that can help put it into perspective. And that will of course, vary for everyone, depending on the life that they they lead and the responsibilities they have.
Yeah, well said. There's something else that occurred I had jotted down that that I told myself almost daily when I was getting out of debt. And I think there's there's a bit of caveat that assuming that you do have everything you need, which we have for this conversation is that you have enough you are enough like in an empty room, you are complete. I think I'm stealing that quote from someone I don't remember who I would tell myself that because, you know, I feel like it General I feel like mantras. I feel like they feel silly telling yourself whether it's in a mirror or in your head. But that one I like made myself do on my like morning walks to work back when I walk to work. And yeah, you have enough you are enough. You are in an empty room, that part of it.
Damn. It's true very well.
I might be the minimalist. I can't remember if I remember who. Who I stole that from? Yeah. Something to sit with to ponder. Yeah, we'll leave links to more specific, I guess. Things with barriers and budget spreadsheets, maybe? And yeah, deleting apps and subscribing stuff like that can definitely be helpful. So I think those alongside with like the mindset piece, those questions. Yeah. So you know, listener if this was helpful, and yeah, I think we'll do a future episode on like, specific companies. I know. Mark one. I like that one. I think that one has actually brought us like, search traffic because people want to know, you know how sustainable certain brands are. So, so yeah, he's
just saying. All right,
Amazon tune. Those could be good. Good future episodes to examine. Yeah, yep. So let us know what you thought about this episode. On our Instagram at the T on sustainable living, you can leave us a voice note at the TN stainable living.com/contact. And we might feature in a future episode Kelly talking to you. Still waiting on your voice note to feature.
All right. All right. Well,
Thank you so much for listening to this episode of The Tea on Sustainable Living podcast. Now go share it with a friend, a co worker, a partner, a family member, or whoever. A pet, your cat, someone on the street.
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All right, Give-a-Shitter, tea you later. Get it? Tea you later? As in, see you later? So punny…
Transcribed by https://otter.ai