04 April 2010

The Problem with Over-Buying

You may be wondering what I mean by over-buying? Well over-buying can be many things: (1) buying the 1 gallon jar of mayonnaise because it was such a great deal; (2) deciding you are going to get a new toy for your child and buying every accessory available for it at the same time; or (3) deciding you need a new computer and buying the most expensive one that has the most RAM, largest hard drive, fastest video card, biggest processor, etc.

I'll explain the exact problem with each of these things, but let me first explain the overall problems with over-buying. The first issue is that it creates a lot of unnecessary waste. We are filling up landfills at alarming speed and filling them up with plastics that will last for hundreds of years. Plastics never actually 'decompose', they merely break down into smaller and smaller pieces. Being an inorganic material, in never will compost. But I digress. The second issue is that it wastes energy. It takes a lot of energy to create the things we buy, energy to produce, energy to transport, energy store, etc. The third issue is the waste of money. I know that we have been taught that our consumption is what drives our economy, but we have seen what unchecked consumption has caused. Instead, maybe redirecting this money to have experiences instead collecting stuff. But once again, I digress. (I see another blog post, here).

So let's talk about the three problems I listed above.
First, think about when you buy a jumbo size of anything or 3 of something because when you buy 2 of them, you get a third for 50% off. Are you really saving any money? Don't you throw out most of it when it goes bad? Don't you hate storing all that extra stuff. There are times when buying in bulk makes sense, If you use a lot of batteries, buying the extra large pack saves money. But if you use that many batteries, wouldn't it be cheaper to buy rechargeable ones?
Second, when you buy something new like a game system or new new camera, you go out and buy everything to go with it. All the controllers, all the games, all the accessories, lenses, flashes, etc. But what happens? You don't use all the accessories, you play 3-5 of the games most of the time and the rest collect dust, you only use the camera as a regular camera and all the expensive extras you bought sit in the boxes they can in.
Third, you spend money to buy the biggest or best that you find. But you find out later that you don't really need it and could have bought a less powerful one for what you need.
Now, I'm not trying to berate people for buying what they buy, but I feel that people should take a step back and look at their spending and consuming habits. As for me, I would much rather have experiences (vacations, day-trips, seeing a show) than buy things that I really don't need. The experiences will stay with you so much longer than those things.

1 comment:

Liberality said...

dude, I didn't realize you had a blog or I would have been reading you. This post is great. We recycle and reuse a lot at our house.