10 Questions I ask My Self Before Buying Things

I have never considered myself as a shopaholic. In fact, I think I always take pride in being a smart shopper (masaa?)  but I recently realized that even I, sometimes, can’t avoid the allure of new clothes, the smell of leather, the discounts and just the whole “buying things I thought I needed” phenomenon. It’s just too easy to fall into the trap of consumerism, especially when you work at Fashionese Daily :D

Now I am on a mission to live with less. Not only to reduce shopping but also getting rid of the stuff I have accumulated that I have never touched. I’m taking baby steps but I have gotten rid of many stuff including shoes, makeups, clothes, magazines and old stuff I kept for ‘just in case’. This living with less thing is  different than black period where you stop buying things altogether for a period of time. I still buy things when I need it, so basically I’m moving from a conspicuous shopping to a (very) calculated shopping. I cannot just buy things in an instance, or just because it looks cute or because it’s-the-only-one-left-I-better-get-it-before-someone-else-snatch-it-and-I’ll-regret-it-for-the-rest-of-my-life kind of purchase.

So to make sure the purchase is necessary, I need to ask the following questions to myself before I bring it to the cash register.

  1. What and why do I need this for?  (Trying to separate between needs and wants)
  2. Do I have something similar at home that I can use instead? This is usually to buy stuff like open-toed wedge black shoes when I already have a pair of open-toed black heels or a pair of black closed-toe wedges. Or when considering buying yet another pink shade of blush.
  3. How many times am I going to use this stuff? If it’s only once, can I just borrow it from family or friends?
  4. Will it last? Are the stitches line up perfectly? Are the buttons spaced evenly and securely attached? Does the zipper work up and down properly? Basically making sure that it’s a quality stuff, not something that will fall apart after two washes.
  5. Does it worth the hours I spent at work to earn that money?. Let’s say the price is Rp 500,000 and I earn Rp 5,000,000 per month. That means I earn Rp 31,250 per hour. So the Rp 500,000 = 16 hours of work. Does it worth the sixteen hours of my hard earned money?
  6. Will I like and buy it at full price? This is for when the item is on sale. If we truly need and like the item and we know we’re going to use it over and over again, the discount, especially if it’s not too steep,  shouldn’t be the decision factor.
  7. If it’s a piece of clothing I’m going to buy, what am I going to pair it with? Does it complement with the rest of my outfit?
  8. Does it fit? I won’t buy it if it doesn’t fit perfectly, or if I don’t try it at all. This can eliminate online shopping.
  9. Where was it made? It’s obviously made in a factory somewhere. Does it employ a fair labor trade?  Clothes use so much resources until they get to the store, from the packaging to the trucks and airplane fuel in transporting and distributing the goods. Does it worth exploiting the earth energy for this? Of course I don’t have to ponder on the answers to this question if it was locally made. So by buying local, we’re not only being environmentally friendly but also helping local economy.
  10. What does it made out of? I know this is kind of hard. Most clothes are made out of cotton, and that alone account for 10% of the world’s pesticide usage. Polyester is made out of the same material as plastic water bottle, and aren’t we trying to reduce the consumption of plastic water bottle? Although I don’t think I will only buy organic stuff from now on, but asking this question helps me to reconsider the purchase and really think it through.

Pheww, that’s a lot of questions to ask, right? It disgusts me that most of the time I couldn’t careless about the story of the stuff I was going to buy and just decided it in an instant that it was going home with me. It’s been two months since I’ve started this project, I’ve promised myself not to buy things other than one or two tunic for Idul Fitri. I have bought the tunic in Thamrin City for only Rp 100,000  (wanted to buy local but the one from Denny Wirawan is around Rp 1,500,000, easy choice there!)..and one black jersey dress from XSML. My defense was black jersey dress is a staple and it’s a local brand. But I regret that I didn’t try it on when I bought it and turned out it’s too tight on me even though it’s size 4!!. Jeezz..this living with less thing is not going to work if I keep on adding weight. But let’s save that for another post :D