To buy, or not to buy: that is the question

Leather Handbags - Made in England - Green Bag - Big Bags

One of my philosophy’s at russell russell is to encourage you to buy less, a bit odd for an online retailer, I know. But as a designer and manufacturer too, it’s truthfully what I want. As well as being beautiful and stylish, russell russell bags have been crafted using the finest quality leather by really talented leatherworkers. So before my customers hand over their money I ask them to give the decision their full consideration. Why do you want to buy it? Do you love it?  Will you still love it in 5 years? Will you use it time and time again?

Recently I’ve found myself wanting less of everything whether it’s cosmetics , stuff in my cupboards, less time spent with people I don’t want to spend time with.  I want to simplify every aspect of my life because if it’s full of stuff that I don’t use or like  or want anymore I find it stressful and I find that it wastes time.

I want whatever surrounds me to make me feel happy and it doesn’t matter if it’s a coffee cup, a hairbrush or clothes, I expect everything to conform to these rules. If I feel ‘meh’ about it then it’s either in the gone or it’s going? pile.

It feels to me as if the cult of clearing out is firmly embedded in the zeitgeist. Recently my newsfeed has been full of influencers clearing, tidying and cleaning and despite it’s ubiquity it’s provided me with a sense of calm and happiness. The more I see and read about it, the more I get rid of  unwanted items and the  more I appreciate what I have.

With sustainability being high up in our priorities these days, we want the things we buy to stand the test of time. We want our furniture to be robust, we want our toaster to be repairable, we want our clothes and accessories to be durable and versatile and we want value. So what does all this means in terms of shopping? What should we be thinking about before we buy?

The first question I ask myself now is why I want it. Is there a real need for it in my life or do I simply want something new? Shopping can be an emotional response to how we’re feeling: sad, lonely, bored or even happy. I used to be an emotional shopper, craving the (shortlived) hit of dopamine I would get after purchasing. These days I am so much more mindful about why I do what I do.

Next, I research whatever it is I’m interested in buying. I read impartial reviews, I watch youtube tutorials, I see what Instagrammers are saying about it.

The final consideration before buying is how much I’ll use something. If I’m looking for a winter coat, I know that I will use it most days for 6 months of the year and I will expect it to last for 3 years. That’s a lot of wear. If I’m buying a bag which I plan to use for work and I expect it to last a long time then I’ll be happy to spend more. If I’m buying a dress that I know I’ll only wear once to a wedding I won’t spend too much and I will sell it afterwards.

I’m no longer an impulse buyer, thank goodness, I’ve squandered so much money shopping like that.

My final rule is one thing in, one thing out. When I’m finally ready to purchase I’ll try to make room for the new item by taking away something I no longer use, want or love.

I find that by carefully considering my purchases I am less wasteful and more appreciative. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still sometimes a little extravagant but that’s’ ok because after all these considerations I know, no matter the price, if it’s worth what I’m paying for it then I will get value from it.

In short don’t buy just for the sake of it. Make sure you either need it or can’t live without it. Either way make sure you enjoy it.

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