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

One of russell russell’s philosophy’s 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 people to do. 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 love it 1 year? 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. Less cosmetics, less food in my cupboards, less mugs in the kitchen, less stuff on my laptop, less pins saved, 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 anymore I find it stressful and I find that it wastes time.

My personal philosophy is that I want my stuff to make me feel happy. I want to feel positive seeing, using wearing my stuff. Regardless if it’s a box of matches, a hairbrush or people, I expect everything to conform to these rules. If I feel ‘meh’ about it then it’s either gone or it’s going.

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 saw and read about, the more I got rid of stuff and the more stuff I got rid of, the more I appreciated what I had.

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? Afterall we can always find something that we like the look of and think that we need. 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 hit of dopamine I would get after purchasing even though the feeling was short lived. These days I am so much more mindful about why I do what I do.

Next, I research whatever it is I’m interesting in buying. I read impartial reviews, I watch youtube reviews and tutorial, I see what Instagrammers are saying about it. If it’s possible test it before buying, something we can do with cosmetics but not so easy with other things. QVC is a brilliant shopping channel, with great brands, trust me, it’s worth a look. The presenters are the best at what they do and yes I know they are there to sell which they do brilliantly but they impart so much helpful knowledge to assist with your buying decision. And the best thing about it is that you are able to test the product at home for 30 days (sometimes this is extended depending on the item) and if after that time if you don’t want to keep it no matter the reason you can return it. This applies to every single purchase, makeup, perfume, earrings, shoes everything. I have bought many items, some I’ve returned but most I’ve kept because I’ve been happy with them. It’s a fantastic way to be sure that you’re happy with your purchase before you commit.

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. Whereas 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. The next thing I’ll do is wait a little longer, maybe a week, just to be 100% sure that I’m making the right decision.
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.

Share this post