How consumption has changed in the last 25 years
I’m not that old yet. But I have noticed how our consumption habits have changed since my husband, and I got married about 25 years ago. After two years of buying our first suitcase together, a wheel came off. Instead of buying another one, we asked for a repair. This is what we had always done, but he refused. He said it would be cheaper to buy a new one. I was shocked. This day marks the beginning of the over-consumption era. The suitcase was quite an expensive one at the time, so how could it possibly be cheaper to buy a new one instead of changing the wheel?
Fast forward to 2023, the things we buy do not last, and we constantly need to buy new ones. It is so ingrained in society that if I say that once upon a time, we used to keep a tee-shirt for 10+ years, people will believe I am crazy. My father just gave me one of his t-shirts, and it is over 30 years old. So yes, there was a time when things lasted awhile.
We got used to replace often but it’s worse than that
We cannot change the quality of the things we can buy today. However, I’ve noticed that this short lifespan has led to another issue: we now naturally think it is okay to renew and change clothes and other accessories often — even if they are in good condition. We believe that we can donate our old items and buy something new to replace it. This state of mind creates an endless consumer demand, which is not good for our wallet nor for the environment.
The change in the way we get our food and drinks
When I was younger, my parents never went to the restaurant. It was kept for important occasions or family gatherings. We travelled a lot but never went to restaurants until they reached their 40s. My parents were not cheap. They were carefully budgeting their money. They had priorities, and eating out was not one of them. Our health, my education, their home, and travel experiences were top on the priority list. Everything else was a luxury that we’d enjoy on rare occasions.
Living in a city in 2023 means that you “almost never” eat out if you go to a café once a week or a restaurant once or twice a month. This is quite a lot compared to what people used to do. Were they less happy back then? Of course not. Were they feeling like they were stranded at home? No! That was their way of life.
It’s about how you want to experience your life
Learning to enjoy doing more than buying, prioritizing time spent together, and enjoying free activities would be a good start. Living a simpler life, just like before, would be a great relief on our wallets during this time of economic recession. It is not that boring, I promise!
If anything, the recession should tell us how expensive our lifestyle has become, and that they are other ways to live modern life.