Aldous Huxley authored the novel ‘Brave New World’ in 1932.
He famously wrote about a dystopian world whereby the Government controls citizens through advertising and slogans. He was a futurist, cynic and prophet; predicting numerous aspects of our future society. Throughout this novel a slogan is repeated;
“Ending is better than mending!”
This shows that Aldous was well ahead of his time. His commentary on consumerism and peoples love for materialistic possessions was a warning sign of things to come. The phrase is intended to encourage people to consume, spend and repeat to find personal and financial happiness in a robotic society of followers.
Now let me ask you something. Has this book (written nearly 90 years ago) made you question your own attitude towards spending? Do you simply throw away possessions that are old, broken or in slight need of repair?
Do you upgrade your phone every 24 months, even though the device is perfectly fine only to wonder where all your money goes? The answer is you’ve become a materialistic consumer without even realizing it. It’s become normal to consume and not even think about it.
I want this article to serve as your official notice to stop ‘ending’, start ‘mending’ and re-learn how to engage as a mindful consumer.
Here is how to start mending, not ending:
Maintain your belongings; get more from them, save more money
Often we forget to maintain our belongings and it costs us a lot of money.
What do I mean by maintain though? I mean regularly taking care of our possessions to prolong their life, enjoy them more and lower the chances of them breaking or becoming unfit for purpose.
Failing to maintain your belongings can have high impact costs to your budget. If you fail to clean your homes guttering for example, the gutters will fill with leaves and debris and cause the gutters to decay, rust and let water into your house. If that happens, it will cost you dearly to replace the gutters and repair the water damage it creates.
For instance, the same logic applies all the way down to a pair of shoes. Say you purchase a brand new pair of white Converse; nearly 90% of the time these are thrown out and repurchased simply because they are no longer white (and look dirty). You rarely throw them out because you have worn the soles out. If you took time once every few months to clean your shoes with a warm wet rag, they will stay clean and white.
Similarly the laces can be completely replaced for as little as a dollar, or alternatively soaked in Nappy-san to whiten.
As you can see, by bringing back the concept of ‘maintaining’ your belongings, you stand a chance of prolonging their life and ultimately saving a lot of money.
If you buy something brand new, you are guaranteed to lose money
Buying products second hand helps preserves the lifespan of an item past its original owner. It also save you a heap of money.
For those who like the idea of becoming a ‘conscious consumer’, it also avoids wastage and superfluous consumption; items destined for the tip, get a second life.
Tables, desks, chairs, garden pots and more are often listed online for a fraction of their retail price. The next time you find something online from IKEA that you want, consider doing a search for them on Gumtree and you will quickly find the exact thing you want, often discounted by up to 90%.
I did this recently with a home office desk I was building; I needed a specific table top and a specific set of height adjustable legs. The cost from IKEA to buy new was $350 for both items. I found the exact items on Gumtree for a mere $50 – a saving of $300.
Stop upgrading your belongings, learn to ‘make do’ for longer
If a phone contract costs you $89 a month, $30 of that often covers the cost of the phone hardware itself. Over a two year contract, that equates to $936 in total.
Why do you need to keep upgrading your phone when a new one comes out? Since when did it become OK to waste $1000 simply because you wanted a new version of what you already had, that doesn’t really add much further value to your existence?
These are the types of questions you need to ask yourself to become more mindful of where your money is going.
Stepping back and evaluating your spending
Has this article made you re-think your purchasing habits, views on consuming and what it is you spend your money on? I am hoping so. We spend a lot of theoretical time discussing how materialistic behavior is bad, yet our very society encourages it from almost all angle.
Let me ask you.
How will you pledge to be different and start mending, not ending?