School starts up again in September. The malls are are in full back-to-school mode. Lots of sales are on now, from shoes to jeans, backpacks to underwear. And you need to start thinking about new clothes for your kids, right? Right? Wrong! Back to school sales are a gimmick. They are designed to convince you that you need new clothes in order to go back to school. You need a new back pack. New shoes. You need the right color, the right brand the bling on the back pack. You must get it while it’s on sale! Black Friday is a crazed consumer-driven holiday full of people buying things they want but don’t need. Back-to-school shopping has become the same thing.
Time Magazine says
Teen Vogue magazine is promoting August 11 as a national day of back-to-school shopping. Already a number of participating retailers have signed on, including Aeropostale, American Eagle, Cover Girl, Maybelline, Pantene and Staples.
During a time when the economy is slow and you are forced to spend less, the retailers are desperate to get you out making purchases and back-to-school sales do just that. If you can recognise it as a marketing scam and follow these steps before you decide to buy anything, you’ll save money, buy responsibly, leave a smaller carbon footprint, and feel more in control of yourself in a must-buy world.
- Before you start back to school shopping, take a moment and go through your children’s clothing and school supplies. Do they really need more clothes/shoes/backpacks/paper/binders etc? Take stock of what you have and make a list of what you need.
- Reuse your old back packs that are still fully functional. Indoor shoes, if they haven’t been outgrown, can be used as outdoor shoes this year. Check to see if clothing still fits. Hand down clothing that is too small to a younger child.
- Shop secondhand. Our secondhand clothing stores and landfills are overflowing with unwanted clothes. Because they are worn out? No! Because they are not quite the latest style. Because someone has grown out of them. Because someone had too many of them. Secondhand shopping is not only cheaper, it is a much greener and more sustainable way to shop because you are reusing items rather than buying new. Secondhand items create an almost zero carbon footprint.
- Buy things that will last. Choose a good quality back pack and reusable lunchboxes and containers. Then the kids can use them year after year.
- If you can’t find what you need secondhand, be a responsible shopper and buy it from a local small business owned by your own community members whose children actually go to school with yours, and who actually spend money outside of the business that benefits your own community. Don’t shop at Walmart.
- Stay away from the malls! Chances are, if you don’t GO THERE you won’t buy anything. Malls are set up with colors, posters, music and even temperature to encourage you to buy what they are selling. Even being around the people who are spending money can cause you to feel like it is ok to do the same thing.
Only buy what you need, when you need it. Refuse to buy anything this year in honor of your children going back to school, unless it is something they actually need. Boycott back-to-school sales. Not only will you save a lot of money, but you will be acting in a more environmentally-responsible manner, and you will be doing your small part to control an out-of-control, consumer-driven (consuming) society.