Here are some shocking stats: the average American throws out 81 pounds of clothing a year, and about 81% of wasted household food ends up in a landfill.
Yes, we live in a messed up system where companies are by and large ruining the planet, but we as individuals can be agents of change when it comes to our spending, investing, and everyday choices. I mean, how often have you tossed a piece of clothing in the trash because you were downsizing and didn’t have time to get to Goodwill? (Which btw, ends up trashing a lot of their donations.)
As Americans, we often think the solution to any problem can be found after dealing with the problem for awhile. But a new way of thinking (that’s really an old way of thinking) says “Hey- what if we try and avoid the problem altogether?”
The Buyerarchy of Needs
The pyramid provides a guide to your spending that I think aligns perfectly with our budgeting belief, values based spending.
Much like values based spending, the buyerarchy of needs asks that you get in touch with your personal needs, desires, and lifestyle choices. It asks: do you really need a new top, or can you ask to borrow one from your sister? Borrowing saves you money, time, and is better for the planet- let’s do that!
Initially created with clothing shopping in mind, the buyerarchy of needs can be slightly adjusted and applied to any area of spending.
Let’s take food shopping:
use what you have would be finding a use for those lentils that have been sitting in the back cabinet for 9 months.
borrow- walking over to the neighbors house to ask if they have a cup of sugar rather than buying a 3lb bag you’ll never use all of.
swap- trading a can of black beans your kids hate for a can of chickpeas they’ll actually eat.
thrift- ok I actually don’t think this one applies to food
make- cooking at home as opposed to ordering out
buy- ordering out, going out to eat in person
By following the buyerarchy of needs, we avoid so much that later becomes a problem in our lives. If we don’t overbuy, we don’t need to declutter. If we don’t declutter, we don’t create more waste for a landfill. By not creating waste, we’re not literally throwing away our money.
How the Buyerarchy of Needs Saves You Money
The buyerarchy of needs lays out a clear roadmap to save you money and to lessen your impact on the planet.
Most Americans have a lot of stuff. Take a glance around your home right now; you’ll probably see a lot of items! And I’m not shaming that- in fact, the items you already own could easily be a tool to save future you money.
Notice that the base of the pyramid is “use what you have.” This is the ultimate frugal lesson, and the ultimate eco-conscious lesson. If you can get more mileage from an item you already own, you save more money and lessen the impact on the planet that comes from making new sh*t.
Blanking on how you can use things in a new way? Here are a few ideas:
-Glass jars or (like salsa or yogurt) or chipped mugs can become new plant holders or candles.
-Images from a calendar can be put in frames and become wall art.
-Spare wood from an home project can become a cutting board or a new long lasting bath mat.
Remember: creativity is your friend when it comes to saving money! Cast your new of new usages wide and see what you can do within your own home. The buyerarchy of needs is your guide here.
Have you tried this approach? Do you have any tips for repurposing things you already own, or thrifting tips for the community?