Like most people, COVID has had a profound impact on my life in a lot of ways. As well as re-focusing on what’s important to me in terms of my work and family, it’s also changed my shopping habits completely. Then I realized, the way I spend money now, and what I spend it on, is completely different from even 10 years ago.
Less Fast Fashion
When I got my first job after university, my salary would disappear in a few days in a cloud of socialising, make-up and clothes. Primark had recently opened in Newcastle and would leave every trip with bags and bags of clothes. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still go to Primark, especially for kids clothes, but I don’t buy as much there for myself anymore.
Why? Well, for one, the clothes just didn’t last very long. The number of things I had to throw away because they were torn or faulty was just a waste of money. Now, I much prefer to spend more money on less clothing. A few quality pieces rather than a bag full of things I’ll be throwing away in six months.
Supporting Independent Retailers
I’m not anti-big business, but I’m very pro-independent. The pandemic had an awful effect on a lot of small retailers, especially where I live. They were shops I’d seen online and always promised myself I’d buy from there, but never did. So while I do still do a lot of shopping at the bigger brand stores for my food etc, I’ve made a conscious effort to buy more items from smaller independents too. Recently, I got some lovely items from IDentity Lingerie. One was a green silk dressing gown and a lovely soft navy sheer lace bralette. They customise them to your size too, which means they fit perfectly. Now that winter is on the way, I will definitely be investing in a pair of pyjamas. Another favourite of mine at the moment is Durham Soap Company who have converted me to their fantastic shampoo bars.
As a freelancer myself, I’m finding it more important than ever to support independent businesses.
Know When To Spend Money
If you know me, you know I love a bargain. I don’t just like paying money for the sake of a brand name or because I couldn’t be bothered to look for a better deal elsewhere.
But over the years, there are some items that I now spend more money on, because you need to to get good quality. The types of things I mean include mattresses, earphones, speakers and walking shoes. In the past, I would have gone for the cheapest option possible and regretted it. Now, I still look for good deals but don’t just gravitate to the cheapest I can find.
I don’ begrudge spending the money on something I know is going to last me a long time and be good quality too. One of my best purchases over the last few years was an Emma mattress. It has improved the quality of my sleep massively and I find I’m having fewer headaches than I used to.
Ethical & Environmental
As a family with two small kids, the amount we throw away is disgraceful. Everything you buy is plastic-wrapped in even more plastic. While we’re still far from perfect, I’m trying to move us away from too much packaging by switching from bottles of shampoo and shower gel to bars. They’re not like the skin-stripping bars of soap you remember from childhood but are made with really high quality and ethically sourced ingredients. As a result, we’re throwing away fewer plastic bottles and the bars last a lot longer too.
Another little change I’ve made is to visit a local shop that sells loose ingredients that aren’t packaged, You simply take your own jars and bags with you and pay by weight. It’s taken a bit of getting used to, but once I’d sorted out all of the kitchen cupboards with cute storage jars, it’s working really well with less packaging and less throwing away food.
I’ve still got a long way to go on reducing our environmental impact as a family, but we’re finding ways to make changes regularly, so it will all add up.
Have your shopping habits changed during lockdown and have you found yourself sticking to this or going back to your old way?