January is Keep Britain Tidy’s Buy Nothing New Month so, we’ve got some top tips to help you reduce the amount of stuff you buy.

After all, buying stuff we don’t need is bad for the planet, and for our pockets. Everyone has heard of the saying reduce, reuse, and recycle, but you can also repurpose, repair, and refurbish. Better still, rethink your choices, and don’t buy stuff in the first place!

Small changes can really help to transform your mindset. You don’t need to make dramatic changes overnight, in fact, that’s pretty counterproductive. Instead, make a difference one step at a time, and retrain your brain and rethink your choices.

Use the 48-hour trick

January sales are big business. But are we just being tempted into buying things we don’t need, or things that nobody else wanted at the time?

The 48-hour trick is a great way to resist temptation. In the future, when you find something you want to buy, think on it for 48 hours. If you still want it and it’s something useful, then you can treat yourself, but the chances are you’ll have forgotten all about it.

This is the most important rule, because once you’ve bought something you’re not only stuck with it, but you’ve bought into the circle of production and consumption. This means that you have a empty pocket and an impulse purchase that the supplier will produce or procure another item to sell on elsewhere.

Even something as innocent as a chocolate bar bought at the tills can end up as a plastic wrapper floating down a river.

Hit unsubscribe

Have you ever counted the number of adverts and marketing messages you are exposed to? For the average person it is literally thousands. From the ads at the start of your daily podcast, to TV adverts, to the adverts on social media. Every day we’re bombarded with messages designed to make us spend money. What’s more, these are usually things we don’t actually need. 

One easy step to take is to unsubscribe from marketing emails. It just takes one click of a button to retract your permissions and stop companies from contacting you. Once they’re out of sight, they’re out of mind.

Another step recommended by Keep Britain Tidy is to turn off targeted ads on social media. You’ll still get ads, but they won’t be tailored to you based on previous searches and page views, so they’ll be far less tempting. You can find out how to turn off targeted ads here:  

Time for a detox

No, not a physical detox! We’re talking about a much more sensible digital detox.

Time online has been shown to increase stress levels, interfere with sleep patterns, and have a negative impact on mental health. Plus, as many as 1 in 4 posts are sales ads! So, try and restrict your time online. Again, most modern phones have built in app timers that you can use to control the amount of time you spend on apps.

Try and go offline (or at least mostly offline) this weekend. Instead enjoy being in the moment. Try going for a river walk, find somewhere to hide away and birdwatch, or just make some time to sit quietly and observe the wonders of the natural world.

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