When it comes to sustainability, it is generally agreed that buying less is one of the most important choices we can all make. Simply by reducing the amount of items that we purchase, significant inroads can be made into sustainable living, reducing waste, and even reducing our carbon footprint.
However, there are nevertheless times when buying an item is unavoidable – when “make do and mend” will not suffice, and a purchase is required. From a sustainability point of view – not to mention a financial one – the pressing need to make a purchase can seem rather complicated, but can be simplified by asking the following three questions that are designed to make sure every purchase you make counts.
Sometimes an item will malfunction and you’ll need to replace it as soon as possible – major appliances that you can’t be without, for example. However, if you do have time available and can ‘manage without’ for a few days, taking that time will definitely go in your favour. The more chance you have to fully research your purchase, the better your eventual purchase will be, both in term of sustainability (you’ll have time to research materials or look for local options, for example) and the cost (as we’ll discuss in more detail below).
As a general rule, the more you use an item, the more you should invest in it – there’s definitely a lot of truth behind the old adage of “you get what you pay for”. If you use an item frequently, then focus your search for a replacement on items that offer excellent quality and are very much built-to-last. This likely means a higher price tag, but in terms of reducing waste, it’s preferable to only need to buy one replacement that will last for years over multiple replacements that only last for six months. For items, you use less frequently, consider the low-to-middle price brackets.
Finally, a financial question that can help you to finalise the decision and ensure that your purchase is absolutely the right choice. When you’ve settled on an item, research the price at a few different stores – making sure to only compare the prices of items of comparable quality. When you have a shortlist of possibilities, browse the likes of Net Voucher Codes to see if there’s a voucher code that you can use, and also look to see if there are any supplementary benefits (such as loyalty points) that purchasing from a particular store might offer. Hopefully, you should then be able to buy the item you want, at a price that is competitive, and perhaps with a few extra perks as well.
By asking and then answering each of the questions above whenever you need to make a purchase, you should be able to enjoy two benefits: you can be sure of a good price and be confident that the item you choose is the best long-term, and thus sustainability-friendly, choice.