Friday, August 22, 2008

Day 123 of our Green Year: The Purchase Questions

Layla and I are committed to decreasing our possessions and are currently going through what we own to catalog it and determine what can stay and what can go. I have already decided to give away 90 percent of my books, which is not an easy thing for me to do. The books I am keeping are only ones that have sentimental value to me.

Now, since we are reducing our possessions to reduce consumption and prove we do not need a bunch of items to be happy, we are also not buying up a lot of things. In fact, Layla and I have come up with the Purchase Question System, which we use whenever we have to buy something that is not essential (food would be an essential purchase).

These questions we ask are:
  1. Does the cost of the item warrant the benefit we may receive from it? This means that if the benefit is just an immediate gratification (shoes we don't need) then it is not worth the long-term cost.
  2. How much will this product be used after its initial 'neatness' wears off? Buying one of those dancing electric animals is a perfect example of this. It may seem neat now, but it will end up in the closet soon enough.
  3. Can it be recycled or given away later? If it can, it makes buying it easier because someone else can get use out of it after we no longer use it.
  4. Where could this money be better spent? If it could go to bills, mortgage, charity or anything else instead of the product, maybe it should.
  5. Why are we buying this product? If the only reason is because we just saw it, then it is not a good buy. Impulse buys are not something we want to do. As well, if we buy it because we saw it on television, then maybe its not a good buy.
Those are just a few of the questions we will ask ourselves to ensure that everything we own is what we need.