Overconsumption hurts everyone — you, your wallet, and the earth. Whether we like to admit it or not, humans consume a lot. At times, we do it to excess and it causes damage to ourselves and the planet. It is important to be aware of how we, as individuals, play a part in overconsumption and take action and make small changes in our day to day to help the earth and ourselves.
How Does Overconsumption Affect You?
Your Physical Health
Your diet plays a huge role in how healthy you are. The types of food you eat, how nutritious they are, and how much you eat play a factor in your overall health.
Overconsumption of unhealthy foods and poor diet choices can lead to obesity and other health conditions. Some of these diseases include diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and certain cancers (1).
While you eat out, the portions they serve you may not be controlled, but you can control the amount you eat.
Just as you can control the amount you eat, you can control how much you buy as well.
Be mindful of the foods you choose to eat and how much you buy because your health is on the line.
Lack of Space
When the sales signs flash across computers or red banners catch your eye at the store, people jump at the chance to buy more to save more.
However, what you don’t save is space.
You sacrifice the space in your home to store all the things that you purchased. You may find yourself walking around with all your new unused items. Eventually, you believe you need to upgrade your space to fit all items or even get a storage unit.
When you just buy what you need, you don’t have to worry about where things go or stress about how much space you have or don’t have.
Overconsumption takes time out of your day to do what you care about.
It takes time to browse through physical stores and shop online.
On top of that, when you buy more, you have to put in more effort and time to take care of those items. If you have to care for it, you have less time to spend. Unfortunately, time is something we cannot get back.
How Overconsumption Affects Your Wallet?
The more things you buy, the more you spend — no matter how much you think you are saving.
Whether you save $50 on a 50% off sale, you are still paying $50.
Overspending & Overbuying + Danger of Sales
Sales and coupons are meant to get you to spend more.
While sales and coupons are a great way to “save money”, it makes you spend more than what initially wanted. Because you believe that it’s a good deal and fear that the sale won’t happen again, you want to make the most of it. As a result, you purchase more at the moment and feel like you got a great deal.
In reality, you didn’t need those extra items in the first place.
As time goes by, you find yourself not reaching for those clothes or your food ends up spoiling. But it is rare that people realize they lost money.
Some examples of overbuying:
- Elderly couples who shop at Costco. They buy bulk items thinking they saved on their purchase. In reality, many items expire before they get to finish it. By buying a lot of the items, it ends up spoiling — a waste of money, food, and impact on the environment.
- We buy more than we need because it’s “on sale”, it’s “free”, or we can’t find what we already have and the vicious cycle continues.
Credit Card Debt & Dangers of a Low Credit Score
As of 2020, the average credit card holder has $5,315 in debt (2).
Overconsumption and spending can lead to a never ending cycle of debt. As a result, it can lead you to even more debt, increase interest rates, and lower your credit score.
Low credit scores have many side effects some of which include (3)
- Less renting options
- Paying more for insurance
- Difficult time getting a loan for your business or future home
Spending money isn’t bad. But if you find yourself spending more than you earn to buy things you don’t need, it will come back and hurt you in the future. According to a study, 56% of Americans have $5,000 or less in savings, while a third have $1,000 or less (4). Overconsumption and overspending can result in living paycheck to paycheck, being anxious about money, and not prepared for unexpected emergency costs.
How Does Overconsumption Affect the Environment?
The effects of overconsumption on the planet are brutal. While it seems like the effects are distant, they are actually affecting us already.
Overconsumption effects on our earth…
- Overconsumption leads to increase waste in landfills (5)
- Increase greenhouse gases which results in warmer temperature of the planet
- Destruction of wildlife habits and forests
- Food waste creates methane, a greenhouse gas, when it is trapped under all the rubbish
- Polluting ground water supplies
- Increase air pollution
- Climate change (6)
- Increase wildfires – destroying homes of animals and people
- Melting ice caps, which increase sea levels and destroy coastal properties
- More frequent and unpredictable natural disasters
- Changes in our ocean
- Warmer ocean temperatures causes death of coral reefs and sea life (7)
- Overfishing causes an imbalance in the food web affecting other animals (8)
- Plastic waste is abundant in the ocean (9), which lead to marine wildlife dying of starvation as plastic fills their stomachs
Why Does It Matter?
As you know, we rely on earth for its resources. With the consistent overuse of resources, we will eventually have nothing left for our future generations. While future generations will be affected much more than us now, we are already seeing how overconsumption is affecting animals, plants, and the weather today. It is up to each of us to make small changes to help the Earth. You can control how much you can choose to consume or not consume. Every purchase you make matters because you decide with your dollars what you stand for and believe in.
Why Does Overconsumption Matter to a Professional Organizer?
Like you, I live on this earth and care about it. As a professional organizer, I have been to many people’s homes and I find they are brimming with items they believed they needed due to fancy marketing or other reasons. I have seen the financial, physical, and mental burden that overconsumption has created. As a result, I co-founded the SHiFT™ approach, to help people tackle overconsumption from all angles from their health to their finances If you are in the Contra Costa & Alameda area and would like to work with a professional organizer who is passionate about the environment AND your health, sign up for a free consultation call with me today and we can get started.