Buy less and make do with what you've got

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The average person – guess I am not one of them – is bombarded with about 5000 ads per day telling them to buy more and how much happier they would be if they just would buy this, and that and the other.

Far too many, unfortunately, fall for that trick and actually believe that if they have more and buy more they are happier, be this possessions or money to buy those possessions.

And they try to do just that. They have the iPhone that only came out say six months ago but as soon as a new version comes out they have to queue up to get the newest one, and to make sure that they are one of the first to have the latest one, they stand in line for hours and hours. Does it make them happy? For five minutes maybe but that is about it.

What is wrong with using and continuing to use the things that you already have got and which work perfectly well? Well, nothing! But those adverts keep suggesting to the minds of those not as strong as some of us that they have to have those new things because of the additional bells and whistles and in order to be happy and “cool”. If you want to be cool go and sit in a refrigerator.

The first thing to do is in order to avoid all those suggestive adverts, those commercials, is to divorce yourself from your television. You won't regret it, especially not in places where you have to pay some US$200 per year for the permit to be able to watch all that garbage that masquerades as entertainment on the goggle box.

Use the Internet for real good films and material and with the right little websites and add-ons (more often than not free) you can even download many of the movies and such. Furthermore revert back to the radio and to reading – ideally real – books. You know those things printed on paper. The good part of the latter “entertainment” is that it does not need power to run and you can even read during a power outage, at the beech, on the mountain top and wherever else you might fancy. The danger is with reading that it broadens your mind and horizon, especially if you read the appropriate materials.

And you don't even have to buy the books. There are places – I am sure you may have heard of them – where you can borrow books. They are called public libraries. Though, if the powers-that-be had their way those would end up being closed depriving those with little resources of the possibility of reading.

On the other hand many public libraries, as they are run and funded, through tax monies, by the powers-that-be is that you won't necessarily get your hands on every book you might want to read. Some may be banned as too dangerous for public consumption.

On another level there is no need to buy a new cellphone, a new TV (best get rid off the old one to someone who wants it and forget about the TV altogether), PC, or what-have-you when the old one is still performing its service well and covers all our real needs. What good are all those bells and whistles that we will – more than likely – never ever use? They are but a waste of our money – in buying the new product while the old one still works – and a waste of resources. And, despite the claims of the adverts, those new products will make us no happier than the old ones. In addition to that when buying a new one you – more often than not – have to learn an entire new way of using it.

Before you heed the messages in those commercials first consider a few things.

  1. Does my old one still work?

  2. If the answer is yes then don't buy new.

  3. Does my old one still do what I need and want it to do?

  4. If the answer to this is also yes then, again, don't buy new.

  5. If it does not work ask yourself (or someone else) if can be repaired.

  6. If the answer here is yes then repair it, get it repaired or go to a Repair Cafe and get help in repairing it and do it yourself.

When it comes to repairing good old things that are more than worth retaining and (re)using then there are a number of resources you can access for free or almost free.

First there is Instructables (Internet), and also other sites that guide you through repairs and hacks, and then there are the Repair Cafes. Fair enough the latter are still few and far between in some places and they are not held frequently in some places as in others. Nevertheless they are something to look into before tossing a buying new.

Often the reason that something no longer works, specially when it comes to electrical and electronic goods, is a blown internal fuse, a faulty switch or a loose solder joint. While those faults are easy to locate and repair, in theory, the fact that manufacturers today don't want us to be able to repair anything or get anything repaired means that the screws often are of such a type that the ordinary person does not have the tools to remove them.

In other instances the cases are actually glues shut rather than the parts held together by screws and this makes access even more tricky. But with the help of someone who knows how to do it without damaging case and product a repair can, quite often, be successfully achieved and the products saved from becoming another item in the waste stream and a burden to the Planet.

© 2014