How to Stop Buying Stuff: 15 Things I Don't Buy & Their Alternatives
I like to live my life intentionally and purchase only things that add value and meaning to my life. Some people ask me if I feel deprived not buying what I want, but the truth is that one only feels deprived if there is no contentment in their life.
In my case, I don't feel deprived at all because I have all my basic needs covered, and I'm content with what I have. I also feel happy, and I don't feel that there is a void that needs to be filled by nonessential things.
Here's how to stop buying stuff. Some things I make myself using eco-friendly materials, and some of them are healthier, more eco-friendly, and more budget-friendly alternatives to the things that I have been using in the past.
1. Hand Soap
This all-natural and homemade hand soap is made up of only three ingredients: liquid Castile soap with tea tree oil, fractionated coconut oil, and water. Adding lavender essential oil is also optional. It's antibacterial, moisturizing, and safe for the environment too.
2. Dish Soap
I used to buy cheap dish soaps that contain harmful and harsh chemicals. Although there are eco-friendly dish soaps available at the store, I find them to be quite expensive. So, I made my own dish soap using only three ingredients: Castile soap, water, and washing or baking soda. I prefer to use Castile soap with tea tree oil because of its antibacterial properties.
3. All-Purpose Cleaner
All-purpose cleaner is another one of the things you don’t need to buy. The quick, simple and effective, natural all-purpose cleaner that I make only uses three ingredients white vinegar, lemon rind, and water. It's effective in removing hard water stains while disinfecting at the same time. I use it on the countertop and floor tiles to keep them clean naturally.
4. Body Wash
A bottle of Castile soap goes a long way. I also use it to make body wash such as this one, which is moisturizing and antibacterial at the same time. I use coconut oil because it's widely available and cheaper here in Thailand. But, if you use it to make this body wash, be sure to use fractionated coconut oil so it won't clog up your drain.
I stopped buying flour at the store and have been making it myself using rolled oats. A 14-oz bag of rolled oats costs $1.50, and I use it to make cakes.
Speaking of cakes, I have also been making them myself using very simple and natural ingredients.
I make granola using five ingredients: rolled oats, three tablespoons of cocoa powder, coconut oil, and coconut nectar syrup. I just need to add milk to it.
Speaking of milk, I also make my own soy milk or oat milk so I stop buying them at the store. They're cheaper to make and quick and easy.
A 14-0z bottle of mango jam that I make only requires two large ripe mangoes, an apple, and lemon juice. It's super easy, and I don't have to add more sugar.
I also make my own hummus using chickpeas, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, salt, and pepper. It's more economical, healthy and tasty too.
11. Vegan Butter
I used to buy vegan butter at the store, but it's just so expensive. And I'm not really crazy about the ingredients in there. So, I've been making my own using only five ingredients such as coconut oil, coconut cream, olive oil, salt, and some lemon juice. It's so quick to make and easy.
I stopped buying from big clothes brands about five years ago and have been purchasing from thrift stores and charity shops instead. I also make my own cardigans.
I don't even remember the time I bought a bag, maybe ten years ago. But ever since I learned how to crochet, I have been making my own bags, such as this purse and shoulder bag that also serves as a shopping bag.
As part of my low-buy challenge, I like to make my own gifts for loved ones, such as this sweater for my partner, a hat for my son, and several other crocheted items and hand-painted cards for my family and friends.
15. Moisturizer & Acne Treatment
I've been using fractionated coconut oil for my skin as a natural moisturizer. For occasional acne treatment, I use Dentonite Clay.
How to stop buying stuff
I believe that we all have a moral responsibility toward the planet and other creatures that we share this world with. I am not perfect, and there are still so many areas in my life that are a work in progress.
Let me share this beautiful passage from Thich Nhat Hahn, which continuously inspires me to care for the planet in every little way that I can:
“The Earth is our mother nourishing and protecting us in every moment, giving us air to breathe, fresh water to drink, food to eat, and healing herbs to cure us when we are sick. When you realize the Earth is so much more than simply your environment, you'll be moved to protect her in the same way as you would yourself. This is the kind of awareness, the kind of awakening that we need. And the future of the planet depends on whether we're able to cultivate this insight or not. The Earth and all species on Earth are in real danger. Yet, if we can develop a deep relationship with the Earth, we'll have enough love, strength, and awakening in order to change our way of life.”