Blogging And Consumerism

There’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, that’s by no means a new topic of conversation: the online world and consumerism.

Working with students and getting them to think about their careers, they often tell me that they aspire to be in this creative content world on the internet. They see YouTubers and Instagrammers living the high life, shopping all the time and seemingly making a lot of money from doing not a lot. The wonderful Sophie Kate recently came into one of our schools to talk with students about being a professional YouTuber and I asked her to be honest with the students about how hard she works and how it’s not a case of just putting the camera on and being a millionaire.

Though this blog isn’t and probably will never be my main money earner, I am very aware of how it gives off the impression that I flaunt around doing fun things all the time and eating out all the time.

The reality is that I don’t, actually, have that much disposable income and live paycheck to paycheck most months. Like most other people, I prioritise certain things and cut back on others; eating with friends gives me the most joy so I allow myself to do so a couple of times a month. But in its place, I don’t buy clothes new if I can help it, and get 90% of my clothes from eBay.

I had a conversation with a couple of other bloggers on Twitter the other day about how they had watched a documentary about fast and cheap fashion and how it’s so detrimental to those who work in the factories. They commented saying that haul videos where purchases are shown off do nothing but encourage more consumerism. I felt quite smug chipping in, saying how much of what I wear is second hand, but the truth is that what isn’t from eBay is usually from Primark. Or Uniqlo, which probably isn’t much different.

Following the conversation, I wrote up this really smug post about how I don’t do haul posts, but as I wrote it I thought that actually, is a haul much different to a food post? The same sinking feeling I get watching someone show what they’ve bought, knowing I couldn’t afford all those nice things, is probably the same feeling someone has when looking at all the times I eat in nice restaurants. We all spend our money in different ways and I have no right to judge those who spend it on pretty things (because God knows I would do exactly the same if I had disposable income).

What I do want to do, however, is be more honest online. I get some bloody good bargains on eBay and so I want to promote these more. While not wanting to put myself into the frugal blogger pigeon hole, I do want to write more about being frugal and how I cut corners elsewhere to make space for the things I do want to spend money on.

I ask a question at the end of each post (because it’s Blogging 101) but this time I genuinely want to know: what areas do you sacrifice to make sure you’re able to enjoy the things that matter to you? Answer in the comments – go!

Comments

  1. Your writing is eye-opening! I never thought of my food/travel posts might make someone feel not so great, when actually it really could.. It serves as a reminder for to write in a more real way, instead of the rose-tinted version of life. I sacrifice on fashion a lot, food sometimes, to be able to travel more.

    • Thank you! I think it’s good to be inspiring. But also I think we have a duty to be honest with whether we’re cutting on a certain area to do that cool thing.

  2. I relate to this post so much and I’m really glad you wrote it. It is SUPER strange in the blogging world where consumerism is TOP DOG. I am just like you, I spend more money on experiences. The majority of my wardrobe is from second hand stores – we have a really great selection in NYC! I’ve thought about blogging about my awesome thrifty finds and this post may just inspire me… My most recent was J.Crew genuine leather boots for $10!

    • Please do blog about your thrifty finds! I really worry that young people will be reading what I write and think that they are obliged to spend a lot of money, when in fact I don’t spend a lot at all.

  3. Can`t remember the last time that I bought clothes that weren’t for work. My money goes on books, because it’s only the 25 mins of reading on the bus going to and from work each day that keeps me sane!

  4. This is an interesting topic to me as well- when I lived in Germany, I barely decorated my apartment at all. The walls were bare and white for the entire three years I was there, because I wanted to spend that money on travel.

    Now that I’m back in the States, I have not been traveling **nearly** as much as before, even inside the US. My employment situation has been tenuous for a while, and now that it’s nonexistent, I am too worried about money to do anything extravagant. I have enough money set aside to do pretty much anything I want, but as long as I have no income, I’m too scared to use it.
    Steven recently posted…[Ancient Repost] It’s bloody Brigadoon!My Profile

    • I’ve been like that for most of this year – I’ve slowly cut back on so many areas in my life due to lack of disposable income. I really hope you get something amazing soon, you deserve an amazing job.

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