In 2023, a new and increasingly popular job dominates the virtual world: an influencer. But this ambiguous title can take many different forms. This could be promoting some sort of aesthetic lifestyle or encouraging you to buy trending products. On the opposite side of influencing is the growing trend of de-influencing, which involves debunking overhyped products.
Before purchasing something, take a second to stop and ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” Your wallet will thank you later, and you will prevent unnecessary clutter in your home. Here are some objectives to keep in mind:
1. Analyze the context in which the product is being used
Influencing often takes over when you are scrolling through social media. It comes in many different forms, some more obvious than others.
You may be mindlessly scrolling through TikTok before bed, when you come across an “Unbox with me!” video. A tower of Amazon boxes drop one by one on top of each other. The creator pulls out a set of pastel, mini cloud-shaped box cutters. Why does she need five different colored box cutters, as opposed to a regular one that may not be as aesthetically pleasing but likely gets the job done more efficiently? It doesn’t matter right? You’ve been influenced, before the unboxing even began.
In cases like this look at what the product is being used for. Will it actually provide you with something better than what you already have or is it just pretty to look at?
2. Longevity, quality and necessity
Another important thing to keep in mind is if you think you will actually use a product, how often will you use it, how long will it last and is it practical? If you come across a product that looks pretty, that doesn’t mean the quality is top tier. If there are lots of influencers buying and sharing the same products, that could mean it is inexpensive, which often means lesser quality if it is from a mass production corporation like Amazon.
An example of this is a small, portable blender. It’s true that as a society we are always rushing around trying to fit everything into our jam packed schedule. But if you want a smoothie to start off your day, you can take a second to make it in a normal, better quality blender before you leave the house instead of bringing a mini one along with you. Trying to do it on the go means you would need to bring the ingredients with you or buy ingredients elsewhere. This is just as much work, if not more, than making time for it before you leave the house.
3. Will it produce excess waste?
Going hand in hand with longevity, buying eco-friendly products also tends to mean better quality. In today’s climate crisis, it’s critical as consumers that we are attentive and aware of what we are purchasing. If your heart is set on buying something you saw on social media, you should at least try to find the most sustainable version of it, preferably from a small business.
A growing trend in the influencer world is making a minimalistic, aesthetically pleasing and organized home. In reality, unnecessary compartmentalizing is producing more waste. The packaging most products come in is wasteful enough, especially in the kitchen. But this packaging is just being replaced with more glass, plastic and acrylic containers. Pouring pasta into a sleek glass jar, labeling it with a sticker that reads “pasta” and securing it with a lid has become a popular style in influencers’ kitchens.
The original packaging isn’t even being used at that point, making it even more wasteful. Items come in packaging for a reason. In the case of food, they are meant to be transferred from the packaging into whatever dish they will be served on.
Instead of pouring your new box of spaghetti into a tall, glass jar, topping it with a matte black lid, pulling out your labeled stickers and selecting the one that reads “pasta” to stick on the jar, save yourself the extra steps and time.
4. Do you even like it?
This may sound pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how easily certain colors can become a trend. Take beige for example: Years ago the color was often seen as mundane. Nowadays, beige and similar shades have become popular in fashion and could be seen as a trend itself.
That being said, it isn’t a bad idea to stop for a second and ask yourself if you actually like the color of the product being marketed. Monochrome themes are pleasing to the eye and many influencers choose this route to create a soothing, balanced aesthetic in their content. But replicating the image of others can take away from your personal taste.
We are influenced now more than ever, which can be a positive and inspiring ideology in moderation. Yet, it can be a dangerous game when it comes to overconsumption. Keeping these four items in mind before you reach for your wallet can help combat negative spending habits and help you maintain a sense of originality in your life.