We do love beach and pool season at Postconsumers. The sun is one of the best things about Planet Earth (even if we’re not biologically programmed to take in too much of it without sunscreen). But the consumer machine loves the change of seasons because it can use those seasons to convince people to buy things that they may not actually need. What consumer traps might you fall into this summer? Here are five common summer consumer traps and how to avoid them.
The New Bathing Suit
As summer rolls around and the prospect of going to the beach or pool gets nearer, it’s common to begin thinking “What should my new bathing suit look like this year?” It’s possible that you spend so much time in the pool or ocean that you truly, truly need a new bathing suit every summer. If so, we applaud your level of physical activity (We’re giving you the benefit of the doubt that you’re not spending all of that time in a lounge chair!). The likelihood, though, is that your bathing suit (or suits) is/are just fine. Instead of getting rid of your bathing suit at the end of one swim season, hold on to it. You’ll build up a set of options, and before long you won’t need to even consider buying a new swimsuit each summer. Also, remember that there are many modifications that you can make to your existing swimsuits to make them “feel like new”. Add some bling or trim or change the straps. The options are endless.
Finally, there’s always the option of trading! Consider a beginning of summer New-to-You Party. You and your friends can trade your old (clean) bathing suits and everybody gets a new look!
Of course, this consumer trap isn’t a trap if you have a growing child who needs a new size!
All New Sunscreen! All New Tanning Lotion! All New Summer Makeup!
It’s okay to want to be “on trend” with summer colors, but chances are that you don’t really need to replace all of your health, beauty and makeup products just because it’s summer. This is especially true if you’re responsible about packing products away when they’re only partially used instead of throwing them out. Before you run out and buy all new sunscreen, make sure that your sunscreen from last year isn’t sitting around, half-full (or half-empty, depending on your mindset!). And before you rush out to buy the latest makeup colors for summer, be sure to check your existing makeup to see if you don’t already have that color.
A tip to help you succeed at this is to pack up your summer colors and products like sunscreen at the end of the summer along with your summer clothing. That way, when you do your seasonal reorganization, you’ll have a complete view of what you do – and don’t – have.
Plastic Picnic Gear: Just Say No (And No, and No, and No).
How much money do you spend every summer on single-use beverage bottles and plastic picnic and food gear to take to the pool or beach with you? A better solution for your wallet and the planet is to buy one set of gear to pack food and beverages in and then bring them out each summer to reuse them. Not only will it save you money from buying bag after bag after bag of plastic plates and cups, but you’ll be reducing landfill waste all over. Trust us, the way to go is with one fashionable summer pack of reusable plates, cups, storage containers and even utensils. Add it up over years and years of new items for eating at the beach or pool and you’ll see what we mean!
Vacation Souvenirs: There Is a Better Way
Most summers come with a summer vacation, and that’s a great thing. It’s not a bad thing to want to bring something back from your trip to remember it by. However, most vacation souvenirs are bad for your wallet and bad for the planet. Last year, we came up with some great tips for eco- and budget-friendly vacation souvenirs that make you a responsible tourist instead of a consumer tourist.
This one is one that makes us a little crazy! It’s okay to like fashionable sunglasses. It’s more than okay to want to have several pairs of sunglasses. But how many pairs of sunglasses does one person really need? Resist the urge to think that you need a hundred pairs. Recently, sunglasses have become as over-consumed as shoes seem to be. Love your sunglasses. That’s fine. But know where the limit is!
Photo Credit: Alex Loach via Flickr