Be A Conscious Economic Soldier.

Be A Conscious Economic Soldier.

We constantly are at war, either militarily, religiously or ideologically among others, namely: economically since our wallets are the preys under attack. It is happening right before us and we are (un)consciously letting it happen. From the forgotten subscriptions to the surprising delivering fees, without forgetting the unnecessary yet shiny products we are nudged to purchase to fulfill superficial needs based on preconstructed insecurities; a few euros here and a few euros there, quickly the compounding effect of the wasted money is working against not only you in the short term but also your older self, family and community at large in the long run.

Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.” ~ Albert Einstein

An eye-opening experience triggered both my journey towards conscious consumption as well as financial independence. Indeed, once upon a time, I was lucky enough to get selected as a commercial model by a Dutch fashion brand, whose items I already enjoyed as a consumer prior to it, to get involved in their e-commerce marketing campaign. On a day-off from my regular job, it was a long but fun day to live and 40-ish-outfit changes later, I got paid 1,200e. In other words, I got paid for a day of shooting from a brand I was used to buy and wear on a daily basis for free… 

As weird as it sounds, I both felt great and disappointed because it is true that when I appreciate a particular brand, I naturally become an advocate, marketeer and a brand ambassador; justice was partially made the day I received their paycheck for the free ads prior to the shooting.

Now, whenever I see people displaying a brand on them, I cannot help but to think that they are being exploited to some extent. Even though, everyone cannot/do not want to be a model, those consumers are might be spending money on items and brands they identify with for certain reasons but they also blindly work as a free marketing agent that will not profit from this uncompensated local and digital marketing campaign.

After reflection, I concluded that the moral of this unique modelling experience is to: “own everything in your life”. I must make sure to literally be the owner, even partially, of whatever I like interacting with, and it has to do with investing. For instance, let’s consider an ambitious woman named Doris who: wakes up at 6am thanks to her phone, goes running and comes back one hour later, eats her breakfast, washes herself and gets dressed before going to work in a startup, enjoys a healthy lunch break with a coffee, comes back home to enjoy a salad made of everything from her garden in front of her favorite show. Here is a rather classic routine you might say, except for the fact that Doris is smarter than that since she walks the talk as an Apple (phone), Nike (running outfit), Kellogg’s (breakfast), Inditex (Zara outfit for work), Uber (ride to work), employee stock option (work), Beyond Meat (healthy lunch), Starbucks (“coffee”) and Netflix (favorite show) shareholder. This is a great method to reuse her money in a way she can (literally) benefit from, as one of the ways to adopt an ecological approach to our finances.

“We have power as consumers.” ~ bell hooks in “All About Love”

Bear this in mind, if companies are investing millions of dollars in marketing campaigns, it is because we have something they are extremely interested in: our attention, time and money. At a greater scale, I can understand it might seem unreasonable to suggest that one isolated personal action can have any impact on this established system, that is debatable. What needs to be apprehended is that the power you hold at a local scale as well as your money. Just like your voice you expressed through a vote in a democratic election, and it is up to you, the owner to make it walk the talk and finance the projects you feel strongly about.

Once we realize and accept the idea that we are in an economic war, it is easier to recognize that now might be the most crucial and judicious time to be selfish and conscious about how you spent your money. Because underneath this war, a true market of influence is being exercised upon us, consumers. I am not referring to social media influencers but ideologies, businesses or lobbies and a system at large. Indeed, the simple act of purchasing a certain product over another one makes you an implicit accomplice of everything and anything the company is attached to, between deforestation in Brazil and providing a fairer source of revenue to local communities, depending on who you consciously decide to support and buy from. 

bell hooks wrote it better in her classic book entitled “All About Love” when she states: “We can exercise that power all the time by not choosing to invest time, energy, or funds to support the production and dissemination of mass media images that do not reflect life-enhancing values, that undermine a love ethic.

Thus, the importance of giving a purpose to our purchase by thinking critically about one’s economic, social, and ecological footprint as well as acting in a more responsible fashion.

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