Reader's Digest Canada
The Quest To Buy Less Image Credit: Reader's Digest Canada
The Quest To Buy Less Image Credit: Reader's Digest Canada

The Quest To Buy Less

Sick of acquiring scads of stuff?You have options, from bartering andrepairing to making do with what youalready own.

Vanessa Farquharson

SARAH LAZAROVIC USED to love window-shopping on her way to and from her job as a web producer at the CBC. But in 2012, a few years after the mother of two began working from home as a freelance illustrator, the windows she gazed at most often became those on her Internet browser—ones whose marketing algorithms targeted her specific desires.

“I’d go down a rabbit hole and spend hours browsing online shops,” she says. Tired of wasteful consumption, and wasted time, Lazarovic committed to not buying any clothing for an entire year. Instead, whenever she came across an item she wanted, she would paint a picture of it. “It was a way of both mitigating desire and having a creative exercise.”

In order to help herself consume more thoughtfully in general, Lazarovic created a “Buyerarchy of Needs”—an illustrated pyramid chart mimicking psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs—which lists the myriad ways one can acquire something, from most to least sustainable: use what you have; borrow; swap; thrift; make; buy.

Whether due to changing financial circumstances or a wish to lead a more self-sufficient lifestyle, many Canadians are striving, or are forced, to buy less. It doesn’t have to be a loss, though, and there are plenty of ways to make the transition easier.


Maintaining a stable standard of living in any majo

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