The more you get organized with the things around you, the more you discover things that need to be dealt with. In this case, coupons. Groupons. Gift certificates. Items with a shelf life that can be used… for more stuff?
That’s why I found myself hitting up Shoppers for bonus points with a coupon for toothpaste and a $10 gift card from a past visit. I was trying to optimize the buying I had to do by making sure that there was a chance of it being a LITTLE less costly on my next visit in.
But I think it’s completely possible to overdo it.
Being online like it’s your second home gets you involved in a number of contests, freebies and cool events that you normally wouldn’t be privy to. You win some, you lose some, and they start to stack up as the time passes.
I have a Starbucks gift card even though I don’t drink coffee, Cineplex movie passes despite 2011 being mostly a bust for films, and various other things that I’ll need to make a conscious effort to actually use.
So what do we learn from this?
We’ll always be consuming. You can try to consume less, better, differently, excessively — we can make changes to the way we go about living our lives, but we’re always going to be buying stuff to make it from day to day.
It’s how we consume that makes all the difference.
And there are small steps that we can take to get ourselves better informed as consumers — for example, one of the tools that’s available out there in Ontario is the Smart Consumer Calendar from the Ministry of Consumer Services.
It covers the following topics:
- donating wisely
- navigating energy contracts
- makes changes to auto insurance
- buying a vehicle
- moving and movers
- dealing with telemarketers
- handling payday loans
- how to acquire bereavement services
- dealing with vehicle problems
- how to deal with diabetes
- knowing your consumer rights
These are all things that we have questions about, but often don’t know enough about them to make informed decisions. This is just an example of the many tools out there that you can use to make sure that you’re not getting hoodwinked when you make your way into the big, bad world out there.
So stay sharp, shop smart, and get educated on all the things you can do to get ahead in the world. Because really, if you don’t, who will?
–Casey E. Palmer