Get Rid Of Materialism Once And For All

{AF template=round_quotes} The art is not making money, but in keeping it. Proverb. {/AF}

When I lived at home, my mum bought my shampoo and conditioner for me. I used John Frieda Sheer Blonde, and at £5 a pop, it wasn’t cheap. However, when I went to university I realised that spending £10 a time on hair products every few weeks was absurd. Especially with my tight student loan budget.materialism

Thus, with some trepidation, I headed to out to look for something more within my stringent means, praying that my hair wouldn’t go green as a result.

I bought a Boots shampoo and conditioner for less than a pound each and, to my surprise, they were just as good as Frieda. I compared the ingredients and found that they were almost exactly the same. I realised that I’d been wasting my money (well, Mum’s) on something I perceived to be the best, namely due to glossy advertising campaigns featuring skinny, golden-tressed lovelies who I subconsciously aspired to be like (after all, isn’t that that what we’re told is beautiful today?)

In short, I was a brand whore. But, the brand whore mind-set is never going to be compatible with a student lifestyle, and thus I set about changing my slutty ways and start spending my student loan wisely.

Brand whoring is a problem that affects most of us today – the modern social disease. We’re exposed to relentless big-bucks advertising on a daily basis: in magazines, on television, radio, Facebook – heck, even the crummy bus that takes us home after lectures.

It’s a downside of being part of the technology-savvy generation; for every five minutes we spend on social-networking sites or on the net, we’re hit by an average of 50 adverts. That’s ten a minute, meaning escaping from clutches of brand whoring isn’t easy.

The modern worship at the altar of celebrity doesn’t help either; we see Alexa Chung in a gorgeous designer outfit, and we want it. All these celebrity-centric adverts have one implicit message: if you buy this/wear this/carry this, you will be happy, thin and fabulous, just like someone famous with a hefty bank balance. It preys upon insecurity and today’s obsession with weight and beauty – but, as a cash-strapped student, you’ve got to look past all this rubbish.

Of course, there’ll still be the odd person who strides into lectures, trendily dressed head-to-toe in not-so-cheap Topshop: but remember, most students don’t have enough money to do that. Especially on our student loans and occasional student grants!

However, it is still very possible to feel good and be stylish on the limited student loan you have.

Here are our top tips to save money and stop being a brand whore…

1)      Beating Brand Beauty.

When it comes to beauty products, ignore bells and whistles and look for own-brand; they’re cheaper, just as effective, and could potentially save you hundreds of pounds a year. I bought a big tub of Boots aqueous cream for a few pounds several months ago. It doubles up as a cleanser and moisturiser, and I reckon I use less than two pence worth a day of it. Plus, my boyfriend said to me last week “your skin looks great. Did you have a facial? ”.

If that’s not proof that own-brand products are just as good, I don’t know what is. Also, my aunt is a dermatologist, and she has told me many a time that expensive face creams are pointless purchases; like shampoo, they’re all mostly made up of the same thing, regardless of whether they cost a fiver or fifty pence. The best way to look after your skin is to wear SPF15 every day (even in winter), and not smoke.

2)      No more magazines

Avoid glossy fashion/ celebrity magazines. This might sound ridiculous – but if you don’t look at pictures of the rich and famous wearing the latest Prada dress, you’re less likely to want it. You might think I’m weak and that you’re perfectly capable of flicking through Elle without wanting to run to the high street – but, by not buying these magazines, you’re also saving yourself a couple of quid each week or month. That means more money for gin: lovely. And, you might rediscover the delicious pleasure of reading a bloody good book, rather than swotting up on who Sienna Miller’s shagging now.

3)      Get in Charity Shops.

Charity shops are the bees-knees. You can find wonderful, original stuff for pittance if you’re prepared to have a rummage; my best finds include a Chanel bag (yes, really) and a brilliant skirt with boats on it that I pull up to my armpits and wear as a dress. They usually have fantastic, granny-chic jewelery too, which is oh-so-trendy now.

4)      Don’t be scared to haggle.

This is best reserved for second-hand and vintage shops. But, don’t be scared to see if you can get a reduction – the worse that could happen is they’ll say ‘No’.

5)      Super swaps.

Share clothes with your friends; you can wear something different every time you go out without spending anything. Or, why not consider setting up a Swap Soc at your university, and bring together all reformed and reforming brand whores?

6)      Do not go out with rich friends.

Remember: you can beat brand whoring, and it’s really not that hard. If you can reform, you’ll also have some brilliant thrifty life-skills in place – so, even when you do have more money, you’ll value it so much more. When the day comes that spending ten pounds on a top doesn’t seem weirdly decadent, you will be very, very appreciative.

Like to discuss this more? Check out our student forum!

{AF template=round_quotes} Money is the barometer of society’s virtue. Ayn Rand. {/AF}

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