Hello my netizens,

Prior to a year, I had started growing an obsession of shopping. Retail therapy was the most effective way to bring out my happiness. I was overwhelmed by the magical card I had, .. just have to put the details and best of the things aka happiness is delivered to you… never knew from when, starting from scratch and everyday needs, those few purchases became a permanent habit of me.

I was new to a city due to job change and while missing my family I discovered YouTube to accompany me with so many type of unique and interesting contents for free. Then only, I got to know that I am forever wanting so many things. Pretty much influenced by beautiful YouTubers, insta stars and their fan groups with their comments. Here is my story to share.
Disclaimer* These are all my personal opinion, I don’t intend to hurt anyone’s feeling here or not trying to judge people.

Did you guys watch the movie ” the Truman show” starring Jim Carrey? It is one of my favorite movies. So, what happens in this movie, Truman, discovers that his whole life is a reality TV show, all his surroundings: like his wife, friends, neighbors, office, all of the people around him are actors. He naturally thought he is an ordinary man living his ordinary life, whereas his whole day is broadcasted via the most popular TV series in the world, each moments and every day with clever product placements here and there. He never had an idea about how he got exploited via consumerism, until one day he founds out.

While I watched the movie, I found how different products are promoted in the movie in specific slots by other actors. Like in one scene, Truman goes out to a beach with his friend and talking to him. Suddenly, his friend Started to praise the beer showing it towards the camera. Again, once when Truman is sharing his difficulties and trying to share his thoughts with his wife, as per the scripts, his wife all of a sudden started suggesting him a hot coco drink!! Perplexed Truman could only ask that is she even listening to him ? What the hell is going on…!!!

I feel product placement and promotions like this instance, are showing up everywhere in reality via social media marketing. Without a doubt, it has become a powerful tool for paid promotion and influence us to shade out money in things, maybe we don’t need.

YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, I am active in these three social media platforms. Though I am not a make-up person but checking those makeup videos are my guilty pleasure. Other than that, I like haul video, daily routines, pamper routines, food/ diet routines etc. Initially I loved the glitz and started following them randomly, in all three of the platforms.

The YouTube experience was overwhelming for me in starting. YouTubers are sensational in the way they dress, how fit and fabulous they look, with amazing make-up skills, and power to balance between social, personal and professional life amused me. The effectiveness and uniqueness of their contents instantly bowled me over. I wanted everything that those girls have, I knew it would make me feel better about my life once I can also use these products.

How I learnt: Shop what you like, not what is sold to you. 2

I was yet to find the marketers prospective here. Brands hire the influencers who are master manipulators to promote or place their products for a certain number of minutes or make a whole video about it. It is kinda celebrity endorsement, where they talk about the product to their fans or incorporate it in their routine to shoot a video and never actually use it. It is not a bad thing though. But it played with my insecurities. I felt my wardrobe is not stylish enough, I must need to upgrade. I recently moved to a new city and a new job and felt that I need a complete makeover of my closet to bring out the fabulous version of myself.

I bought different dresses for different occasions, cute robes and bathroom sleepers and night suits. I was soo annoyed that I don’t have a jumpsuit, trending everywhere. So, I ordered three of them, one casual, one flowery and one kinda formal, only to find out I am not comfortable with the style. Bought bags of different shapes and sizes for different reasons.

I wanted to look good and feel pretty while I am in a new city, wanted to get praised about my style sense. I was so sure that it would be a perfect investment to purchase a Mac lipstick, Kylie lip shades, brow pencils. These are definitely necessities for a girls life, am not spending in luxury items. My dressing tray was full of things like primar, blush, eye shadows. From Instagram exclusive, I also bought several types of serums. Rose, pumpkins, vitamin C, they all promised for a glowing and gorgeous skin.

How I learnt: Shop what you like, not what is sold to you. 3

Then, once when my mother visited, and she pointed at all these things. She found all these things were ridiculous and in reply I told “you are behaving outdated, mom”. However, she brought a cotton night suit for me as home wear and a tunic for office wear from my hometown. I didn’t like them, but when I wore them, I felt there is a difference. They may not be stylish, but they were comfortable and durable. In next few months I started thinking I am not actually in a need of so many shades of red in my lip collection (btw the color trend was nude by then, and my Wishlist was full of nude shades already). I realized some of the clothes are also kind of one-time wear and am not very comfortable in them. I keep on avoiding them and neatly folded them at the backside of the closest, rarely wearing them.

While in case of food also, the chia seed diet and vegetable smoothies didn’t go with my taste and appetite. I end up ordering more foods from outside.

I remember once, one of my favorite YouTuber was showing her favorite sandwich recipe and dressing it with mayo and cheese. I loved the recipe, it looks so crispy and yummy, however, in my brain I knew if this would actually someone’s favorite dish and they have it often, they would never be having that amazing shape they are in (chuckles!!..) It is a product promotion for the mayo, sauce and cheese brands, newly launched in market.

I started understanding that I am suggested for a shopping from the YouTubers in a very friendly manner. While they updated me about the next spring summer trends and colors and present a haul video, instantly making me check out those colors and designs for being trendy. While they’re getting a certain amount to order from the website and am happy to receive a coupon code for a 10% discount but ordering things I might not even need in that season.

I felt like I am also continuously getting watched by these sites, constantly getting recommendations about the products I recently searched just like that movie I mentioned.

So, how did I am able to break this cycle? It’s very easy for me to tell I became self-confident and comfortable in my own skin and stopped buying unnecessarily. But that would be naive and not true.

In this case also, I took help from YouTube first. I learned about minimalism, I checked videos of YouTubers decluttering their closet, destroying makeup products. I searched videos for personal finance and setting financial goals. I started thinking about my investments and thought of the actual worth of these possessions…

I started taking some steps deciding my priorities, let me share them with you all.

1. I kept telling myself, I won’t make any instant purchase and deleted the card details from the websites. Also, to avoid impulse purchases, I gave myself a 10 days’ time. I would wait for 10 days, and after that time if I still feel that the same thing is needed, I will go ahead and purchase. Most of the times, I see in those 10 days my preferences getting changed, that top I felt like I want badly and most suitable for me, was no longer that attractive in my eyes after 10 days. I simply change my mind very often.

Questioning myself ” Do I still want it? When and how I am going to use it? ” Gave me a clarity and helped me in taking the decision to purchase by my own, not by influenced of latest trend.

2. I learned about minimalism and ethical brands… I got to know about cruelty free brands for make-up and started searching for it.

When I searched for cruelty free brands and why shall I invest in them… I saw how animals are treated in the name of tasting the cosmetics on their skin. It simply means the product have harmful chemicals in them and the brand is experimenting it on animals to check how much can be tolerated by Human skin.

So, when I brand is cruelty free, it simply means they’ve not experimented with that product on animal skin, cause there is not any such harmful chemical, which dosage needs to be measured. I started searching for cruelty free brands, because I don’t want to treat my skin with harmful chemicals.

Minimalism for me is, I’ll wear something until it is shredded and buy that product until the previous purchases is finished. I checked some of the minimalist blogs and their capsule closet, how they are moving into a zero-waste culture. It inspires me and reminds me of my duty to mother nature. I don’t want my pile of clothes to get dumped in a landfill later. I want to be a responsible human being and do my bit. I would prefer to support local product and sellers.

3. I unsubscribed some of the YouTubers, whom I find bluntly promoting a brand and purchasing bulk products. This is simply not me and I don’t feel connected to them anymore. For make-up, I started noticing if they are using the brands in their makeup looks frequently or not. If someone likes a particular brand for makeup, they will use it frequently. People won’t change their primer, highlighter, foundation, concealer etc. The eye palates with tons of colors will be used later in some of the makeup looks for sure. If they change it frequently in every makeup look, then I don’t feel they are genuine and actually using any product or have any specific preference, though they claimed it their favorite. Also, in case they are promoting a brand, I checked if they are upfront about it and declared it in the video or not.

4. I stopped giving my office address and receive product from there. The Watchman of my building isn’t available most of the time, in my rescue and most of the roommates were not present. So there was this hindrance or delay, which ruined the shopping experience. (Totally created by me, not by online portals).

5. I made a budget. I decided I can’t spend more than 10% of my earning on shopping. So, if my earning is 40k, I can’t purchase anything more than the amount 4k. If I must spend more than that amount, I must wait for another month to collect that extra amount and then make the purchase. I was strict about this amount and didn’t cross the limit once.

Now, I am out of the shopping spree I once felt. Basically, I started putting out boundaries before i make a purchase. I now also expect less and try to be genuine, accepting I do not have same frame of body as like the model and imagine myself using it for a time. I am happy to see there are so many ethical influencers now days coming out in YouTube and creating contents keeping their responsibilities in mind. I think we all have a power to generate a trend, by differentiating the good part from the bad and use these platforms more effectively.

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Sharing the little you have with those in need can turn around a life without you realizing it..
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