Buy or Borrow? Plan a great winter beach getaway!

When planning a winter beach getaway, whether by yourself, with a few friends or family, there is a lot to do before you board the plane. Making your trip a little greener is easy to do. Use this infographic to remind yourself what you should buy and what you can borrow. Borrowing is great for items you only use once a year and it’s a great way to save money and reduce waste.

buy vs. borrow for beach vacation


Borrow Your Next Party Dress

As we enter the Holiday Season, our social calendar includes events that require dressing up. From office parties to family gatherings, we want to look great. There’s the dress, the shoes, a handbag and jewelry too. It’s all fun and cheerful until we see the bill! Dressing up for an event can cost hundreds of dollars, even when shopping at an affordable store. And chances are your new dress will never see the light of day again after the one glamorous night.


The solution: borrow a dress, and shoes and handbag and even jewelry too!

The concept is simple: Borrow a dress from a friend for few days, wear it, dry clean it and then return it.  Lendogram makes it easy to source and borrow dresses and accessories from friends.  Find out how!

Lendogram available on iOS, Android, Windows OS, and even Blackberry

When we first started building Lendogram sharing platform, we thought the best way to deliver the experience was to create it using a native iOS App. Since we launched the App, whenever I talk about sharing with friends and how Lendogram makes it easier to share than to buy, the first (and sometimes the only) question is always:
Will it work on my phone?

mobile responsive web

It took us a while, but we can now say: YES, it does!
It works on your phone, your friend’s phone, your desktop, laptop, on a train in a tree, it works on any device with a web browser (Lendogram mobile web)!

Of course, the App is still the most feature rich version of the platform, so if you have an iPhone or iPad, we recommend downloading and using the App but if you don’t have one, you can use a web browser to access your inventory and share items with friends and even create groups.

So visit the mobile web site today and sign up to create your account and start sharing with friends. Let us know your thoughts on our mobile web version and what you want to see implemented next!


Halloween Costume Share Party 🎃

Halloween night is one of my favorite times of year to walk around in my neighbourhood. Whether it’s raining or not, kids are running from house to house trick or treating in their scary, funny or cute costumes. Parents follow a little behind, chatting and catching up with friends and neighbours. A great neighbourhood social event.


To prepare for this amazing night of fun, terror and unlimited candy, kids spend days deciding what costume to wear. Some design their own, others pick one from the store, and everyone with a specific intention.  But they hardly ever wear the same costume two years in a row. What a waste of material and money to buy or make an awesome costume to wear it only for a few hours and then somehow store it or dispose of it. And many of these costumes cost somewhere in the range of $50-$100+.

Last year a few of my friends, neighbours and I started a Halloween Costume Share Party. Everyone brought a few kids or adult costumes. We gathered at my house, sorted the costumes and then started brainstorming about what to wear. Those who already had their costume ready tried to find accessories, some of us made new costumes based on how we felt.  We also ate, drank and socialized while we were picking our costumes. We used Lendogram to keep track of who borrowed what and everything was returned after Halloween! Win-Win-Win!

We’re planning the same event this year. It’s not too late to organize your own Costume Share Party with friends and neighbours and have some fun creating costumes and share with friends. Post your pictures on Instagram and tag us with #HowIShare or #myLendogram.

Happy Sharing and have a great Halloween 🎃



5 Ways to Get Out of Debt

In today’s economic climate, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who isn’t tangled up in some form of debt. Be it student loans, a housing mortgage, or credit card debt, the majority of us are constantly trying to stay one step ahead of our financial liabilities. Well thankfully, through the beauty of sharing economy and peer-to-peer networks, you could contribute and grow closer to the people in your community, while getting, and more importantly staying, out of debt.


1. Accommodation

Most of us have a spare room or two that doesn’t see much usage, aside from it being a storage space for our least-used knick-knacks. If the spring cleaning fever hits you and you (finally) clear it out, you can consider renting the space out through airbnb. On average a private room in a major city is rented out on airbnb for US $300/week. It’s not too shabby earning a bit of rent while providing a traveler lodging, saving them from hefty hotel costs. I wager you’ll probably even make a friend or two.

The reverse can be applied to cut down on your personal expenditure too. A good majority of us can probably recall that once or twice we went on a holiday that was just above our budget, ending up pretty broke for the rest of the month. And for the most part, if you’ve stayed at one hotel, you’ve stayed at them all, as the difference in services and amenities provided is pretty minimal. To that effect, you could get a much more intimate, homely experience through airbnb or even couchsurfing, and the latter is completely free. In my personal experience, couchsurfing helps you make the most of your time in a foreign state or country, as your host would usually give dependable advice on the best places to visit and the most efficient way to get there.

2. Services

Labour platforms, such as Uber, TaskRabbit, and Zaarly, provide a source of income with low to zero commitment, giving you the opportunity to serve someone in your community while putting a dent in your own overheads. These platforms allow you to pick up odd jobs at your leisure, in exchange for money or even services.

Own a car and have some spare time every morning? Someone in your neighbourhood may need a ride to work for a month or two. Love dogs and you’re working from home for the time being? You could consider dog-sitting for someone going on a holiday soon. Even more opportunities open up if you have particular skill sets. Peer-to-peer marketplaces like Zaarly allow you to market your skills and services through your very own online store. From repairing smartphones to baking birthday cakes, anyone who has a little time on their hands can definitely offer to share their skills with the community.

And aside from offering, receiving is another great way to cut down on expenses and debt. By utilising peer-to-peer services and marketplaces, you’re supporting and nurturing a self-reliant community, which will greatly reduce your own spending, and wastage of precious resources.

3. Transportation

Did you know that the average car is unused 92% of the time? Imagine if we worked out an efficient system to share that car amongst a dozen families, the auto-industry wouldn’t be filling up acres and acres of scrapyards then. Thanks to platforms like RelayRides and GetAround, the possibility of that is inching a little closer. You can consider renting out your car through these platforms during periods of disuse, instead of leaving it parked in a driveway, waiting for a layer of dust to settle on it. Many such services offer insurance as well, so you’re well protected. The reverse applies as well, instead of purchasing a brand new car just to go to work every morning, you could use these platforms to find a car for rent at a suitable daily timing. That’ll greatly cut down on your auto-insurance, car mortgage, and car maintenance costs, an effective and efficient way of avoiding unnecessary debt.

4. Stuff

How many lawnmowers do you and your neighbours actually need? Just one, with the power of sharing that is. Chances are if you need something, your neighbour already has it, or vice versa. It’s a little silly for every household to own a ladder or power drill, appliances that most of us use rarely. It’d make a lot more sense to ask your friends or neighbour and borrow such stuff, instead of buying one just in case we’ll ever need it again (in the next decade). Hence it’d certainly be a worthy endeavour to spend some time to get to know your neighbors, and build a communal sharing mindset within your community. You can set an example by being the first one to offer your own appliances for borrowing if the topic ever comes up, it’d be a wonderful step in the right direction. Being in a communal sharing neighborhoods is simply a smart financial move that keeps expenditure lower for everyone in the community, and of course who doesn’t love that warm fuzzy feeling of helping out a neighbour or friend?
Start Sharing instead of Buying today.

5. Food

Despite the growing availability of junk food, we’re certainly much better informed in terms of what’s healthy and what’s not. And while GMOs and organic produce are still matters of dispute, fresher produce being better is a global consensus. Finding fresh produce that hasn’t been on the shelf for days is a real challenge these days, unless you live next to a local farm or own one yourself. The next best thing would be to join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), a sort of community garden that shares its produce monthly with its members. Members pay for their produce with labour instead of cash, thus reducing expenses on food and avoiding potential debt burden. You can volunteer to harvest the crops, water them, and/or other odd jobs to help out on the gardens. So anyone with a little spare time can feed themselves, as well as their community through the volunteer initiative. When the time comes to reap what you sow, you get to do it as a community, and quite literally share the fruits of your labour.

How to Start a Sharing Movement

When we look at the way society functions in modern times, we seem to forget that amongst the teeming masses of humanity are made up of individuals.

Individuals of a Society

The thoughts and beliefs, as well as the actions of individuals in this mass of humanity we call society shape the future, the reality of our existence as we know it.

It is then imperative that we understand our own power as an individual. Power is simply the ability to do, to change, or to affect change in a situation, in reality.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world”
— Gandhi

The fact that we can affect change in our society and as an individual, we must also carry out the obligation that we have to share.

To share, and create social value is a very natural human phenomenon, albeit not restricted to Homo Sapiens alone. To share and to consciously understand and create sharing movements, and values, as well as social value is however, a uniquely human concept.

Sharing is not limited to advertisements on billboards, nor is it, or should it be limited to thirty second jingle tunes on the radio, accompanied on tv by a short clip.

The Sharing Movement is not about the promotion of goods, services, or values for the purpose of collecting a profit. It is a wider social movement to promote a cultural and very human need to be socially connected, through the act of sharing.

The origin of the Sharing Movement is from a cultural and human need to socially connect.

The sharing movement itself does not start, nor does it end with the physical act of sharing either – it starts with a mindset within us, as well as the understanding of what we are doing, and why.

Some people share because they feel great doing it, since altruistic acts in human behaviour actually help to propagate the altruist’s genes in the race for survival in the natural selection process. In certain cultures, sharing is seen as both a form of wealth redistribution, as well as promotion of the largesse of the patron who shares his wealth with others, hence their ability to share material goods.

But looking beyond just personal feelings as well as creating social value for ourself, sharing is about connecting people in an egalitarian manner. This is not about the promotion of our largesse, or the promotion of other’s largesse, but about us, and another person forming a connection through the need for a physical item. This connection can be formed only in the most personal of settings, as it requires trust as a currency, and trusting people is the first step to a closer community of friends, neighbours, and family.

These connections cannot be forced upon people, coerced onto people, nor can they be really effective, since being friendly, and being friendly and trusting are two different things altogether.

How we can truly see this is through ad campaigns for a friendlier neighbourhood, which rarely work. What does work however, are events where social value is created and trust slowly but surely formed amongst community members.

Sometimes, these events are initiated by the local council, made up of more outgoing members of the community, and other times, the local government(rarely).

Most of the time, these kinds of events, such as barbeque cook-outs, communal celebrations and observations of religious, cultural, or ethnic festivals open to everyone in the community are usually started by people in the community.

These are simple, yet effective tools to open up people to the idea of a sharing community that is there for every member to utilise and support.

Barbeques, celebrations and gatherings aren’t too hard to organize for someone of average means are they? yet they are the ties that bind, that hold a sharing community together.

youYet, all these need not be started by companies. Nor governments. These can be started by you.

The people you come with into contact daily, as well as the people you talk to, can be part of the sharing movement, but you have to speak out, and more than just talk about what being part of the sharing movement means, to also act on it.

Share when you can, with the people you can

If everyone did their part, and practiced sharing in their own corner of the world, soon, communities of people accustomed to sharing naturally and consciously will form.

And then, growth of the sharing mindset will increase exponentially, since ideas spread like wildfire.

Ideas are powerful, and so are actions. Alone, you cannot reach the moon, but with friends, neighbours, and other people who share, connecting groups of people will become easier, and more viable, not just economically, but physically as well as socially.



Household Happiness Factor

Household debt is defined as the amount of money that all adults in the household owe financial institutions. It includes consumer debt and mortgage loans. With consumers constantly buying items on credit, it seems as though the world is starting to get into a huge consumer debt.



In Australia, Australian households have more debt compared to the size of the country’s economy than in any other world. As of the third quarter of 2015, it is now the world’s most indebted household sector relative to GDP. It has around $2 trillion in unconsolidated household debt relative to $1.6 trillion in GDP.

In Canada, reports showed that Canadians are ending 2015 with record-high debt and mid-2016, household debt is still growing. The Bank of Canada has expressed concerns about the elevated levels of household debt, which pose a potential risk to Canada’s financial stability in the event of a sharp economic downturn.

In Asia, China’s total debt is more than double of its gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015, and industry experts have expressed concerns that the debt linkages between the state and industry could be fatal. The country’s debt has increased to almost 250% of its GDP due to use of cheap credit to stimulate slowing growth, and releasing a massive debt-fuelled spending binge by consumers.

In Japan, it looks like the country is heading for a full-blown solvency crisis as the country runs out of local investors and may be forced to inflate away its debt in a desperate end-game. The Japanese economy is trapped in a vicious cycle of deflation and stagnation where escaping from this requires bold attempts on both monetary and fiscal fronts.

“We buy things to make us happy. And we succeed for only a short period of time. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.”

Consumerism is good to a certain extent as it helps in stimulating growth in the country. However, consumerism becomes excessive when it extends beyond what is needed. When we start consuming excessively beyond our income level, boundaries are removed.


Although cheap and easy credit allows us to obtain money to purchase more items. Does possessing more material goods result in increase in happiness?

A study shown by Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University who has been studying the question of money and happiness for two decades, says that it might not necessarily be so. According to him, “We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a short period of time. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them.”

“Buying more might cause unhappiness”

This refutes the basic assumption that we’ve been holding for ages. For example – when we spend money on a physical item – as opposed to an experience, the same physical item lasts longer and supposedly makes us happier for a longer period of time as compared to a one-off experience like a concert or vacation.

In fact, buying more items might be the cause of our unhappiness. Gilovich suggests that instead of buying the latest iPhone or the latest BMW, you’ll get more happiness spending money on experiences like going to art exhibits, doing outdoor activities, learning a new skill, or traveling.

One study conducted by Gilovich showed that if people have an experience they say negatively impacted their happiness, once they have the chance to talk about it, their assessment of that experience goes up.

He attributes this to the fact that something that might have been stressful or scary in the past can become a funny story to tell at a party or be looked back on as an invaluable character-building experience.

Sharing experiences can also help us connect with others more than sharing our thoughts about our material belongings. For instance, you’re more likely to feel a connection with someone who has also taken a trip to Bali than someone who also just bought a 4K TV.

Furthermore, when we buy material goods and items, new items are exciting to us at the beginning. But over time we start to adapt to them and a vicious cycle of buying goods and items in a bid to maintain that feeling of happiness occurs.

Gilovich’s research has huge implications for individuals who want to maximize their happiness return on their financial ‘investments’, for employers who want to have a happier workforce, and policy-makers who want to have happy citizens.

If we are to take this research to heart, it means that we should not only have a shift in how individuals spend their discretionary income, but also place an emphasis on employers giving paid vacation and governments taking care of recreational spaces.

In other words, before you start spending credit on those shoes or gadget, think to yourself, do I really need this? If the answer is yes, then think of ways where you won’t need to spend money or borrow credit to get that item. Because ultimately, with the technology that’s available to us and how connected we are, we can find access to what we need before having to spend money we don’t have and create debt we may not be able to pay off.

“Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”
— Franklin D. Roosevelt

Sharing City Seoul

Seoul – capital of South Korea, a gleaming metropolis set in Asia, a modern city, and now, with government initiatives, Asia’s first sharing city.

Let’s look at why Seoul has seen the need to become a sharing city.

Seoul declared itself as sharing city

seoul_sharing_cityTheir Sharing City Initiative defines itself by stating its overall vision as a “city that solves urban problems by facilitating people to share idle products, time, information and space”.

Why does Seoul need sharing though? The constraints of living in an urban metropolis has changed the living environments and landscape over the years, putting constraints on both natural and human resources, such as space, leading to the need to utilize resources as efficiently as possible.

To understand why Seoul needs sharing in the first place, let’s look at the history of Korea, Seoul, and the Korean people.

“Sharing is the way of life
for sustainable tomorrow”

South Korea is a very traditional country, and a very traditional Asian society that focuses on the family as a core societal unit, with elders and age being venerated and respected, and it is also a very patriarchal society as a whole.

South Korea came out of their war with North Korea devastated with few natural resources and an enemy at the border. After which, rapid industrialization and modernization followed by years of growth marked it as one of the four Asian tigers.

“The youth were particularly affected by the increased inequality”

In this rapid period of growth, the traditionally closeted and conservative chaebols (Korean: 재벌), or family businesses dominated the economy, and as years passed, higher costs of living, increased income inequality and slowed growth has led to an modern urban metropolis with a lack in community spirit.

The youth were particularly affected, as the lack of growth and job opportunities has affected their ability to live in bigger cities like Seoul.

The purpose of this sharing initiative then, is two-fold.

  1. To make cities more affordable and liveable for everyone,
  2. To foster a sense of community lost in an urban metropolis, to make a place to feel at home with friends.

It is not possible to keep bloating the public sector with more jobs to achieve this, nor is it possible in the capitalistic model to keep exploiting and utilizing already overstretched and shrinking finite resources such as space.

“The idea behind the sharing city is to utilize existing facilities, resources with new practices centred around trust”

However, this isn’t going to be free bonanza of sharing – it is a pragmatic approach to the constraints of the city. It is a pragmatic approach to a very real problem, of more tourists, having less places to stay, less people having places to stay, not enough parking lots, not enough books and crayons for needy children; the list goes on.

Over 60 Sharing Services are encouraged by the government in Seoul:

Seoul Sharing Services


Tourists – the city is actively encouraging tourists to stay at local B&B’s or rent empty rooms within a house for their stay in Seoul.  As with the lack of apartments to stay in – the cost of living has a factor to play in this as well as trust. In a very economy driven city like Seoul, most times, apartments stand empty not because there are no landlords leasing the out, it is because prices are too high.

Businesses – the aim of the project is to allow organizations and entities also to participate in the project, with a motivational sum of a 9 million Won ($7,700* USD) project grant, as long as the organization or entity has its service activities in the city of Seoul.

The city also goes further by listing several areas and laws that need to be acted upon that prohibit or make the sharing economy harder to operate.

Transportation – Article 81 of Passenger Transport Service Act, eases the ban on the usage of private vehicles for commercial public transport! This is easy to understand, since the popularity of ride sharing services is well know, as is the alleviation of traffic congestion due to the lowered number of cars on the road.

Taxation – Article 50 of the Restriction of Special Local Taxation Act, to exempt taxes on religious organizations when they share facilities with the public. This is interesting, especially since it could promote social cohesion and dialogue between different generations and sub-cultures within Korean society.

Food Industry – Article 37 of the Food Sanitation Act  eases regulations when dealing with restaurants who share their space with the public.

As for the other areas, they call for new regulations in the areas of Insurance and Construction, with Insurance being vague, and construction calling for the use of sharing practices in the design of new buildings.

It remains to be seen if the Korean government at large will be able to implement these practices and actions quickly enough to cope with the changing urban landscape and societal attitudes. However, the proposals and measured outlined in their document bears hope for a better, more sharing, and caring Seoul.
*KRW to USD rate as of May 7, 2016

Renewable Energy in Germany by Citizen Action

Often, renewable energy generation seems to be a pipe dream. Far away, expensive and only available to governments and extremely wealthy individuals.


However, this is a myth. Just a quick search online will yield a vast trove of results for consumer appliances powered by solar energy and wind energy, and even more tutorials on how to install renewable energy sources.

This is not an uncommon phenomenon, but when talking about mass scale industrial renewable energy generation – there are few projects to be seen available for the common layman.


There are many types of renewal energy generation for the consumer, including:

Solar energy, using PV or photo-voltaic cells which convert sunlight into electrical energy. Solar cells currently operate at about 15%-25% maximum efficiency, meaning that only up to 25% of the sunlight that falls on a photo-voltaic cell is converted to energy. The 25% figure, is achieved only in lab tests, in real life actual usage, it usually falls to 20% maximum. As expected, PV cells can only be deployed in areas with sunlight, and the stronger the sunlight, the better. On top of that, solar energy farms need a massive area to capture sunlight to produce a reasonable amount of electricity to justify its cost.

Another form of solar energy is based off mirrors and a steam turbine. Multiple mirrors focus the sun’s rays on a boiler tank painted in black. This heat collected by the multiple mirrors focussing the sun’s rays on it causes the water to vaporize into steam, which then turns the turbines connected to the boiler tank and generates electrical energy.

Wind energy, usually through wind turbines, which use the kinetic energy of moving air to turn fan blades, which then turn a generator, generating an electrical current.

Hydroelectric energy, this form uses the gravitational potential of elevated water that was lifted from the oceans by sunlight. It is not strictly speaking renewable since all reservoirs eventually fill up and require very expensive excavation to become useful again. At this time, most of the available locations for hydroelectric dams are already used in the developed world.

And the not-so-well known source wave energy. Wave energy generators operate using a combination of hydraulic systems and floats to harness the kinetic energy of underwater currents.

The waves force a series of floats to bob up and down. These floats are connected via a hydraulic system to generate more force upon the floats being pushed up, and then the hydraulic system turns gears connected to series or one turbine, dependent of the configuration of the station.

Due to the complex nature, as well as the relatively new development stage it is in, and selective sites in which this kind of station can be deployed, it is uncommon to see consumers using these for renewable energy generation.

In Germany, there are 3 main sources of energy. Traditional and more polluting coal fired plants, older nuclear powered plants, and lastly, renewable energy, which consist mainly of solar and wind power.

The German government decided along with the German public to close down the nuclear power plants following the Chernobyl power plant disaster – and then following that in modern times, the Fukushima power plant disaster.

They decided that they could not replace all the nuclear power plants with coal fired plants either, as it would only cause more issues with climate change. In the 2000’s, climate change came to the forefront of global attention, and with solar and wind technology catching up, Germany took the leap with the Energiewende in 2011.

Energiewende means energy transition, while others have used it to mean a green energy revolution. The term represents a change in the policy of managing energy through supply and demand commonly found in most markets, to a centralized to distribution model from smaller units. Such units include houses which produce and also supply energy back to the power grid.

The German Energiewende did not just come about in 2011. It is rooted in the anti-nuclear movement of the 1970’s.



In addition, Energiewende also encompasses the emphasis on efficiency in the production and distribution of power, as the faster and closer proximity to the supply and consumption sites of energy as well as increased energy saving measures boosts efficiency.

The policy was published in September 2011, about 6 months after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, only emphasizing how much the change to renewable energy was needed. It was finally passed and made into official policy in 2011.

Apart from green energy generation, the document also contains some very ambitious and important aspects. These include a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by 2050, an increase in renewable energy generation to 60% of consumption nationally, as well as an increase in electric energy efficiency by 2050.

They key tenet of the Energiewende however has been citizen action and cooperation to feed into the energy grid. This action has led to the creation of energy cooperatives and citizen investors pooling their money and land to fund and construct renewable energy sources.

As a result, Germany’s share of renewable energy generation and usage has increased from around 5% in 1999 to 22.9% in 2012, reaching close to the OECD average of 18% usage of renewable energy.


Of course, these cooperatives not only fund and construct renewable energy sources such as wind turbines(as wind is the most common renewable energy resource in Germany) but they also take profits in a scheme where excess power is sold back to the grid. As a result, profits and power has been decentralized, creating a competitive market in which there are few large energy companies that have a large share in the renewable energy market.

This is only possible due to citizen action and cooperation leading to legislation reflected in the Energiewende policy which allows for a sustainable and realistic approach to the transition from fossil fuel generated energy to renewable energy.


The Wealthy Poor

Ironic isn’t it? How can one be wealthy, yet poor?

Before you think that this is just another post on how society lacks values and morals while it’s so materially rich, read on.

We now are at an age of tremendous material wealth. If you don’t believe this statement, go out to your local mall. Go to the supermarket. look at the vast rows of food, clothes, makeup, consumer electronics and other products. Now, pick something up. Anything will do.

Ask yourself – was this grown or created within 5 miles of this supermarket?

Was it made by someone I know? Could I have made it by myself?

Most of these answers will probably be a resounding, hollow, no.

The question that begs us to answer it – How did we arrive here?

Through many years of mass industrialization, monoculture agriculture, globalization (not always a bad thing) and technological increases, we have made what kings and emperors ate in the medieval ages an everyday occurrence for most of us living in the developed world.

But why are we clad in the finery of kings and emperors, why do we eat like them, yet feel so poor? Was it because we made this system? Was it because we voted for it, rather, in our modern system of democracy, not with our votes at the ballot box, but with our wallets?

With our wallets, with our appetites, and with the things we consume.


Let’s take a look at free choice, consumption patterns, and who is actually responsible for all of this.

By the end of the 20th century, the world had largely recovered from the damage caused by the Second World War. With a lack of crises, threats, or in fact any major global trend or narrative, people started to pursue their own happiness. As a result, many people ended up pursuing creature comforts and the nebulous “good life” at the expense of true pleasure or their own self-defined satisfaction.

With mass production on the rise ever since the dawn of the 19th century (Industrial Revolution), products were now easily available to the common man.

What’s more, with the advent of online shops set up by both independent retailers and brand-name store chains trying to stay relevant, a world of products is now quite literally a few clicks away.

Just like that, the instant gratification offered by purchasing expensive or trendy items is now more than ever easier to obtain.

Ever heard of the term “fast fashion”? Well, it was created in response to the consumer demand for instant gratification. It’s a trend that utilizes quick and affordable manufacturing to cater to a large market at relatively lower prices.

The drawback, of course, is that it has contributed to pollution and poor working conditions in developing countries, in addition to placing an emphasis on very brief trends over classic and enduring styles.

However, the pursuit of happiness is not all there is to this story. As the individual affects the environment, the environment affects the individual. And the environment, especially for the millennials and beyond, looks especially daunting.

How does one even think of buying a house for themselves when property prices have been steadily on the rise, appreciating by 17% as compared to three years ago? Is it even possible to pay off one’s college debt when your tuition fees have increased by up to 25% as compared to ten years ago?

It is no wonder, then, that with the twin shadows of debt and an inability to secure individual housing looming over them, that the millennials have turned to chasing material comforts that are easier to secure, such as that shiny new phone or this new stylish shirt.

This, combined with the twin desires for a better standard of living and a sense of belonging run rampant in the form of consumerism. When a generation cannot find the stability that is their own home, or financial independence, they turn to superficial wealth.

Such consumerism manifests in keeping up with fashion trends and a constant pressure to keep an eye out for the next hip thing. In short, we have no one to blame but ourselves.

But don’t let that get you down! The good news is that as we have created this beast, so we are the ones best suited to slay it.

No, I’m not asking all of you to become ascetics or hermits overnight.

However, what we can do is very simple.

First of all, the most basic step forward is to simply value quality over quantity. What’s the point of getting five clutch bags at ten dollars each when you could just invest in a single bag that’s both respectable and long-lasting. Over time, getting fewer things of higher quality saves money, especially when compared to the mind-set of “I’ll just buy it because it’s cheap!”

Secondly, is to ask questions about labour practices used to create what you are buying. Did your jeans come from a company that uses child labour or provides safe working conditions for its workers? Did the makers of your fancy shoes dump toxic waste straight into some village’s drinking water supply? Ethics is the way forward, and some concern for your fellow man would do well in creating a better world for all of us.

Thirdly and last of all, we should invest in ourselves more. We’re not talking about investing in mere material objects.

No, it’s about experiences and more meaningful relationships. Build up a well of life experiences and memories and make your friendships more meaningful. Don’t spend all your energy on buying new things or making new friends. Invest in stronger relationships with friends you already have and take care and mend your clothes. Grab a coffee with a friend for $5 and have an intimate conversation, we promise it will result in greater happiness that will last much longer than the $5 shirt you may buy at the store.

Perhaps those treasured recollections and that compassion you have fostered for your fellow man, as well as the care you have for yourself in not consuming more than you need, may be the wealth we need the most of all.