How To Avoid “Revenge Spending”

“Revenge Spending.” A friend just told me this is the term for the consumer feeding-frenzy we’re seeing as the pandemic restrictions have been lifted. In the one economics class I took in college, we learned the term “pent-up demand.”

I never thought that the stifling of consumer urges would lead to a “revenge” reaction. But, in a society where people feel entitled to what they want when they want it, that unfortunately makes sense.

When I did a search online, the articles I found on “how to avoid revenge spending” all had to do with financial prudence, as opposed to care of the earth and fellow beings. So I thought I’d write up some tips for all of us DEEP GREEN allies.

• Yes you can whoop it up!! Food and drink are a typical “reward” that many of us choose when we’ve been feeling deprived. Nothing wrong with that; we’ve all gotta eat, and it’s one of the best ways to spend time with friends and family. And if you spend with a local business it’s a win for your community too. To make your eco vote go further, choose a dining establishment that has “green” appeal; for example, a place where it’s easy for you avoid single-use plastics; a place that sources from local farms; a vegan café that doubles as a community education center, etc. Oh, and hey! Now that it’s OK to have people over again, you can even use your own kitchen or patio as the dining establishment!

• Buy Black! Spend a nice big chunk of money to purchase goods and services from your local Black-owned businesses; you’ll be helping to dismantle systemic racism while satisfying your spending urge.

• Spending on something useful can be every bit as satisfying as spending on something frivolous. If you have a bunch of cash piled up, there’s no better time than now to soend it on rainbarrels, fruit trees, permaculture design courses and other training/education, bicycles, good walking shoes, and other things that will be durable assets to your household.

• A lot of people are jumping onto airplanes right now. Got faraway friends and relatives and really want to see them? Offset that flight (or car trip, bus trip, plane trip) by buying carbon offsets, and enjoy your trip. A DEEP GREEN friend and fellow permie recently told me she had purchased double offsets for her trip to Cali to see family. Eco green stars for you, sweet friend!

• The pandemic invited us all to look deeper into our life priorities. After seeing so many people go through such hard times from job loss, looming evictions, and other catastrophes, some of us might find ourselves motivated to find more ways to invest in our local community. Laura Oldanie’s blog is a great resource for alternative investment ideas.

• “Revenge” is a harsh motive. A lot of people felt resentful of the pandemic and pandemic restrictions, as though it were something personal done to them. Such a reaction is perfectly human, perhaps, but we can stop ourselves and notice when we’re having it. And we can make a conscious choice that we refuse to take our resentment out on Mother Earth and our fellow beings, including fellow human beings. Instead of re-venge spending, may I suggest re-newal spending; re-generation spending; re-paration spending …

• Constructive revenge: Some things deserve to be targets of revenge! You could take revenge on hunger by buying food for someone in need, or starting a community food-forest; take revenge on environmental destruction by refusing to use herbicides and pesticides in your yard; take revenge on rudeness and entitlement by finding more ways to practice compassion.

Further Reading:

• “Americans look forward to ‘revenge spending’ after a year inside — here’s how to make the most of it” (Alicia Adamczyk; The header notwithstanding, this article gives tips on how to be sensible and avoid impulse spending. But the author reassures us it is OK to let loose a bit too! (An opinion I share actually; we just need to aim our spending in an ethical and eco-friendly manner.)