The official student news site of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA

THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

The official student news site of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA

THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

The official student news site of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA

THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

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A donation of $40 or more includes a subscription to the 2023-24 print issues of The Harbinger. We will mail a copy of our fall, winter, spring and graduation issues to the recipient of your choice. Your donation supports the student journalists of Algonquin Regional High School and allows our extracurricular publication to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Consume less: Save the Earth and our wallets 

Take a close look at how our habits are harming the environment
Opinion+Editor+Arielle+Chin+advocates+for+people+to+examine+their+spending+habits.
Caroline Lou
Opinion Editor Arielle Chin advocates for people to examine their spending habits.

Walking around school, we’ve all seen the countless Stanley Cups atop desks, students walking around in their trendy Ugg boots and slippers, and daily Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts cups scattered around classrooms. In today’s consumer-driven culture, students are always on the edge of their seats to purchase the latest trends, disregarding their contribution to overconsumption and environmental damage.

According to a 2019 CNBC article, the average consumer spends an extra $7,400 each year on expenses other than bills such as mortgage, rent or utilities. Online shopping is the number one culprit for overspending followed by grocery shopping and subscription services.

Our wallets are not only feeling the impact of overconsumption, but more importantly, our overspending is fueling global climate change. 

In the past, items such as Hydroflasks and scrunchies were popular and “trendy” items among teenagers. Now, viral makeup products and water tumblers have been taking over our social media pages encouraging consumers to spend countless hours scrolling through online storefronts and digitally swiping their credit cards.

Our world is heading in a direction of no return. According to a 2022 UNICEF press release on the effects of overconsumption on the environment, some of the world’s wealthiest countries such as the United States are contributing to global climate change through endless unsustainable overconsumption. The report also stated that at the current rate of resource consumption, we would need at least five earths to keep up with the current consumption levels. 

Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales have encouraged overbuying of products that have been advertised as being marked down over half of the original price. When scrolling through online retailer websites, flashing “ON SALE” text and “Buy One Get One Free” deals trap many vulnerable individuals into purchasing more items than they need. 

Another more prevalent issue among teenage consumers is the infamous TikTok Shop, which “enables brands and creators to showcase and sell products directly on TikTok.” TikTok Shop is negatively influencing students’ spending behaviors as it encourages more impulsive buying. 

Instagram has also created a platform for consumers to purchase products online easier through an “online window shopping” platform. According to the CNN article, retailers such as Nike, Adidas and Kylie Cosmetics have taken advantage of this new feature to market their products to a wider audience. Although it brings profits to the retail industry, its impacts on the environment and consumerism far outweigh the benefits. 

Although it can be difficult to stop overspending, there are reasonable steps consumers can take to reduce overspending.

One way to reduce overspending is to categorize items that you want into a need versus wants list. Some examples of needs include gas money, food or a new winter coat. On the other hand, items that would be categorized under the “want” list include luxury clothing items or jewelry, daily coffee from a cafe or a new iPhone. Making this list can help you practice saving more money on things you actually need to buy, and making sure that you don’t impulse spend on unnecessary items. 

The second way to reduce overspending is to sell or donate your old items such as clothes and invest in higher quality items or thrift at second-hand stores. Donating to these stores and frequenting them not only saves you a lot of money but also helps the environment by not producing more waste. Less products have to be manufactured and clothing can be recycled and worn by different individuals. If you can afford to buy a little more expensive but higher quality clothing, it may be a practical choice as investing in high-quality pieces of clothing can make a sustainable wardrobe rather than buying many cheaply made items.

The last way to reduce overspending is to put aside money to give to local charities or buy food and clothes for food banks or homeless shelters. Although you’re still technically “spending” money, you are not spending the money on yourself, but rather on other people. By doing so, you will find a lot of fulfillment in giving back to your community and helping others. Even if it’s just $5 a month, that’s one less Starbucks drink you buy and can put towards helping someone else. 

Taking care of the planet is something that we need to put at the forefront of our minds. There is only one Earth for us to live on and protecting Mother Nature through making conscious decisions on what we buy and consume can have a positive impact on future generations. By implementing healthy buying and spending habits in your day-to-day transactions, not only can you add valuable money back into your pockets, but also decrease your waste production on the environment.

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Donate to THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER
$1501
$1500
Contributed
Our Goal

A donation of $40 or more includes a subscription to the 2023-24 print issues of The Harbinger. We will mail a copy of our fall, winter, spring and graduation issues to the recipient of your choice. Your donation supports the student journalists of Algonquin Regional High School and allows our extracurricular publication to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

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About the Contributors
Arielle Chin
Arielle Chin, Opinion Editor
Arielle began writing for The Harbinger during her sophomore year Journalism class. She thoroughly enjoys the process of writing articles from brainstorming ideas, interviewing members of the Algonquin community, to editing and finalizing pieces for publication. Arielle is currently an Opinion editor, but also enjoys writing for other sections as well. In her role, she believes that shedding light on controversial and debatable topics can empower Algonquin students to share their opinions on a safe outlet. Outside of The Harbinger, Arielle enjoys playing the piano, watching crime shows, and traveling with her family.
Caroline Lou
Caroline Lou, Graphic Artist
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