Expat Learnings

Things I’ve learned as an American expat in the UKoGBaNI #6

Wasteful Americans

Americans are wasteful.

I didn’t realize how financially wasteful I was until I moved to England where everything (except for fresh herbs, ironically) is very expensive. The amount of clothing I own is considered an obscene amount by European standards and I own less clothing than my American peers! The amount of money Americans spend on stuff is completely insane and by stuff I mean toys, clothing, DVDs, shit no one needs, ever, etc.

As an example, this past week a coworker told me that he stores all of his Christmas decorations in storage because he doesn’t have enough room to store them in his house. (This, in itself is hilarious because we could fit our flat x2 into the ground level of his house.) He went on to tell me that it would cost him less per year to toss out the Christmas decorations and buy new ones than to store the decorations.

Setting aside the example above, this wastefulness problem is caused by two factors – large disposable incomes and a lot of space to store stuff. Living in a 58 sq m / 600 sq ft flat for nearly two years put into perspective how the amount of space one has impacts shopping habits. We had absolutely no space in that flat to store anything except for the necessities (and sometimes not even enough space for them) and, therefore, we never went shopping for clothes or other stuff.

Will our shopping habits change when we move back to the US? Maybe but I don’t think they will ever return to being as wasteful as they were prior to moving abroad.

For the next learning in my Expat Learnings mini series, go here. Alternatively, go here to read this mini-series from the beginning.

0 comments on “Things I’ve learned as an American expat in the UKoGBaNI #6

What's on your mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.