Conscious Consumerism for Kids: Empowering the Next Generation - Tutti Frutti Clothing

Conscious Consumerism for Kids: Empowering the Next Generation

Conscious Consumerism for Kids: Empowering the Next Generation

In today's consumer-driven society, guiding children towards mindful and sustainable choices can be a challenge for us as parents. That's where the Buyerarchy of Needs comes in. Derived from the concept by Sarah Lazarovic, this framework encourages conscious consumption by prioritising alternative options before making buying something.

In this blog post, I’m going to explore how we can apply the Buyerarchy of Needs specifically to children, empowering them to make thoughtful decisions, cultivate gratitude, and understand the environmental impact of their choices.

So let’s explore practical strategies and the benefits of embracing the Buyerarchy of Needs with our children, shaping a generation of mindful consumers.

Understanding the Buyerarchy of Needs


The Buyerarchy of Needs is a special way of thinking about buying things that helps us make better choices. It's like a map that shows us different steps we can take before deciding to buy something new. Instead of always buying new things, the Buyerarchy of Needs teaches us to think about using what we already have, borrowing, swapping, buying secondhand, or even making things ourselves. It's a fun and clever way to be more mindful and make choices that are good for the planet.

The Buyerarchy of Needs was created by an artist and writer named Sarah Lazarovic. She made this picture to show we can be more thoughtful about what we buy. The picture became really popular because it showed a better way to think about shopping. It helps us understand that buying new things all the time can create a lot of waste and hurt the Earth. So, the Buyerarchy of Needs reminds us to be creative and think about other options before we decide to buy something.

You might have heard about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, which is like a pyramid that shows different things we need to be happy and healthy.

The Buyerarchy of Needs follows a similar concept but is a bit different. While Maslow's Hierarchy talks about our basic needs like food, water, and shelter, the Buyerarchy of Needs is all about shopping and making good choices. It helps us think about other ways to get what we need before buying something new. It shows us how to be smart shoppers and take care of the Earth at the same time.

By understanding the Buyerarchy of Needs, we can learn to make better decisions when it comes to buying things. It's a super useful tool that teaches us to be resourceful, creative, and mindful of the planet.

Let’s go through the Buyerarchy of needs step-by-step and look at how we can talk to our children about how they can make a positive difference by being smart shoppers!

Level 1: Use What You Have

Level 1 of the Buyerarchy of Needs is all about using what we already have instead of buying something new. When we use what we have, we help the Earth because we don't need to make or throw away more things. Plus, it can save money too!

With our children we can ask them to imagine they have a bunch of toys that they haven't played with in a while. Instead of buying new toys, help then to explore and rediscover the ones the already have. We can help them to create new games or build exciting things using their imagination. Explain how its like giving their toys a second chance to be loved and played with.

We can then talk to our children about how this can be applied to everything we own - clothes, books, art supplies, and many other things. Instead of always buying new clothes, we can teach our children to mix and match the ones they already have to create cool new outfits.

The best part is that when we use what we have, we reduce waste and help protect our planet. By reusing and getting creative, we can make a big difference in taking care of the Earth we live on.

It is important to help our children explore what they already own and use what they have before buying something new.

Level 2: Borrow

Level 2 of the Buyerarchy of Needs is all about borrowing or sharing things instead of buying them.

We can help our children understand this by talking about how borrowing something is a great way to try new things without needing to own them forever.

Help them learn that when we borrow, we get to experience different toys, books, or even clothes without having to buy them. It's like having a big community of friends who are happy to share their things with us. Isn't that amazing?

There are many ways to borrow things. Sometimes, our friends or family members might have things they are willing to lend us if we ask nicely and take good care of what we borrow. There are also libraries where you can borrow books for free and discover new stories

Instead of buying something that we might only use once or twice, borrowing allows us to be resourceful and try different things without cluttering our home or wasting money. We can borrow a bike for a fun ride in the park, borrow a board game for a game night with friends, or even borrow a telescope to gaze at the stars.

Borrowing is not just fun, it's also great for the planet. When we share and borrow, we help reduce the need to make more things, which saves energy and resources. Plus, it's a great way to build strong and caring communities where everyone supports each other.

Level 3: Swap

Level 3 of the Buyerarchy of Needs is all about swapping or trading things with others. It's like having a special exchange where we trade something we have for something we want. Swapping is a fun and clever way to get new things while giving away something you no longer need.


Swapping is sometimes harder for children to understand as we have to give something we own away.  Maybe explain to them that when we swap, we can find new treasures without spending any money. It's like a big playground where everyone brings their toys, books, or clothes to share with others. By swapping, we help each other find new items to enjoy and give our old things a chance to make someone else happy.

We can swap things between family and friends  - swishing parties are a popular way to swap clothes. This is like having a big dress-up party where you can try on different outfits and take home new ones. Clothing swaps are a fantastic way to update your wardrobe and have fun with fashion while being sustainable.

In addition to physical swaps, there are online platforms and communities where you can swap items with people from all over the world. It's like having a virtual marketplace where you can find unique things and make trades without leaving your home. These online swapping platforms make it easy and exciting to connect with others and discover new treasures.

If your child is really taken with the idea of swapping here are a few tips for setting up your own swapping party:

  • Invite your friends or classmates to join the swap and bring items they no longer need.
  • Set up different areas or tables where people can display their items for swapping.
  • Make sure everyone understands the rules and guidelines of the swap, such as how many items they can trade.
  • Have fun activities, like trying on clothes or playing games, to make the swap even more enjoyable.
  • After the swap, donate any leftover items to charity or recycle them responsibly.

Swapping is not only a way to get new things without spending money, but it's also great for the environment. By swapping, we give items a second life and reduce waste. It's a win-win situation where everyone gets something new while helping the Earth.

Level 4: Thrifting – or buying second hand if you’re in the UK!

Level 4 of the Buyerarchy of Needs is all about thrift, which means finding and buying things that are second-hand or pre-loved. Second-hand shopping is not only exciting but also a wonderful way to be eco-friendly and save money.

Our high streets often have a few second hand, or charity shops, in them, and I always enjoyed hunting for bargains in them with my children. You can find clothes, toys, books, and even furniture that someone else owned before but is still in great condition.

Most things in second-hand shops have things that have been donated and are no longer needed but can be a great bargain for someone else. The best part is that by shopping at thrift stores, we give these items a new home and reduce waste.

Besides physical stores, there are also online marketplaces where you can find second-hand items. These online platforms make it easy to browse through pictures and descriptions to find exactly what you're looking for. It's like having a virtual second hand store right at your fingertips!

When second hand shopping, it's important to keep a few tips in mind:

  • Take your time and explore different sections of the store. You never know what hidden treasures you might find!
  • Check the quality of the items. Look for any signs of wear or damage, and make sure everything is in good condition before purchasing.
  • Try on clothes and shoes to make sure they fit you well. Sizes can vary, so it's always a good idea to try things on before buying.
  • Don't be afraid to get creative! You can mix and match different items to create unique and stylish outfits.
  • Remember that it's not just about finding cheap things, but also about finding items with character and stories.

Second-hand shopping is not only good for the Earth, but it's also a great way to save money. You can find unique items that no one else has and express your personal style in a sustainable way.

Level 5: Make

Level 5 of the Buyerarchy of Needs is all about using your creativity and making things with your own hands.


Making things can be so much fun and rewarding and we can help our children learn to make something instead of buying it.

The more we talk about making things every day the more it seems natural it will be to our children. If they want new jewellery or a fancy decoration for their room then instead of buying it, try to help them make it themselves. Use colourful beads, strings, or even recycled materials to create beautiful bracelets, necklaces, and decorations.

We can also make our own toys, like building a fort out of blankets or crafting a robot from cardboard boxes. The possibilities are endless

We can also try to make costumes that are needed for school dress up days instead of buying ready made ones from the supermarket. World Book Day is a great opportunity to help children make a character costume! There are many resources and inspiration available to help you start making your own costumers. You can find craft books, online tutorials, and even YouTube videos that teach you step-by-step how to create all sorts of amazing things.

By making things yourself, you not only get to express your creativity but also reduce waste and save money. Instead of buying something new, you can repurpose materials you already have or find eco-friendly alternatives. Plus, when you make something yourself, it becomes a one-of-a-kind treasure that no one else has!

So, let's unleash our inner artists and get crafty! Whether it's making jewellery, toys, or decorations, there's something magical about creating things with your own hands. Let s help our children use their imaginations and start making their own unique masterpieces.

Why the Buyerarchy of Needs is Important

Environmental impact

Talking about the environmental impact of consumerism with our children is important – but I know from experience that it can be really tricky to get the right words.


Using the Buyerarchy of Needs  is a great way to help explain that we need to stop buying so much stuff if we want to save our planet. We don’t have to use the word “Buyerarchy of Needs” as this is a really hard concept to grasp but it gives us the framework to help our children understand that we need to reduce waste to save the Earth’s precious resources.

Think about it: when we use what we already have, borrow, swap, buy second-hand, or make things ourselves, we don't need to buy as much new stuff. And that means fewer things end up in landfill, where they can harm the environment. By reusing and repurposing, we give things a longer life, which is like giving the Earth a big hug!

When we buy less, we also use fewer resources. Making new things takes a lot of energy and materials. By choosing to use what we already have or borrow, we help conserve resources like water, trees, and minerals.

Sustainable consumption is all about making choices that are good for the Earth. The Buyerarchy of Needs teaches us to be mindful and make smart decisions about what we buy. It's like having a compass that guides us towards sustainable habits.

When we practice sustainable consumption, we think about the impact our choices have on the environment. We ask ourselves questions like, "Do I really need this new thing?" or "Is there a way I can reduce waste?" It's a way of helping us make a positive difference.

By following the framework set out in the Buyerarchy of Needs, we learn to value experiences over things. We discover the joy of using what we have, sharing with others, and being creative. We realise that happiness doesn't always come from buying new things, but from the memories we create and the connections we make with others.

When we embrace sustainable consumption habits, we become part of a global movement to protect our planet. We are all working together to make the world a better place for future generations.

Its important to help our children learn that every choice we make, even the small ones, can have a big impact on the environment.

Sometimes its just not that easy though….

Sometimes, following the Buyerarchy of Needs can be a bit tricky and its really important to talk about these challenges with our children.

Here are some common challenges and how to tackle them:

  1. Wanting the newest and trendiest things: It's natural to feel tempted by shiny new things. Try to help your children appreciate the things they already own and find joy in their uniqueness. We can also challenge ourselves to come up with fun ways to make our old things feel fresh and exciting!
  2. Peer pressure to buy new things: Sometimes our friends might have the newest toys or gadgets, and it can make our children feel left out. But remember, it is important to make choices that are right for us and the planet. We need to help our children be confident in their decisions and give them the words to explain to their friends why they’re choosing to use what they have or find alternatives. Who knows, maybe we will inspire them to shop differently too!

When we feel like it would be easier just to buy something new rather than shop second hand or make something we need to remind ourselves that we are doing this for the good of our planet.

Here are some tips and strategies to help you overcome challenges and stay strong in practicing the Buyerarchy of Needs:

  1. Make a list: Before going shopping or asking for new things, make a list of what you already have and what you really need. This will help you stay focused and avoid impulse purchases.
  2. Get creative: When you feel the urge to buy something new, challenge yourself to find a creative solution instead. Can you borrow it from a friend or make it yourself? You'll be amazed at what you can come up with!
  3. Share with others: If you have things you no longer need, consider sharing or donating them to someone who can use them. It feels great to help others and reduce waste at the same time.

While the Buyerarchy of Needs is a helpful guide, it's important to know that there are some exceptions and limitations.

Sometimes, certain items like toothbrushes, underwear, or personal care products are better bought new for safety and hygiene reasons. It's important to prioritise your health and well-being in these cases.

Then there will be times when buying new items is necessary, especially for things like school supplies or specific equipment for hobbies or activities. Just remember to make thoughtful choices and consider if there are alternatives available.

And don’t forget that some items hold special emotional value, like a gift from a loved one or a sentimental keepsake. In those cases, it's okay to treasure those items and keep them close to your heart.

Remember, the Buyerarchy of Needs is a guide to help us make sustainable choices, but it's okay to make exceptions when necessary. Help your child fins that balance between what's best for the Earth and what's best for them.

And now….

I really hope that this blog post has helped you understand the Buyerarchy of Needs and also given you some ideas to help you talk about it at home.

Remember the joy of using what you have, whether it's playing with forgotten toys or repurposing items in imaginative ways. Embrace the power of borrowing and sharing, knowing that it builds strong friendships and saves resources. Explore the wonders of swapping, where one person's treasure becomes another's delight. Experience the thrill of second-hand shopping, finding hidden treasures while reducing waste. And finally, unleash your creativity by making things with your own hands.

Share your experiences, tips, and creative ideas in the comments section below. Together, we can inspire and learn from each other, spreading our superhero powers far and wide. Your voice matters, and by sharing your insights, you can motivate others to embark on their own Buyerarchy of Needs journey.

Let's continue using our powers for good, reducing waste, and protecting our beautiful planet. Together, we can make a world of difference, one mindful choice at a time.


  • Thank you for sharing such unique and useful information, and great article.

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