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You’ve spent more – dirtied more: Here’s how to buy correctly

Author: Dr. Israel Boxer
The average Israeli family produces 6 times more garbage than a family in South Korea, all because we haven’t yet learned how to shop correctly. The solution: make a list before you leave, skip the deals, don’t hoard food at home and cook just as much as you need. Standard of living? It will only get better

A recent survey conducted at the University of Haifa found that an Israeli family produces 2.6 times more waste than a family in the Netherlands, 4.6 times more than a family in Switzerland and 6 times more than a family in South Korea. But where do the large amounts of garbage come from? The answer is that we buy much more than necessary and in direct proportion also throw away a lot more. Studies show that the large amount of food in Israeli garbage is an indicator of economic status – “the richer we are, the more we throw away.” Is it? Are Israelis richer? And what causes Israelis to buy and consume too much.

A large proportion of Israelis are perceived as “larges,” as those who have a broad hand, even if they don’t. Their desire to be perceived by the environment as capable and thus ostensibly improve their social status drives them crazy. Israelis are operation-oriented, and there are, as everyone knows, operations, with the number and frequency of operations in Israel unparalleled in the Western world. We are world champions in this field as well. The result: many Israelis pounce on every operation as spoils and buy far more than they need.

Israeli consumers are not calculated and act according to emotions and emotions and rely less on common sense. Retailers, who are well aware of this behavioral characteristic, create a shopping experience in stores that combines colors, smells, lighting and eye-catching merchandise arrangements that open consumers’ pockets more than they actually need.

Do not overload, the writer will not run away

The fact that Israelis are not calculated is reflected in a few more points. First, most consumers do not come to stores with a ready-made shopping list. The immediate result is the purchase of much larger quantities than necessary, which also includes quite a few products that are not needed.
Second, a large proportion of consumers do not have basic knowledge of inventory management. This lack of knowledge is expressed in poor judgment regarding the purchase of the right quantity suitable for consumption for a given time.
Third, consumers concentrate their purchases and load full carts every purchase as if there is no tomorrow and fill the pantry and refrigerators in excessive and unnecessary quantities. This habit causes waste and many products expire before we can use them – and throw them in the garbage.
Fourth, many families cook too much. Of course, the compassionate heart of the Jewish mother will not allow anything to be missing. The result is large surpluses in pots and plates, leading to food being thrown into the garbage.

Earn little, spend a lot

Quite a few studies and reality shows have led to the realization that the consumption culture of the Israeli household is severely lacking. This, combined with low wages and high prices, immediately creates an equation that significantly worsens the situation of many households.
Most employees have no control over the amount of salary they receive. They also cannot affect the high price level in stores. They are expected to manage wisely and judiciously their level of spending, which is ostensibly under their full control. The enormous amounts of garbage show that the level of management of most households, especially those who don’t, requires fundamental change.
Our sages said long ago, “Tul happens from between your eyes.” In other words, buy lists must be prepared in advance and purchase only what is listed. Do not be tempted by promotions and do not purchase large quantities and huge packages that are supposedly cheaper. Do not be tempted by products on sale that are not part of the regular consumption basket. Don’t just buy at a “special” price at checkout. Increase the frequency of shopping and do not buy in bulk. Cook less and make an account and judgment of what is needed and what can be given up. Not only will these not lower the standard of living of most households, but on the contrary, they will raise it.

Dr. Israel Boxer is a lecturer on the Israeli economy at the Center for Academic Studies in Or Yehuda and accompanies families at Paamonim.

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