Capitalism: it’s the economic structure that governs our society. When we think of it, vague words like “credit” and “free market” probably come to mind, as well as a few more sinister ones like “greed” and “exploitation”. It’s not all bad; after all, credit is what allows us to invest in new medicine and technology. But at its core, capitalism is a system that puts the economic growth above everything else, including – as we’ve seen all too vividly in recent years – the future of our planet. It’s for that reason that many young people are becoming increasingly wary of capitalism. In fact, a 2016 Harvard study found that 52 per cent of American adults aged 18-29 do not support capitalism. And yet, it isn’t exactly something we can opt out of, while also being functioning members of society. So what can we do? Well, there are small steps we can take to liberate ourselves from some of the more everyday trappings of capitalism. Ditch the gym It’s a vicious cycle. Advertisers encourage us to indulge over Christmas, then promise to get us back in shape in the new year. No wonder gyms see a spike in memberships on January 1, only for many newcomers to give up around March. Sound like a scam? It is. Going to the gym is like buying bottled water: you take something that should be free, repackage it in a chilled, artificial environment, and charge obscene amounts of money for people to access it. In reality, the whole world can be our gym. We can take a walk in the park or a dip in the sea at little to no expense. What’s more, when we stop focusing on results – how many calories we burn or weights we can lift – we can actually start to enjoy exercise for the other benefits it gives us, such as better moods, fresh air, more energy, or the chance to spend time in nature. Close your bank account Anyone who remembers the global financial crash of 2009 – when banks in Europe and the US went bust and had to be bailed out by the taxpayer – probably still looks on the banks with mistrust. After all, they charge us high fees just so they can make a profit from our hard-earned cash. But short of taping our savings to the bottom of our mattresses, are they any viable alternatives to traditional banking? Right now, there is probably only one: credit unions. The main difference between banks and credit unions is that banks are for-profit, while unions are non-profit. This means that any money that unions make goes right back to the customer. For this reason, credit unions are often able to offer customers lower fees and higher interest rates on their savings. 7 signs you’re spending too much money The only downside is that unions don’t currently offer the same level of convenience as banks, in the form of local branches, ATMs, and mobile banking – but hang in there, because they are catching up, slowly but surely. Steer clear of linear production Linear economies – where resources go from the earth to the manufacturer to the consumer to the landfill – are a capitalist’s dream, because they encourage us to buy more and more. Instead, we should try to adopt a cyclical approach. Where you can, invest in durable, longlasting products; these will also be easier to upcycle, donate or recycle if you do want to get rid of them later. Don’t be afraid to shop secondhand either; you’ll be amazed by how many great pre-loved items you can get for less. Freecycling schemes are even better – they literally allow you to get stuff for free! Of course, it doesn’t hurt just to buy less to begin with; in fact, you’ll probably find that the less clutter you have, the better you feel. Limit your time on social media This one is hard, because we all enjoy social media – but using it exposes us to so much advertising. These days, it feels like every other post is a sponsored one. That’s because influencers are essentially salespeople. They are trying to sell a lifestyle which they hope you will pay to emulate – and with tools like one-click buying, it’s all too easy to succumb. Not only can this be dangerous for our bank accounts, it can leave us feeling really dissatisfied with our lives, as if the only way to make them better is by spending. Stepping away from time to time allows us to evaluate what really matters. Prepare your own food That to-go coffee or sandwich you buy on your way to class or work – probably from a chain with a less-than-immaculate tax history, ahem – may save you precious minutes in your morning, but once again, we are outsourcing a service that we could probably provide ourselves. Admittedly, it can be a real struggle to get in the habit of preparing your own lunch at first, so why not start by aiming to do it once a week. It will help you reduce your plastic footprint and may even be healthier. A beginner’s guide to meal prep And if you’re worried about splurging on ingredients that you won’t be able to use quickly enough, why not cook with friends? You can pool your resources and ensure that there are no wasted leftovers. Join the library Why we bother buying books when they are literally available for free must be one of the great mysteries of the modern age. Libraries are in essence a socialist’s paradise: civic institutions that offer unlimited knowledge and entertainment for all to enjoy, free of charge. And yes, while it’s true that buying books online is quick and easy, and while many public libraries are woefully underfunded and understocked, they do allow you to order books online and have them sent to your nearest pick-up point. Plus you’d be avoiding lining the pockets of billionaires whose employees are routinely exploited, just sayin’. This article was curated by Young Post . Better Life is the ultimate resource for enhancing your personal and professional life.