1. Read "The Real Cost of Cheap" for inspiration.
2. Buy second hand. This is how I survive! I visit my local thrift shop on 50%
off days; I find used electronics online; I gladly accept hand-me-down
clothes and furniture. Used is a great option for stuff you cannot find or
afford to buy ethically-made!
3. Find your favorite ethical brands and sign up for their mailing list/follow
them on social media to catch all their sales and promotions! Often you
will get a coupon just for signing up!
4. Shipping is expensive these days. Find local stores which carry
ethical products and do some in-person shopping. Not only will you save
on postage, but you will get to meet people in your community :)
5. Shipping IS expensive. So wait to order until you can combine enough
purchases to qualify for free shipping or make the postage worth
paying for. You can even combine orders with a friend.
for discounted ethical fashion.
7. Follow ethical shopping blogs to get discount codes (not to mention, new
shopping ideas and links!)
8. Buy intentionally. Shopping ethically is already intentional buying, but if
you really stop to think about your purchases, you will be amazed how
much money you can save! Which leaves more money to spend on what
you really want/need. (But, I will admit; I still impulse buy occasionally,
just because an ethically-made product is on sale. At least, I tell myself,
I know the money went to a good cause!)
9. Pick one thing to buy ethically-made this year. You have to start
somewhere and every purchase really does count!
10. Buy gifts that make a difference. This is what I shop for through my
website the most. Instead of a gift card, why not give something
handcrafted and meaningful? Plus I know the gift gives both ways, so
win-win! I find the gifts are usually very appreciated for their uniqueness
and the story behind them. Which means I also get to "advertise"
companies I truly believe in!
11. Make it last. Take good care of the products you do buy (you will be extra
motivated if you paid a lot for them!), so that you do not have to replace
them quickly (or ever!). Buying quality-crafted items makes the extra
money spent worthwhile over the long haul. (This applies to food as well. I
pay extra for an ethically-sourced chocolate bar, but then savor it one
square at a time for days!)
12. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. The three Rs are not just good for the
environment, but also for the budget!! I am always looking for new and
creative uses for stuff before I get rid of it. (I just finished using socks with
holes as the stuffing in a doll I made for my little girl!) This saves me from
having to search for/pay for a new ethically-made item.
13. Write to your favorite brands and ask about their supply chains. I have
found some companies are very connected to their factories/farms and can
verify the conditions there. (Of course, no company will tell you they
use "sweatshops" or "forced labor"; but you can read between the lines to
see if a company really cares or not!) Your letter will let them know they
have customers who care and that can make a big difference as well.
Help! I Can't Afford to Shop Ethically!
I get it. My family is not exactly "rolling in the dough" by U.S. standards. (In fact, we fall below the Federal Poverty Line!) So, paying extra for something because it is ethically made can be tough when you are trying to make ends meet! Below are my tips for how I shop ethically and try to stay on budget!!
To read more on how to afford ethical shopping, check out these great blogs:
Dust to Stardust: "Is Slow Fashion Always More Expensive?"
Amma's Umma: "How Do I Shop Ethically?"
Still Being Molly: "5 Tips for Shopping Ethically on a Budget."
Simply Liv & Co.: "Best Places to Buy Affordable Ethical Fashion."
Sister Rochelle: "The 3 Es of Shopping."
The Honest Root: "Super Affordable Ethical Clothing Brands for Everyday Wear"
Eluxe Magazine: "Where to Shop Sustainable Luxury Fashion on a Budget."
Eco Warrior Princess: "15 Cheap and Affordable Ethical Fashion Brands."
Also check out: The Frugal Family