Shopping ethically on a budget

As I may have mentioned, I’m a bit fussy when it comes to where my money goes.  And it can be a little time-consuming researching companies’ policies and what their factories look like (worth it, though; but time-consuming nonetheless).  One excellent option when it comes to shopping ethically on a budget is shopping at charity shops.

Not only are you donating money to a charity doing good work, but you are refusing to add to the consumption machine.  There are more than enough clothes to go round and yet more are being made every day as we buy into the lie that new = better.  However, items which have stood the test of time thus far are much more likely to stay by your side without disintegrating in the wash. 

My only concern with shopping at charity shops is that I truly love wearing brands that I agree with.  I feel proud to walk around with my Matt & Nat bag and my Beyond Skin shoes.  I feel like I advertise them and brandish my support of their aims every time I step outside my front door.  I would love to have a full wardrobe of only brands that I truly respected and clothes that I loved.  But until I can afford to, I am happy to buy second hand Zara items.

Here are some of my top tips if you charity shop:

  1. Location is everything.  The richest areas tend to donate the most reliable brands – even designer labels!  I once bought a Karen Millen cardigan for £11.
  2. Ditch the preconceptions.  In my early years, I remember shopping at charity shops being thought of as synonymous with being poor.  This is why I avoided them until my moral muscle began to grow.  There is nothing cheap about giving your money to people who can do amazing things with it in exchange for quality products.  It’s very, very smart.
  3. Don’t fall in love with the chase.  If you find a quality item that would usually be incredibly expensive for £5, that doesn’t mean you have to buy it.  If it’s something you need, go for it.  If it isn’t, then that’s still £5 in exchange for something whose absence hadn’t informed the purchase.  Only buy things you need.  Possessions aren’t prey.  

Happy ethical shopping!

Carmen x

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