In keeping with my year of not buying new, I managed to convince my family (with the help of my big sis) to participate in a Thriftmas this year. This means that we have to give gifts to each other that are a) an experience, b) second hand or a re-gift or c) handmade (by yourself or someone else). Everyone wasn’t originally on board, but they came around and we are excited to experience gift giving in a different way.
Choosing to fit Christmas into my year of not buying new wasn’t as difficult as I thought it might be. I posted on facebook about my first dilemma, which is that I didn’t have Christmas lights! I actually received 2 offers for free lights on facebook, and ended up getting 3 strands from my sister who purchased them at the Women In Need Thrift store. Dilemma solved!
Besides decorating, my next concern was my eldest daughter. But, when asked what she wanted for Christmas, she said “a long stuffy snake that I can wrap around myself, and a video game”. That’s it. So, I’m making a snake out of fabric scraps and second hand batting (thanks Sonja!) and we are getting a second hand video game. We also went to Value Village and bought a few funny dress up items to make into a “Snowman Making Kit”. I’ve not stepped one foot into the mall, and I’m less than 1/6 of the budget that we spent on her last year. 1/6!!!
We decided to do this year of not buying new for several reasons – you can read more about it here. Encouraging my family to take part in it with how we celebrate Christmas has been a happy side-effect. I think that by doing this, we are all helping to cut down on the needless spending, and mountains of garbage that exist in the world because of over-consumption. We are also telling eachother that it is okay – no, that it is encouraged – to give us second hand, and re-gifted items. We are giving each other the gift of spending time together with experiences, and injecting money into the handmade economy – using our $$$ to change the world for the better. The limit on gifts has inspired me to be more creative, and has meant that I get to spend more time engaging in my hobbies of craft making and knitting.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas, one that is full of love, free of obligation and that honours your special gifts.11.12.12
I’m certainly not the first to take on this challenge. The Compact, a group of 7 friends in San Fransisco committed themselves in counteracting “the negative global environmental and socioeconomic impacts of U.S. consumer culture [by] reducing clutter and waste in our homes…[and] simplify our lives”. They went about achieving this goal by not buying anything new, except food, medicine, and toiletries. Angela Barton, writer/editor/blogger joined the movement for a year and decided to continue with it indefinitely. You can read her journey on her website www.myyearwithoutspending.com.
I’ve decided to join the cause and I’ll blog about it here. Of course, I’ll be putting a fashion and style spin on it. I hope to find the time to share new ways I put my own clothes together, and new additions from Goodwill, Value Village and other second hand shops around town. I might give up on buying new, but not on looking cute.
Here are my reasons for taking this challenge on.
1. Consuming doesn’t make me happy, but sometimes I spend money like it will. I’m going to disrupt this pattern in my life and hopefully grow in the process.
2. I am a small local business, and I want to support other small local businesses. It isn’t cheaper, but it is better. It feels good to put my money directly into the hands of people who imagine, design and create a product or service I use.
4. I don’t want to contribute to a global garbage crisis. I strive to be frugal and creative in other areas of my life, but because of my love of fashion, I have over-indulged in new clothing far beyond what I need.
5. Money! I’m on semi-maternity leave and since I own my own business I’m receiving almost no income. I had a blast shopping at Goodwill last week – and I spent $36.00. Tally up another $24.00 in alterations and cleaning costs and you get a grand total of $50.00 for a few pieces that inject life and personality into my closet. And hey, they’ve already proven they stand the test of time by making their way to the thrift shop. I also feel good knowing that I supported a local tailor who runs her own business, and the Goodwill corporation that works to support and employ people with disabilities. It feels a lot better than cramming 4 paper tote bags into the recycling bin after a shopping spree at the mall.
1. I will not purchase anything new for myself or my family in the way of clothing or housewares until October 1st 2013 with the exception of consumables. For clothing this includes underwear, undershirts, tights and socks. These items wear out quickly and are difficult to find second hand. Also, I just can’t get my head around wearing another person’s underwear.
2. I will allow myself to purchase “new” clothing made from recycled material that is locally designed and crafted. Putting money into the local and handmade economy feels good!
That’s it. I hope you’ll follow my journey and let me know what you think!07.11.10
I don’t believe in spending a fortune on jewelry (I don’t believe in spending a fortune on anything, actually) because you don’t have to! The cheaper varieties last as long as you need them too. I get bored of most accessories after a year or two, with the exception of a few pieces, so I like to purchase some inexpensive things each season to keep it interesting. Many clothing retailers have started carrying jewelry over the last few years, and besides being relatively cost-effective, the jewelry that you’ll find in the store goes with that season’s selection of clothing in terms of colour and style – which totally simplifies your life, and simple is always good.
I often like to shop in the mall for several other reasons, one of the main ones being time! I just love that I can find most things I need under one roof so I can be really efficient – which is a necessity for me. Luckily,Â this seasons bejeweled accessories can be found in many stores at your local mall. For some great deals on summer jewelry be sure to check out The Bay, The Gap, Zellers (yes, Zellers) and H&M. Don’t be afraid of going into a store that you don’t normally shop in. Even though the clothing might not be your taste, often the accessories are more varied in style. For example,Â Alfred Sung does a line of fashion and jewelry for Zellers that is completely affordable and totally cute. Department stores are wising up about fashion these days and realizing that there is a market for inexpensive designer clothing, so you can find some really great stuff at discountÂ stores. While I’m on the subject, check out Joe Fresh Style at Superstore too. If you don’t already know about it, you’re going to love it! They have the best kid’s clothes too.
Right now I’m also loving Reitmans selection of necklaces and cocktail rings because of the wide selection of bold blue and silver pieces. Turquoise is one of my favorite stones, partly because the fake stuff looks almost as nice as the real thing. I often pair a neutral outfit, like a navy shift dress, with a turquoise bracelet and earrings. It makes everything pop, and you can switch out the accessories for something more neutral if you want to another day. You don’t have to match your jewelry perfectly or wear items together that come in a set. Try to think in terms of a colour palate or feeling that you want to create and mix and match with other pieces. The result will be much more fashion forward, and more individual, than if you wear all the same set of jewelry.
Another great store for easy casual jewelry is Aldo Accessories. IÂ love this little Annex to Aldo Shoes mainly because of the HUGE selection. Most things under $20 make it easy to stock up on pieces that make your outfit pop. I particularly love the bracelets they have in right stock now. You can find some great knock-off charm bracelets in various plated metals, stacked wooden bangles, beaded strands in beachy colours, and tough looking leather with studs and rivets. Can’t decide what your style is? Get one of each! This season multi-stranded and miss-matched is the way to go. The idea is that you look like you didn’t try very hard. Ha! We all know being stylish isn’t as easy as it looks! One piece of advice with the cheap jewelry is to avoid wearing plated metal bracelets in the heat. Unless you want green wrists and peeling bracelets that is! When hitting the wading pool or walking around in the heat, stick to wood, plastic or solid gold. Aldo has a great selection of earrings right now too. Be it dangly or stud, make sure to top off your outfit with earrings. Studs are really in style right now, so no worries all you moms with small babes! You don’t have to subject your ear lobes to the grabbing hands of an infant.
Here is where I got some of my inspiration. Remember, you can always find knock-offs at the mall. As always, have fun, be creative and enjoy your summer with some bling!