It is episode #120 of the Business with Purpose Podcast: “How to Shop Ethically on a Budget.” A couple of episodes ago, actually at episode #110, I started introducing my solo episodes. Now every ten episodes, you get an episode with just me, on topics requested by you! So if you have a topic that you would like me to talk about, you can email me at email@example.com, you can find me on social media at Still Being Molly, or we have lots of awesome conversations in my Purchase with Purpose Facebook Group. By the way, if you are not already in that group, it is so much fun. We ask lots of great questions, there’s a lot of great discussion, and you get to give me feedback on podcast episodes like this one!
Today I’ve got six tips for you on How to Shop Ethically on a Budget. I want to make this really easy, really quick, and really simple, because this is one of those things that I get asked about all the time. People say to me all the time, “Molly, shopping ethically is expensive, it’s too difficult!” and it doesn’t have to be.
TIP #1: SHOP SECOND-HAND
This is the most affordable and arguably the most ethical way to shop. Whether it’s thrifting, consigning, or shopping by sell pages–when you are shopping second-hand, what you are doing is you are actually purchasing clothing that is already in the “ecosystem,” so to speak. You are not further contributing to the demand for clothing to be produced, because you are buying clothing that already exists–it has already been purchased by somebody else, and it’s already out there. Also, a lot of great non-profits run thrift stores and consignment shops, so you might be supporting a local business–keeping money in your local economy–as well. Shopping second-hand is super, super ethical, and it’s also the most affordable, because when you’re buying something second-hand, you are not paying retail prices! This is a great way to purchase items you need, whether it’s clothing, shoes, accessories, or home decor. You can shop some of the more mainstream brands that you already know and love, and you’ll get a discount off of that retail price. Take a look at my favorite online and in-person resources below!
My Favorite Online Resources
My Favorite In-Person Resources
TIP #2: BUY LESS, BUT BUY BETTER
The fashion industry has you convinced that you need to buy new clothes–every week, every month, all the time. That is not how life should really be! Back in the days of our parents and grandparents, the average American only had 15 to 20 items of clothing in their entire wardrobe. Now, these days, we go through that in a month! Buying less, but buying better will help to save you money in the long-term. Rather than going to a cheap, fast-fashion store like H&M, Forever 21, or Old Navy–where new clothes are coming out weekly, where they’re not as well-made, where they fall apart after a few washes and so you just end up having to replace them–save that money, and instead of buying an $8 shirt 12 times per year, spend $50 on one shirt that is going to last you much, much longer. Where you spent $96 through the year on clothing that just wound up falling apart, instead purchase one or two shirts that will last you several years. Some of my favorite brands that I purchase from produce clothing that lasts me for years, because of the intention and the quality of the product. When you buy less but buy better, you will save money in the long-run. It can be really hard to shift our mentality that way, but it is so important.
TIP #3: SAVE
This one may seem really simple, but so often we forget about saving. Yes, we save for retirement, we save for a home, we save for all these different things–but why not save for an investment piece that you really want and that you know is going to last you a long time? When you save up for an item, you value it more and you are less likely to go through the cycle of buying an item, using it once, and then tossing it!
TIP #4: GET TO KNOW YOUR MORE AFFORDABLE ETHICAL BRANDS
I know that some of the pricier brands are not in everybody’s budget, so I love to share my favorite affordable ethical brands!
TIP #5: SHOP SALES
July and after-Christmas are the best times to shop ethical brands, as they are transitioning seasons and having SALES. This is the time when they are really trying to clear out their inventory. The Flourish Market always runs a huge sale twice a year, once after Christmas and once in July, with thousands of items 50% off. Save that Christmas money and shop ethically on a budget while things are on sale! Pro Tip: Browse my ethical brand directory and use any applicable coupon codes (I update them regularly). If you are an ethical brand and would like to create a discount code for Still Being Molly, please reach out to me!
TIP #6: IF ALL ELSE FAILS, ASK YOURSELF IF YOU ARE GOING TO WEAR THE ITEM 30 TIMES
I call this the 30-Wears Rule. I never purchase an item unless I know that I am going to wear it 30 times. This helps to keep you accountable when you’re shopping, so you aren’t just shopping for the sake of shopping and impulse-purchasing.
I hope this was helpful and would love to hear your feedback!
CONNECT WITH ME