Archive for July 31st, 2009

Green and Frugal Friday

All this talk this week about being a “greener” mama has motivated me to start a new Friday series on how to be both green AND frugal!

If greenness was on a Crayola scale, I’d have to say that I’m more of a yellow green than a forest green!  I’m not a nazi eco-friendly nut.  I decided that I would make an eco-friendly change if it did not cause any undue distress in my family (giving up toilet paper would cause a lot of distress around here!) and if it didn’t cost us any more money because being frugal is still important to me too.  I’m not into offsetting my carbon emissions and I will not give up my hairdryer or straightener or stop shaving my legs for the sake of being green.  But there are lots of small changes that can be made that really are effortless and can have a big impact on our environment in the long run.

So each Friday I’ll tell you about a way that we trying to live a little more consciously of our environment.  I’m not making changes because I think global warming is about to wipe us all out or because I believe Al Gore and all his craziness.  I just want to be a better steward of God’s blessing.  I’m tired of the consumerism and wastefulness in America and if we can make small changes for the better than I want to do it!

First up this week . . .

Buy Used as Much as Possible

When I was little my mother would drag me and my brother to the local resale shop.  I hated it with a passion.  The only good part about that trip to me was the book room.  I have tons of books that have other kids’ names written in them as a result of visiting that book room!  Anyway, I never understood that my mom shopped there because, in her words, we were broke.  I always thought it was just to torture us!  As far as I knew, none of my friends shopped there and it was embarassing to me to tell someone that my clothes came from a thrift store!

As a result, when I grew up I avoided second hand stores at all cost.  That was until I was a senior on high school.  My best friend Jenn and I started visiting second hand stores looking for vintage clothes and old vinyl records.  I started to appreciate thrift stores and found lots of cool and cheap things there!  I have quite a collection of vinyl records now as a result (and lots of good memories to go along with some of them!).

Once I graduated, got married and started a “real” job I kind of forgot about thrifting.  I would occasionally stop by a thrift store but it really was an afterthought.  Then I had kids and realized how quickly they outgrow their clothes so I started making regular trips to the Goodwill.  I LOVED the Goodwill up in our old hometown.  We actually had 2 of them and both of them were amazing!

I couldn’t begin to tell you about all the good deals I have found by shopping at Goodwill and Salvation Army and other second hand stores!  A few of my favorites–my Birkenstock sandals for $15, Tommy Hilfiger jeans for Annagrace for $2, a beautiful handmade toile print dress with the monogram “M” on it for Madalyn for $14 (that was a splurge for me but it easily would have cost $50 in a store), a brand new JanSport bookbag for $6, a brand new swivel chair for my vanity area for $7, and last week a suitcase and carry on bag combo for Annagrace for $5.  I also found all of this:


for Layla and paid only $12 for all of it!  Most of the onesies are Carter’s brand.  I also got her some Gymboree brand baby boots for $4!  Sweet!

So how is shopping used a “green thing” to do? Well first of all, you are reusing those items that someone else no longer wants.  So instead of those things going to a landfill they are being reused by another person that needs them!  So you are saving things from a landfill.  You also are keeping new things from being produced.  Think about how much time, energy, and gas for transportation that you are saving by not buying a brand new product!

A few other tips for buying used is to try yard sales, Craigslist, and Ebay.  And if you haven’t signed up for it, go to Freecycle and sign up there now!  I LOVE Freecycle.  Freecycle is a community forum/group where you can post things that you have to give away.  You can get notifications through e-mail when someone posts a new item.  The only requirements are that no money changes hands.  We were able to give away several things before we moved by using Freecycle.  Someone even came and took all the broken pieces to our demolished swingset.  It was awesome.

So tell me . . . . do you shop second hand?  Why or why not?  Is there anything that you won’t buy second hand?  (For me it’s any type of underclothing!).

July 2009