Maybe you’ve noticed the dollar signs on the sustainable brand directories here on the World Changer Co. site, and maybe you’ve noticed me talking about money a little more than usual. The goal of World Changer Co. is to make shopping sustainable brands easier. This includes providing solutions to any issues that might get in the way of you buying fair trade and earth friendly products. So what’s the No.1 issue people bring up? Give it a guess!
Money is a big factor on the road to living sustainably, and I’m on your side about it. I don’t want you to be spending all your money on clothes and food. Your money should be saved for people and experiences. So here I am, not sweeping this issue under the rug.
From my experience, the top reason people say they can’t buy from sustainable brands is because they can’t afford it, but actually all I see is people’s need for convenience, and people’s want for trendy items. Many are purchasing from Urban Outfitters, Lululemon, Nike, etc. which cost the same as lots of sustainable brands. Maybe I recognize people saying one thing and doing another because I’ve been there. I still act on impulses and/or want to try things on and/or want to eat, drink and wear what the cool kids are eating, drinking and wearing... Though, the more I practice shopping ethically the less and less I’ve become that way.
So here’s what I say to the problem of pricey ethical fashion. If you’re buying less but better, if you’re thrifting, if you’re saying no to impulse cheap buys, you’re going to SAVE money. But don’t just hear it from me, I’ve asked some of my favorite humans about their experience:
“Shopping sustainably means shopping consciously, which means my purchases are more purposeful rather than impulsive. Bringing greater knowledge into my shopping habits has made me a smarter shopper. It has helped me save money while wearing higher quality and longer lasting products from sustainable brands!” - Elisha Chan, Founder of Elisha C. a foundation providing school scholarships for kids in Haiti.
"Purchasing from sustainable brands not only supports the mission of a fairer fashion industry, but it cuts costs for you in the long run. Instead of having to throw that $5 fast fashion tee away after 7 wears, you are able to hold on to the more conscious tee season after season. To me, it makes more sense to spend $50 on something I can use for years, than $5 on something I can only use a few times." - Natalie Kay, Creator of Sustainably Chic, a blog destination for sustainable fashion, beauty and lifestyle.
“For me, the mindful consumer journey is all about taking time to work out what you want your clothing to say to the world. Once you have an acute understanding of how you want to present yourself, you can choose clothing that really fits with your desired aesthetics, values, and is functional for your day-today life. This is how fashion items become part of your personal style expression, and buying with this level of mindfulness allows you to select items you will love forever and create memories in. This saves money and counteracts the 'disposable clothing' fast-fashion trend.” -Katie Roberts, Creator of Sustainability in Style, a blog for conscious consumers.
“Ethical shopping has saved me from spending my money on unnecessary items. I think more about how it will help me in the long run than how it will help me now. I’ve spent my earnings at thrift stores and can usually find the same thing that a name brand store would have. Since I’m still in high school, I’ve encouraged my friends to stray from the typical brands and to start being more conscious about where they spend their money.” -Shea Bass, student, cheerleader and fashionista at Weber High School.
"I only started my journey one year ago, and I've grown a lot from making small changes one step at a time. Eco-friendly lifestyles are often associated with the term "not affordable”, but in reality, that's just not the case. There are many ways to live sustainably without compromising your wallet (hence the term “sustainably”). In fact, you will definitely save money in the long run!" - Zarin Khan, Creator of Unraveling Threads, a blog recording Zarin's journey towards the eco-friendly lifestyle.
“I used to shop only cheap trendy brands thinking it was saving me money, but the clothes were made of such thin material that I would end up just having to buy new clothes more often. By switching to only fair trade and high quality thrifted clothes, I have finally broken that cycle of replacing my cheaply made clothes every other month. My clothes last longer now, I feel better about where they came from, and I’ve saved so much money in the long run!” - Maddie Roberts, an advocate for healthy living and conscious consumerism.
“Sustainable choices protect the earth by reducing waste, but they also save me money! I use cloth napkins, a glass water bottle, silicone snack bags, homemade skincare products, (reusable toilet paper?), and now I’ll never have to buy a roll of paper towels, a case of water, or a plastic bottle of shampoo again. There is initial investment at first so you don’t have to switch all at once, but the savings are huge in the long run and you’ll be amazed how less often you have to take out the trash. Less waste, less money, less work!” - Sarah Roberts, my sister and passionate promoter of choosing all natural and sustainable options for food, fashion and more.
These lovelies and many more are finding themselves saving money from shopping sustainably. Has your experience been similar or are you curled up in a corner freaking out that there’s too many standards for eco-living and your brain/wallet isn’t big enough to embrace every bit of it. Let me know in the comments or shoot me an email!