Thrifty and Green Tips for Shopaholics

Let's face it, shopping for clothes on a weekly basis has become a luxury that most people can't afford. There were times in the not-too-distant past when I would buy a new item of clothing each week and not think anything of it. Oh, how I loved the heavy weight of an assortment of textures, colors, and styles slung over my arm as I weaved my way to the fitting rooms. I would meticulously try on each garment, turning this way and that to ensure each angle was complimented before taking my new treasures to the cash register. I even found delight in the number of carrier bags I could swing as I strolled back to work in anticipation of the oohs and ahhs of my coworkers. The elation throughout the whole process was as euphoric as a drug. Does this sound familiar?

Shop Without Spending a Dime

Times are changing. My shopaholic habits have subsided into near oblivion, and, like others, my purse strings are purposefully cutting off circulation. It’s not easy going cold turkey on a shopping lifestyle, but I've discovered ways to get around the urges and find a satisfying fix elsewhere on a much lower budget.

  • Number 1

    Continue to shop in your own closet. Every few months do an inventory of your clothes. It's easy for things to get lost in the mess that is your wardrobe. Shopping in your own closet will often unearth forgotten gems.

  • Number 2

    Have a clothing swap with your friends. I don't need to repeat that old adage about garbage and treasure, and you and other people, do I? You'll not only score some fantastic new clothes, you'll also spend some quality time with friends. Include wine for added pleasure.

  • Number 3

    Shop consignment and vintage. These stores are popping up at an alarming (or appeasing) rate as consumers recycle their clothing on a more regular basis. You can find anything from almost-new to well-loved, all at shockingly low prices. Downside: Be prepared to spend more time among the racks to find the best pieces.

  • Number 4

    Revitalize old clothes. We all have pants, dresses or skirts that could use a little help before we would walk the sidewalks in them. Find a reputable tailor to put some life back into your once favorite clothes. A little nip here or hem there can update expired looks.


Can't avoid the store?

It's inevitable. Sometimes we relapse. When you do make the now infrequent trips to the mall, shop wisely.

  • Avoid tags with those horrible two words, "Dryclean only." They are known to deplete bank accounts.
  • Make sure you can wear any new item at least three different ways. If you can't think of three outfits that could be created within your current closet, don’t buy the garment.
  • Shop with a purpose. Be aware of what you need to complete or enhance your wardrobe rather than shopping without a plan.
  • Partner with a friend to get another opinion. She'll be sure to tell you that the pink suede boots you crave should never see the light of day.

Essentially, clothing is disposable (yes, even those Jimmy Choo shoes you bought on sale). Your hard earned money deserves to be spent elsewhere on more lasting endeavors, such as a dream home, a once-in-a-lifetime journey, or even your electricity bill.

Photo taken by: Flickr Photographer, Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch - licensed under the Creative Commons license.

Edited by Sara E. Howard