Now the seasons are changing here I’m starting to dig out my old summer clothes from under my bed and beginning to think about putting away the ‘big coat’. I tend to get a bit stressed out heading into summer, because everyone starts booking their holidays and banging on about the new flip flops, or bikinis, or sunglasses that they need to buy, and it just seems like another season of huge expenses!
Some things I managed to do for my holiday last year I intend to do again this year, as they saved me a fair bit of money. I also think they’re fairly good tips just for everyday living.
Buy what you can second hand; charity shops, ebay, vintage clothes shops, clothes markets, these are all great places to get hold of things that you don’t necessarily need to have brand new. If you’re into designer things you can sometimes get lucky and find some great pieces for a fraction of the cost. Even if you’re not, you can get hold of great every day items. My favourite beach bag is from my local charity shop!
Make do and mend. Very 1940’s I know, but it still holds true as a good thing to do. You can recycle old clothes by turning them into pyjamas or running clothes, or even cutting them up and re-stitching them (if you’re into that sort of thing). I usually steal my boyfriend’s old t-shirts, cut the arms and neckline off, and turn them into tank tops for the summer.
Selling your old clothes is also a great way to make some extra cash. Hands up, I don’t do this because I’m sort of a hoarder. I also wear my clothes out until they’re full of holes and need to go into the bin, so no one’s going to buy them. But, if you’re not like me, and you like a slightly higher turnover of things that are actually in fashion then this is quite a good system. You won’t recoup all your costs but at least it’s some money back into your pocket. Plus it stops waste, and I like that. You could sell a whole load of things you don’t want and either put the money away as a small saving or buy a new holiday bikini with it!
I’ve also seen advice saying that you should put out a little bit of extra cash at the beginning and buy some more expensive clothes that are of better quality. To set off the extra cost, only buy a few items that you really like. This capsule wardrobe will (in theory) last longer, due to its superior quality, and so you will save money in the long run. I have a few opinions on this. Firstly, if you can afford the initial pay out then it’s a great idea. Capsule wardrobes are classy and convenient. However, when I was younger I know I often changed my mind on the style of clothes I liked, or the colours I thought suited me. So a capsule wardrobe would have been a horrible waste of money for me because I would have bought expensive clothes and then changed my mind a month later and bought new ones. Therefore I’d say follow this advice with a bit of common sense. If you know how you like to look and what you like to wear it could be a good idea for you, but if you change your mind every season then maybe steer clear.
One final thought is to maybe stop and have a thought about what ‘fast fashion’ actually means. It is a socially and environmentally unsustainable way of clothing ourselves. Unethical, cheap, forced labour in the developing world means that people are paid unsustainable wages in order to facilitate our cheap fashion habits. The mass wastage and high turnover of new clothes is also damaging our environment. It means that landfill sites are filling up at an alarming rate. In America alone they send over 10 million tons of clothing to the dump each year.
Maybe there’s a way for you to save money by trying to consume just a little bit less. We can start buying more based on what we need rather than what we always want. It’s just a thought.