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Thriftiness. Thursday October 10, 2013

"Oh this is gorgeous! But how happy does this make you feel? And this?"

So exuded the shop assistant at a charity shop when I was purchasing a skirt. She was referring first to the expensive label and then to the price tag which read a happy £4.49.

There's a bountiful supply of books, blogs, TV programmes and weekly columns devoted to making our pennies go further with promises of 'Living Rich Even Though Poor.' Yes, it's a good thing to be in control of our money. Especially as we know well, how much our financial situation can affect our mood. But how can we feel "rich" even if "poor"?

Well, I feel strongly that it doesn't mean living ascetically or being mean. I for one adore the aesthetic and am all about being surrounded with beauty. I think India Knight explains it well in her Thrift Book: 'What we'd like is some authenticity, some individualism, some soul in our lives... some integrity.'

For example, homemade gifts and cards will almost always be more meaningful and heartfelt than shop bought ones.

Up-cycling old lamp-shades, chairs, wardrobes, side-units, (the list is endless actually) brings an inner satisfaction that the quick fix high of spending just can't compare with.

And what of charity shops? Well why spend £80 on a skirt when we can buy one for less than a fiver? I'm in shopping nirvana when in a charity shop. After I have calmed myself down, I set about rummaging in a very orderly, logistical manner. I don't want to miss a thing! You just never know what treasure you will find in a charity shop. I'd say about 75% of my wardrobe is made up of such treasures.

Thrifting can be a fun and creative way of starting on the path of living more frugally but feeling altogether more satisfied and happy. Last month saw the first ever Thrift Festival in Darlington, Yorkshire, thanks to Wayne Hemingway. I was desperate to go but it'd have cost me £100 for a day return! (What a shame our country's rail services don't help us get thrifty.) If you were able to go, please tell me about it or indeed, just share any of your nifty, thrifty ways.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

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Anonymous Thu, Oct 10th 2013 @ 7:41am

Totally agree with everything in your article, Suzy! I give myself an hour every week to browse my local charity shops - I LOVE it! It's like being a detective - as you say, you never know what treasures you might discover! I can't spend in 'normal' shops now - the costs just disgust me!

Scalpay Linen Thu, Oct 10th 2013 @ 8:10am

Thrift is fine but cost must be relevant to production costs. For every cheap product available someone else pays -usually the maker-in the form of exploitative practices such as low pay and health and safety issues. Yes by all means try to find "bargains" but also please be aware.

G Thu, Oct 10th 2013 @ 8:34am

I enjoy spending time in op-shops while I was in Australia. Now that I am back in my home country where none of these concepts exist I miss them a lot. Visiting them was part of my 'therapy' :)
To Scalpay Linen, thrift stores or charity shops do not operate like Wal-mart and their contribution to recycle and environmental friendly practice is something that we should not overlook. I believe we are all aware of the depressing exploitation occurred worldwide.

Anonymous Thu, Oct 10th 2013 @ 11:30am

I often find that shopping actually stresses me out and brings me down, especially lengthy looking for bargains and good deals. As well as buying cheap things of bad quality.

I try to stick to the principle "less is more" and shop less often and for less things, but treat myself to something of decent first hand quality when I do (and can).

More important than that though is to find joy in the little things and moments that cannot be bought. Mindfulness to the tiny little victories and happy moments of each days. Smiling at people and enjoying when they smile back, that sort of thing. It's just too easy to get lost in the rhythm, and the material level of things... while the really precious stuff all lies outside it!

Julia Thu, Oct 10th 2013 @ 11:50am

Suzy's blog is uplifting and makes the very point you make in your second paragraph..less is more. She is trying very successfully to make us feel better today! Most of us get a buzz from buying things and visiting charity shops is one of the least stressful things we can do. I think it takes a very strong will which you obviously have..well done!... to resist the temptation of buying clothes etc nowadays but often the elation of buying something new in a bright sparkly shop (or bright sparkly internet site) quickly disappears when you get it home and look again at the price tag, try it on and think do I really like this (let alone need it). So buying from charity shops is one way of satisfying the urge to consume but with loads of benefits and feel good factors. Suzy puts it well and her blog is a clever way of making us feel good about ourselves.

JD Thu, Oct 10th 2013 @ 12:24pm

I agree Suzy. Make Do 'n' Mend and thriftiness are great ways of boosting our mood and helping the world at the same time. It means we consume less, ban the generic (I HATE generic) and say no to the fickle fashion industry and exploitative shops that sell cheap fare at the expensive cost of exploitation. I too only shop at second hand shops. It's thrilling isn't it?
I once loved a now famous high street name. I felt she was the mother or a pioneer of make do 'n' mend, alas now she is simply another designer label herself. It depresses me. Much better to learn how to sew ourselves, clothes swap, up-cycle, recycle, make our own gifts and use our own imagination in creating our own home or dress style.
I raise my £1 second hand, delicate&pretty china cup to thriftiness! Hooooraahhhh!

Anonymous Thu, Oct 10th 2013 @ 3:24pm

You've completely missed the point "Anonymous". The blog is centred on "thriftiness" if you've noticed. Definitely not to be confused with materialism and an insatiable desire for goods. If you've noticed or read any of Suzy's blogs before she of all people highlights "mindfulness" in the everyday affairs of life particularly in human relationships and how we can enrich them. Please read blogs like this in their proper context!

Anonymous Thu, Oct 10th 2013 @ 5:20pm

There's nothing quite like a rummage through a good charity shop to see what you might find. I love the element of surprise. Yesterday I acquired a brand new neck tie with the label still attached for £4! It would retail in the store where it was originally bought for about 5 times the amount I paid. Thrift is the way forward!

Anonymous Thu, Oct 10th 2013 @ 5:49pm

"Whatever thrift is, it is not avarice. Avarice is not generous; and, after all, it is the thrifty people who are generous" ~ Lord Rosebery.
How true these words are!

Anonymous Thu, Oct 10th 2013 @ 6:28pm

Suzy, you're making a lot of sense here with your blog. Thriftiness, along with the likes of self control and modesty, will, in the long run, surely be a contributing factor to good mental health and wellbeing. Plus, as you said, thriftiness can actually force us to use our creative side with surprising results.

Anonymous Fri, Oct 11th 2013 @ 6:51am

I'm a different "Anonymous" to the original 11:30 am comment, and share some of her or his (paragraph 1) experience. I think the replies to the comment jumped to Suzy's defense unnecessarily (there was no attack on Suzy, just some of the ideas in this particular post), and unfairly invalidated the personal experience of the person commenting.
Thrift is great, but for some people, shopping in thrift shops can be a compulsive and/or unfulfilling way to seek a buzz that doesn't provide long-term satisfaction.

Julia Fri, Oct 11th 2013 @ 10:10am

I think you are right to post this. After I had submitted my post, I wondered if it was perhaps a bit unkind to the 11.30 am Anonymous. My post was a knee jerk reaction to hers, especially to her last paragraph which at the time irritated me for it's worthiness. I think however with Moodscope, one should be able to post knee jerk reactions (within reason of course and anyway the moderator wouldn't publish unacceptable comments). What we might post one day may indicate how we are feeling at the time, We will almost certainly feel differently another day. I think it's helpful to people with mental health issues to have the opportunity to express what we feel at the time in response to the blog or someone else's post. At the same time, I do think you were right to defend her and make us and me take a more measured view of her post.

Anonymous Fri, Oct 11th 2013 @ 10:27am

Yes I am a fan of charity shops too. I feel great in some of the clothes I bought in them, and part of that is remembering the price :-) I do get the less is more thing too, and try to buy only what I need even in charity shops. Avoids clutter issues too. I like to be thrifty in food shopping too - eg see if there is anything creative I can do with what's in the cupboard before heading for the shops, and if I do need to go to a supermarket I try to go at the time in the evening when they reduce prices on lots of products, and that way I can indulge my taste buds for pence.

Peter Fri, Oct 11th 2013 @ 2:23pm

Hi, I'm the "11:30 anonymous", how weird, I overlooked the chance to put in a name without logging in. Sorry. I'm a he, which might explain it a bit, especially that "strong will" - It's not that strong, I just really don't get much satisfaction or joy from shopping, especially not thrift shopping.

That was what I wanted to share, it was not meant as an attack. If it sounded like it, sorry - I've been a bit low lately so it's hard to come across positive...

Julia Fri, Oct 11th 2013 @ 4:04pm

Hi Peter
My response today was an apology to you actually after anonymous at 6.51am this morning quite rightly defended you and said that my post and Anonymous' at 3.24 (!) yesterday were unnecessarily harsh or words to that effect. But I am so glad you have posted again Peter as saying you felt low when posting made me think I am right that we should be allowed to express how we feel whether its a knee jerk reaction or more measured. If you read all the posts after yours, you will see that you are vindicated. See especially Anonymous' post at 615 am today. Hope you feel better today. I have had a few bad days this week too.

Anonymous Mon, Oct 14th 2013 @ 1:24am

Anonymous at 6:51 again, here.
It's nice to see that this is a civil, thoughtful and caring discussion. :) Sometimes it is hard just to hear someone's experience and not try to fix it or correct it. Thanks for posting your follow-on comments, Julia and Peter. May we all be safe and happy.

Julia Mon, Oct 14th 2013 @ 6:52pm

Thank you. I wonder why some of us want to fix or correct someone else's experience. I am guilty of this. I do it a lot. But thanks again. You have got me thinking.

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