Thursday, October 11, 2007

Buying used when you can afford new

One of my favorite bloggers, Mary at Owlhaven, tackles the ethics of shopping secondhand when one can technically afford to buy retail.

I'll say this: I would rather wear used clothes and give cash to organizations and people who need it, than give our surplus money to the mall and our used clothes to the needy.

17 comments:

Lu said...

Gosh! I had never thought about it. Umm? I can afford to buy from the mall. We wouldn't be able to get very much from regular stores. We have a small clothing budget for our growing family (almost 4 of us) and if I go to Goodwill, consignment stores and shop bargains at Target, I can do it! I'm just choosing to spend my money a different way!

Kate in NY said...

Strange . . . I am new to the world of blogging, and I really only read a couple regularly. There is yours (of course), and also "Owlhaven's." Oddly, I came across both of them through totally different channels - Mary's through my own Ethiopian adoption, and yours through a search for frugal-living blogs. I guess it really is a small blogosphere after all!

Kate

Anonymous said...

Meredith,

I like ... and agree with ... your philosophy.

Or, as the president of the charity that runs our little local thrift store said, "Some people come because they can't afford more. Some people shop here so that they can go to Europe on vacation. We're glad of both types."

Yesterday, I spent every spare minute going through and pruning my clothes. I was disappointed that a wonderful Talbot's suit was just a bad purchase for me. "What a waste," I thought. But then I had second thoughts. "Not a waste. The $10 I spent on this (2ndhand) suit went to a good cause."

Jora

nancyr said...

I agree with your philosophy. I can buy better quality clothing at Goodwill than I can afford to buy at any retail store. It makes me feel good to know that the money I spend there will help train and employ people who need a leg up in the world.
Even if we can afford to shop at Macys, shopping at Goodwill or other charity oriented thrift shops, does not take opportunity away from the "poorer" shoppers, as some have alleged. They get so many donations, that they have to have big sales to move out all of the donations. These sales seem to be happening at least twice a month where I live. My shopping at their regular price times, actually increases their profits!
If I have more money due to the fact that I buy second hand, I am able to give much more.

Jane said...

This year I have declared a Crafted, Thrifted or Regifted Christmas. I haven’t asked others in my family to join me, but I have declared that this is what I will do. I enjoy the crafting so where that works it is a gift to me as well as the recipient. I have found great cookbooks at thrift that are either timeless or so vintage they are priceless. I am sending my mother something that I recieved as a gift that I know will bring her far more pleasure than it does me. And, when I do need to buy, I am buying from Etsy and other online independent crafters. I just decided that I want to support someone other than the Gap this year. It’s not only about the money, because it may not end up being cheaper, but really about time and wanting to give meaningful origional gifts. With Gap and Target in every town, I want to do something different.

Cara said...

I'm with you. Plus if I can only go to a couple thrift stores I go to the ones run as a local ministry that I know first, before the bigger ones like SA and GW. I both retail and thrift, though.

nea said...

Not only that, but buying used is soooo much better for our environment!

Grace @ Rose Cottage Lane said...

I'm with you - I can get really nice stuff that I wouldn't be able to afford retail - like the beautiful, flawless 100% cashmere sweater I found yesterday for $2.99 at Goodwill. As I was looking through the blouses a very wealthy looking woman started chatting with me and said - you know I can afford whatever I want, but why pay so much when I get the same clothes here for so much cheaper and have more fun with my money? Very wise woman!

Missy said...

I agree with all the other commenters. I think another area where this gets to be messy is that we cannot judge what "afford" means from family to family. Is is only that we can "afford" to shop in certain stores without putting the purchase on the credit card, is it that we can afford something after we have given away a certain amount of money, or saved a certain amount? Too much of a gray area to decide for another person.

For us, my husband generally gets the new clothes, purchased at the rock bottom clearance racks-- his height, slight build, and need to wear business clothes have dictated this--- never had much luck second hand. My and the boys' clothes are a mixture of used and new sale items.

I have a hard time believing that those who buy used who could do otherwise deprive anyone else of anything-- our Goodwill stores here have to operate a clearance center with huge industrial bins of clothing, sold by the pound, to clear out their surplus inventory.

TJ said...

I work for a non-profit and almost always buy used clothes. The money used to purchase those clothes helps the organization far more than you could imagine. They depend on the donation and selling of clothes to support their programs. So not only are we being frugal, we are giving to a good cause at the same time. BTW: our local YWCA runs a boutique due to the large amount of clothes they receive. The women receiving service can pick out clothes, and for the rest of us there are still plenty of great work/church clothes left over.

Chrissy said...

I totally agree. Another factor for me is that it's harder to find modest clothing for my preteen daughters when we buy it new...

Misty said...

to a degree, i agree. my concern, however, is that the world is a community. Our $15 shirt contributes the salaries of the store employees, warehouse men, shippers, etc... our economy and employment rates are already near tragic... This is the concern I have, though with the comment made about modesty clothing, I do have to agree with.

Ruth said...

ahh-men!

Tammy said...

This line of reasoning is faulty, IMHO. =) I mean, why should anyone be forced to pay full price at posh stores, just because they *can*. When I was little, there was a couple in our church who were reportedly millionaires. The lady did ALL her clothes shopping at Goodwill.

Jane said...

I love the ability to purchase wonderful "deals" at second hand stores - and be able to use the money I saved - for other things my family needs - or church giving that we choose to participate in. I know our offerings would be a lot less on Sunday's if I was having to purchase all the children's clothing at the mall. (They also would only have a few items in their closets!!) :)

Owlhaven said...

Thanks for the mention!

Mary, mom to many

Charity Grace said...

Funny, I just posted about something similar...That is, the wonderful thrift store experience I had this week. Yes, I can technically afford to buy my kids clothes at Wal Mart, but why do that when I can save money getting them designer clothes at Goodwill? A no-brainer...And it makes my dollars go that much farther.