Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Recent purchase recap

I'm always amused by the way irony pops up in my life.  I'll make a decision to attempt to make fewer, but more ethical, purchases and then suddenly have a list of items I need to replace or simply acquire.  I think I still shop less than most people but here is a quick recap of the non-grocery items I've purchased since November 26th:

  • 3 pairs of black tights (for use with uniform), 2 plain white Ts and 2 plain shirts with 3/4 length sleeves - all from American Apparel (hate their advertising and corporate culture but their manufacturing is done in the US).
  • mini-Christmas tree and stocking holder - purchased secondhand, not exactly a minimalist purchase but I caved and wanted holiday decor.  
  • serving tray & bowl, pitcher, 4 tumblers, salt shaker, cashmere sweater, half roll of wrapping paper - purchased secondhand, sweater will be hacked for an ugly sweater party then reused in my regular wardrobe, the kitchen items replaced items that broke in my move or that were needed when I planned a dinner party larger than what my place settings could cover off
  • Teflon fry pan and oven thermometer - NOT an ethical purchase but my sister had requested a new frying pan for Christmas and I had a gift card to use at Winners/Homesense.  She's very brand loyal so buying a brand she wasn't familiar with would have upset her (she would feel like I was being cheap) and I needed the thermometer for my oven which is really and truly having some temperature issues and will, apparently, require some kind of repair.
  • pair of black Madewell ponte pants and chambray button down shirt - purchased secondhand as I needed another pair of pants and have been looking for a chambray shirt for awhile.
Exciting?  Not really.  Looking at my list I even feel like I've done way more shopping than I usually do but with my weight fluctuations and items that didn't survive the cross country move, I suppose its bound to happen, no matter how long I put it off.

This experiment will be interesting moving forward as, frankly, my budget is ridiculously tight now that I live in Calgary and making more ethical choices when purchasing new items isn't cheap because there are higher labour, material and manufacturing costs to consider.  It looks like I'll have to try to stick to secondhand shopping as often as possible which doesn't really do much to support local or ethical companies but at least is a better choice for the planet by stepping out of the supply-demand production cycle and keeping usable goods out of landfills.

I'm on-call quite a bit from now into the New Year so I might be blogging much but I'll try to get back on that wagon in 2016.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A new take on shopping

Anyone who knows me IRL or who has read through some of my previous posts know that I'm a pretty big fan of thrift store shopping.  This has usually been because I could cover my needs by buying clothing/goods that someone else decided they didn't like/need and save money at the same time.  Yeah, I can be a cheap mofo but how else do you think I managed to buy a house and do all sorts of renos on a flight attendant salary?!

I decided to up the ante by trying to choose more ethical sources for any new purchases I do make.  "Ethical" is a tricky term and I have to admit, I'm not as hardcore as some of the ethical consumers I've found online.   Since about mid-November, I've been trying to make sure my purchases are more responsible by either being secondhand (so its outside of the usual supply-demand cycle that drives manufacturing) or being a better choice either environmentally and/or through labour and manufacturing practices.

This has not proven to be a cheap decision but I'll do what I can, when I can.

I thought I'd post some pics of an example of how this new take on shopping has affected my choices.  I had been debating getting some Blundstone boots (retail at about $200).  These are the (similar style) Steve Madden brand Chelsea boots I found at Feisty Consignment, a cute little consignment store in my neighbourhood.  Yes, they needed a good polishing and to have some new rubbery-sole-thingies put on but a) they're secondhand so buying them keeps them out of the landfill until they are truly beyond repair and b) even after repairs, they came to less than half of what a new pair of Blundstones would cost me.  They've already gotten some use by their first owner so they likely won't last as long as a new pair of shoes but I still think I've made the right choice.  I'm just bummed that I can't wear them as often as I'd like due to it being winter...

I'm not sure how to get the pics all on one line but the lower right picture is after polish/repair.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

I moved to Calgary!!

It's been a difficult year, filled with personal change, renovations, selling my house, buying a condo, selling/donating almost all of my personal possessions and then moving across the country.  Now I'm in a new city and having to settle in/make new friends.

The move definitely cemented my minimalist beliefs.  I went from about 1600 sq ft of living space to 740 sq ft of living space (plus a small storage shed, probably about 25 sq ft).  I got rid of a lot of clothes I was hoping to fit into again one day and a lot of items that I simply held onto because I had the space to store them in my home in Ontario.  There is definitely not a lot of clutter at my new place.

The move has meant a significant change in my income, about $25k less a year.  Crazy, right?  I'm currently only working one job and my schedule at my new base involves fewer hours so I'm having to be really strict with my finances right now.  2016 will involve some serious decisions about having to increase my income.  I'll either have to go back to working 2 jobs or by taking a demotion so that I earn less per hour but have the opportunity to work more hours with a better schedule.  Right now, I'm trying to get by on what I earn and focus on making connections with people here in Calgary.

I'm attempting to maintain my minimalist lifestyle and also be a more ethical consumer.  I'll try to keep you updated on the challenges and progress I make.