One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to spend my money as ethically and responsibly as possible. My goal is to purchase as much of my clothing as ethically as possible. My definition for “ethically purchased clothes” is two fold:
- any clothing item produced in a manner that uses natural, non-toxic, ethically harvested, and fairly constructed materials. Basically, anything made by fairly paid people out of natural, safe materials.
- anything bought second-hand
I have about 130 items of clothing. I’m including everything that I wear on my body. Out of those items, about 49% were produced and/or purchased ethically. I would like to be in the 70-80% range at some point. I don’t think 100% is realistic for me. Somethings are just not reasonably able to be purchased ethically and I can’t always find something I need in my size from secondhand places.
I’m doing this because I want to honor God with my money more and more. I’m not all the way there yet, but my clothing choices have been a great start. It’s hard for me to knowingly buy clothes that were produced in a way that hurts people and the rest of creation. Sometimes I can’t avoid it, but when I can, I do. This means I buy much of my clothes second-hand. I’ve found that this is way more fun then buying brand new. If you know what to look for, you can buy premium quality items for a fraction of the price. For instance, I found a pair of very lightly worn black engineer books that retail at $329 for only $37! In my size, in the color I wanted, from the brand I wanted.
However, somethings like socks and undies you can’t buy second-hand. Buying things that I can’t (or don’t) want to buy secondhand usually means spending more. But it’s totally worth it. I just buy less things at once and eventually I will be able to replace what I have with more ethically purchased items. While I am concerned about saving money and paying off debt, I don’t want that to mean that I buy the cheapest thing available because at this point in history, that means it’s made by poorly treated workers in crummy facilities. That’s where my money goes. I don’t like that at all. So, I’m doing my best to change my spending habits and it has turned out to be fun and has saved me money.