Thursday, January 14, 2010


I want to take a minute to write on a couple of things that are semi-related to this blog's topic:

A couple of my unofficial resolutions this year are to be a more conscious consumer and to be more environmentally friendly in my daily life...
I find that it is often hard to balance being frugal with these aforementioned goals. Yeah, sometimes you can find a deal on an organic food or whatnot, but it is not usually often enough to make buying organic/fair trade/etc. a viable option for day-to-day purchases. So I frequently end up in a situation where I have to choose between my money and my conscience. This is never fun. So I am hoping to make it a goal of mine these year to explore the line between the worlds of having MORE crap vs. having QUALITY crap. The way I see it (sometimes) is I could go to Old Navy and spend $100 and get like 10 things (this is with combining sales/clearance and coupons of course), or I could buy from either a local business (i.e. Park + Vine) or an online shop that sells items which take into account environmental sustainability, working conditions, potentially harmful chemical use, activism, philanthropy, etc, etc. and only get a few things for that same $100; and leave without a guilty conscience. You may be wondering if I really, truly do deal with a moral dilemma or remorse after buying stuff from big chains, or am I just saying that to make myself sound good. I am here to tell you that I sincerely do have constant inner turmoil over purchase decisions I make on a daily basis. Of course I know that I can never be perfect and only buy things which do not harm anyone (or the planet) in any way at all, but I do think I can make an effort to be a little better and just a little more thoughtful about where and how I spend my valuable consumer dollars. I know I can make my conscience happier if I can just get over my wanting more more more and learn to appreciate the value of only having SOME, some really fantastic things which I bought after much forethought about the ethical issues surrounding said things.
Anyways, this is turning into a rant, but my point is that I want to try to be a more conscious consumer w/o putting my family into the poorhouse, and therefore, my couponing ways will need to be re-evaluated to some extent. Will I still be looking for bargains? Of course. But I will be looking for bargains in a different way, taking into account more criteria than before. Is that pair of Target shoes I bought off the clearance rack really a bargain if you can't stop thinking about the poverty-stricken sweat-shop workers (possibly children) who toiled away at every stitch, or the environmental impact of the rubber on the soles, or the chemicals being leached by the "imitation upper" or whatever.... I just don't know anymore...
Does this mean I will never buy anything from Target again. Most likely not. But I will be thinking twice before I do it. Do I really NEED this? Is there a better option out there? Will it be that much more expensive? Is it worth it? ETC>
So I'm thinking I will start making posts about the things I buy here and there and try to sort through the decision process for particular purchases. This is more for me than anything, but hopefully it will be interesting to someone else out there as well. But no biggie, I don't think much of anyone reads this blog anyways ;D
But if anyone is out there, you are welcome to follow along on my journey to more conscious consumerism.
And I will still post some deals too, don't worry.

(Sorry if this post is disjointed, I am sleep-deprived and feeling it at the moment)


  1. Nice post! It is a very noble path you are traversing.

    A couple of months back I got very overwhelmed with this. As a tiny example, I thought that buying organic produce was better for everyone--farmers, planet, us. And then I read something about a lot of the farmers not being in countries that follow fair trade practices and then something else about the carbon footprint caused by shipping said organic produce.... It was enough to make me seriously confused. Do you make purchases that help the planet? Do you make purchases that help the producers? Do you make purchases that help you? It's a see-saw. What I've ended up with is a mish-mash of products that are either economical for my family or natural, because sometimes I feel like the only things you can trust are price tags and ingredient lists, and unless you are buying coffee and bananas, fair trade products aren't always apparent.

    So! My point? Hope is renewed and any tips you find and share will be appreciated!

  2. I have the same issues constantly. I often feel like you're damned if you do and damned if you don't. But all we can do is try to make informed choices using the information that is available to us. It's hard to weigh the pros and cons a lot of times though...I feel your pain there.
    I figure the effort is still commendable even if you end up making the "wrong" choice. Most people don't even THINK about where products come from and what is in them.
    The best thing I know to do is try to search out companies that have a consistently good track record and support them. A lot of it comes down to a game of trust b/c there is no way you can look into every single thing a company does at every single level of production. You just have to hope that the ones you choose to support are true to their claims.
    I have a huge dilemma with the sweat-shop issue. I really wish someone could just tell me what is the best plan of action on this front....