Under-consumption is More In-Style Than Ever!

Frugality is all about having choices, right?  With millions of people looking for ways to save money in tough times, a growing number of people have turned to resale shops and thrift stores to find their clothes, furniture and household goods.  Statistically about 20% of people shop in thrift stores regularly, compared with about 14% in 2008.

The fashion-conscious set is more comfy in the thrift store setting now since place like Goodwill and even local church-affiliated nonprofits are now likely to boast racks organized by color and size, as well as (surprisingly!) newer, seldom-worn clothes. Thrift shoppers these days are reaping the benefits of “overconsumption”– donations often come directly from the stuffed closets of the rich.

Since its start in 1902, Goodwill Industries has expanded into 2,700 stores in 15 countries, said Jim Gibbons, CEO and president of Goodwill. The total donated goods revenue for
the Goodwill network is more than $3 billion, he said.  Shoppers are also flocking to The Salvation Army’s more than 600 stores. In the last five years, there has been about a 4% increase in sales. There is expected to be a 1.5% rise in sales this year compared with 2011, said Maj. Mark Nelson, secretary for business at the company.

At some point during the recession and its lingering aftermath, Gen Y, the youth demographic burdened with huge student loans and an awful job market, realized that perhaps paying $30 for a new T-shirt at Gap was unwise. It certainly was not sustainable. Young shoppers may have first turned to thrift stores out of necessity or desperation, but by now, they’re more likely to view secondhand shopping as sensible—even cool.

Read more: http://moneyland.time.com/2012/07/10/the-thrift-store-not-just-for-penny-pinching-grandmas-anymore/#ixzz29Wh67JLH

Recycled Handbags. “New” to me!

Are you feeling a little short on money? Feeling bored with what you see in your closet every morning? Tired of carrying that same boring handbag?

20121001-224416.jpg

Hello Everyone! Believe me, I was feeling the exact same way– completely tired of everything in my closet. And especially bored with the handbag I’ve been carrying every single day for the past 3 months. It was my lucky day last Friday when I went to my mailbox and found a huge box filled with handbags— from my sister.  (Maybe she was reading my mind!?)

This gives a whole new meaning to the slogan “shopping in your own closet.” Pictured above is a cute Kate Spade bag with red handles which will be perfect to use on the weekend running errands. Its sturdy construction will hold up well for me since I tend to over-fill my handbag. (you guessed it, this is the one I’m using now)

Pictured below is a dark blue leather handbag from Banana Republic. This one should work well with jeans and sweaters in the Fall.  I usually like something a little more structured but since this one is a freebie I’m willing to think outside the box and give the “unstructured” look a try.

20121001-224429.jpg

Passing things on we don’t use any longer is a great way to reduce, re-use and re-cycle.  Whether we pass items on to friends, family or co-workers it doesn’t matter.  Maybe that spare handbag gathering dust in your closet could be a treasure for someone you know.

Anyone else out there sharing clothes? Handbags? Furniture?  Let me know!

How to Start Living in a Tiny House

How to Start Living in a Tiny House

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Living in a house smaller than some people’s walk-in closets may not be for everyone, but those who are able to do so reap many benefits for themselves and for the world around them. Here are some tips for choosing the best type of small house for you and how to simplify your life so living in a small house is enjoyable and not confining.

Steps

  1. Do your research. There are many types of tiny homes, from as small as 9 square feet up to 837 square feet. Look at the designs, which range from traditional to ultra-modern in design. Some incorporate off-the-grid designs like solar/wind power, rainwater collection, and composting toilets.
  2. Decide what you need from your dwelling and what you want from your dwelling. Most people need a comfortable, dry, quiet place to sleep; a clean place to perform personal hygiene (toilet, shower); a comfortable place to sit or lie down during the day; a place to store, prepare, and eat food for the day. You may want other creature comforts such as long-term refrigerated food storage, a clothes washer and dryer etc. But think of combining these appliances in one machine. Do you really need a dryer or could you dry your clothes outside?
  3. Look at the benefits of “living small:” less space to clean; less pack-ratting of unneeded clothes, broken appliances, etc.; lower energy bills and a greener environmental footprint; fresher food that is purchased, caught, or harvested on a more daily basis; more time available for outdoor activities and entertaining; no need to sell your home when you relocate (if your tiny home is towable).
  4. Realize that small houses cost more per square feet than large houses. Designing for smaller areas is more complex, as items such as built-in furniture have to be custom made to take advantage of all the space. Compact appliances sometimes cost much more than full sized appliances. If you are designing or building your own home on a trailer bed, you need to take plumbing (grey water and black water storage and disposal) into consideration.
  5. Decide if you will build your own home from plans, or if you will buy an already made home new, or if you will buy a used home. There are also “kits” available which come with all or most of the supplies for building the house, along with instructions. The cheapest option for small living is to buy a well-maintained used RV or travel trailer. Craigslist usually will have several listings under $5000. You get the advantage of having something already designed and constructed, but you have the disadvantage of not being able to fully customize your home to your needs and wants.
  6. Pare down your belongings: we spend about 80% of our time wearing 20% of the clothes we own, so by getting rid of most of that wasted 80%, your life becomes immediately simpler: less laundry and less indecision about what to wear that day. Instead of having 3 TVs, 2 computers, a VCR, DVD, Blu-Ray, and 3 different game stations, reduce to one computer–transfer your movies to a hard drive and a flat screen monitor can double as a TV. A laptop with a TV tuner is even more energy efficient.
  7. Be creative about storage and multi-function furniture: a bed platform could have clothing storage drawers underneath. If you make a built-in sofa (without a bed) you can use the space underneath to store lots of things. A table can be made with shelves for storage underneath the table surface. Or you could design a table that folds out of the wall, then folds up and down to become a bed. Use broad, deep shelves (including built-in) and drawers, and wall and ceiling mounted items, to minimize the proportion of wasted space above, below, and around the edges of items (due to packing geometry or falling-off-the-edge risk). Consider metal furniture to reduce the amount of space consumed by the furniture itself.

Tips

  • Don’t try to cram too much stuff into your small home–it will make it appear very cluttered. This goes double for furniture: a full size sofa, a king size bed, a 6-person dinette and a large Club chair or reclining lounger won’t leave a lot of space for you to walk around. An armless sofa, double-size or queen-size bed in a loft, and a folding table with 2 folding chairs that would allow you to seat 4 for dinner (using the sofa as seating) is more reasonable.
  • Build/design for your needs and prioritize your wants and add them one-by-one to the house until it is the perfect balance of desires and space.
  • To “test drive” tiny house living, you can rent an RV for a limited period of time (like six months) and get a feel for what you need – and don’t need – in terms of space.

Warnings

  • There is a substantial investment involved in building or buying a tiny home. Be sure you are physically and mentally prepared.
  • Check local zoning codes for restrictions on minimum room size and RV/manufactured housing on residential lots. Many codes restrict houses to at least one room of 120 square feet and other rooms of a minimum 70 square feet. Some require the house to be built on a minimum percentage of the lot. You may be able to get exceptions granted to you, but be aware that many communities see small houses as something that depresses property values. Other communities see well-built smaller houses as something good for their infrastructure–less strain on the electric, sewer, and fresh water systems–and welcome them.
  • Not everyone will share your enthusiasm for living small. They will think you to be a little crazy to live full-time in something that they would consider living in only for one or two weeks per year at the most. If you are dating or married, be sure you and your partner are in full agreement on the subject of small living. If you are planning to have kids, be sure you know what will happen to your house at that time: will you build another small house and connect them together, or will you build a brand new house?
  • Used RVs and manufactured housing are prone to water leaks, so check for any if you choose to buy something pre-owned. If you design or build your own house, be sure to pay attention for potentially damaging water leaks.

Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Start Living in a Tiny House. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

Creative Ways to Downsize Your Life

Downsizing your life may bring you surprising benefits including more personal time and greater happiness. There is much you can do for little money without having to live like a pauper. The following suggestions are a good start towards downsizing your life:

  • Cancel pricey appointments & services. Take time to evaluate those expensive salon visits. Pick your poison–if getting your hair done is non-negotiable then how about learning how to do the manicure and pedicure at home?
  • Ditch the dry cleaning. Get rid of clothes that need to be dry cleaned, unless they are for a special occasion.
  • Cut back on extra activities. Giving those extra activities a break for a few months not only saves money but also reduces stress.
  • Reduce social obligations. Take a look at which friends bring the most to your life and which ones drain you emotionally and financially.
  • Buy second-hand. Many items can be purchased second-hand and are just as good as getting brand new.
  • Reuse. Before you throw anything away, stop and think about how you might re-purpose it. This habit will save you money, keep clutter in check and help the environment.
  • Make gifts. A handmade gift often means more to the receiver than one bought at a store.
  • Say no. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. It will only stress you out.
  • Family time. Learn to prioritize so you can spend time with the people you love every day. Have dinner, play games, exercise, or just sit down and chat.