How to shop ethically on a budget

We’ve become accustomed, addicted even to buying cheap, poorly made clothing. It’s all we’ve ever known. 

The world’s fast-paced mentality has taken a toll on the fashion industry. But we don’t usually see what goes on behind the scenes. We see cute, trendy, affordable (cheap. Dirt cheap) clothes that all the celebrities and influencers are promoting.

But behind the scenes companies are sourcing to third world countries, using unsafe buildings, underpaying and mistreating workers. 

It’s an endless cycle. Cheap clothes are made, bought, worn, thrown away and bought again. And if you’re here then I think you’re as sick of the cycle as I am.

However, the problem when deciding to shop ethically usually comes down to the price. Like I mentioned earlier, we are accustomed to buying cheap clothing so the switch can seem like a steep one. 

Ethical clothing is more expensive for a few reasons.

1. The people making your clothes are being treated fairly and are actually paid a fair living wage. Companies that charge so little for clothing can get away with it because they’re barely paying their employees. 

2. The material it’s made out of is sourced fairly and actually real material like cotton as opposed to polyester that’s made from plastic.

So you’re paying what clothing should cost. For real, quality items that were made responsibly with the planet and its people in mind. I can’t stress the importance of this enough. 

But you can read more about that in my what is slow fashion? Post.

I’m here to tell you that shopping ethically is not as expensive as you might think it is. There is a way to save money and still stick to your convictions about fashion. 

How to shop ethically on a budget:

1. Shift your mindset – We’re living in a fast pace world. A world that tells you what’s in style and what you have to wear to be cool. But if we keep making trend-driven purchases, we’re not only wasting our money but creating a wasteful, over-polluted world. 

I believe the first step is to always change your mindset. Stop seeing clothes as disposable items to throw out the minute a new trend comes along and start seeing your clothes as long-lasting pieces to clothe you for years. 

Instead of trend-driven purchases, aim for timeless, versatile pieces. 

2. Start by thrifting – I mean it when I say that 90%of my closet is thrifted. Thrifting is a great way to keep clothing out of the landfill and give it a new life. It’s also a great way to shop both ethically and sustainably on a budget. 

By shopping at a thrift store you’re not supporting fast fashion companies but rather a small business that more often than not gives back in some type of way. 

Read: The 7 benefits of shopping second hand

3. Do your research – Yes, ethical fashion is going to naturally be more expensive but there are a TON (and I do mean a ton) of affordable ethical clothing shops. It can take a little time and some digging on your part but it’s always worth it. Look for small brands as well, they’re often more on the affordable side.

To help you out I did make a list of affordable ethical clothing brands

4. Invest – It’s time to stop buying crap and start investing in pieces. Clothing is meant to be meaningful. Something to keep us warm and prevent us from being naked but it’s also a statement and a different one for each individual person.

We should be investing in well-made pieces that will last us for years and years. Not trend-driven pieces to toss in a month. This is a part of shifting your mindset. 

Like I said, I thrift most of my clothes and when I don’t I save up and invest in ethically made pieces. This makes them all the more special and rewarding. Like clothes are a treasure. 

how to shop ethically on a budget

Shopping ethically doesn’t have to break the bank or make your wallet cry, all it takes is a mindset shift and some determination.

I hope you found this post helpful if you did please don’t forget to share this post and follow me on Instagram for daily ethical fashion and low waste living! 


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