My first thought when considering what to blog about for Barnardo’s, was that I could discuss a recent haul, or one of my brilliant and timeless finds. However, it soon became clear to me that what I should really be sharing is how, through the discovery of charity shops combined with an ever-declining bank balance, I overcame my urge to splurge.The problem of my insatiable need to spend really began when I first went to University in London. With minimal lecture time, I would find myself spending hours traipsing around Oxford street, spending my student loans and grants on all the wrong things; things which would ultimately end up unworn or on a car boot sale stall. I don’t know whether I was trying to fill a void, or whether I felt pressurised to live up to the style expectations people might have of a ‘Londoner,’ the type of fashionista I would see and envy so often. I knew then, as I know now, that my incessant shopping would not make me feel better. In fact, when faced with an every-growing overdraft the only thing I felt was the crippling guilt. But I could not stop.
Coinciding with this problem, and perhaps my saving grace, was a growing concern for the environment, which continued to deepen and exists more fervently today than ever. Because of this, I decided to fling off the ridiculous embarrassment of entering a charity shop in the same what that I would fling an overpriced piece of fast fashion onto the car boot pile. I immersed myself in a new world of sustainable fabrics, using what I already had, and most excitingly for me, thrifting. Similar to a ‘runner’s high,’ I had come to experience what I now call ‘the thrill of the thrift.’
Thrifting has become something that I do not only because it involves reducing waste, recycling clothes and helping to combat the environmental pressures of fast fashion, but also because it helps to keep my bank balance stable. My average haul has plummeted from £300 to £30. So not only is thrifting more eco-friendly but also more economical.
I now feel some sense of achievement; even though my journey has not reached an end, I know that I am on the right path (excuse the cliché). I can’t remember who said this, but someone once told me that ‘circles of influence’ and ‘circles of concern’ are very different things; we cannot carry the weight of the world’s problems on our shoulders, but we can influence those close to us. My concern is largely for the environment. I cannot single-handedly save the planet, but what I can do is influence my ‘circle.’ I can try to reach out to likeminded people, and hopefully inspire or motivate them to do the same. If you’d like to be a part of this circle, and perhaps I yours, head over to sustainable_steph on Instagram, where you might even find some Barnardo’s bargains and beauties, like those featured below!
Big thanks to Steph for guest blogging with us this week, we are feeling even more inspired to get charity shopping.