Nowadays, Millenials and Gen Z more than ever are looking to shop ethically. Finding brands and companies to shop from at a reasonable price for college students while also being an ethical business can be difficult to do. Oftentimes, we either find an ethical brand or an inexpensive brand, but finding both qualities in one brand is not always an easy task. Knowing the key ways to shop ethically while on a college budget is a great way to start doing better for the world we live in while in college.
Do Your Research
First, knowing what shopping ethically truly means is important to bettering your shopping habits. Look up ways to better the environment and communities from your wallet. Retail brands that are selling cheap clothes that keep you coming back for more are typically the ones that are doing the most harm for not only the environment but also the people creating these clothes. Know what you are going to be spending most of your money on, and research what is harmful to us. Whether it is food, furniture, clothing, or small random purchases, being aware of what products cause harm to the world and what products don’t is important. Find companies and businesses that have a mission statement that you believe in, give back to the right areas, and have the values that you agree with, and support those brands.
Etsy And Big Cartel
Shopping on sites such as Etsy or Big Cartel is a quick way to find a variety of products made from small businesses. These websites are supporting individuals or small groups who are looking for a way to sell the individual products that they work hard on. Because so many small businesses rely on customer satisfaction and feedback, being an ethical small business is crucial for business owners. If you aren’t satisfied with what you are purchasing on these sites, it hurts the business owners. So, supporting small business owners on these websites will not only encourage them to be ethical brands but will help you to shop ethically.
Thrifting is one of the easiest and most commonly known ways to shop ethically. Second-hand clothing and other products are an instant way to ensure that you are shopping in an ethical manner. Even if you are buying from fast fashion brands while thrifting, these clothes are now second-hand and aren’t being manufactured again due to fast fashion stores. Thrift shops offer college students an easy way to shop on a budget because everything is used. Thrifting is also a great way to find vintage pieces or clothes you may not be able to find locally otherwise. Knowing that you’re doing your part by buying from second-hand stores is a reassuring feeling for college students looking to shop ethically on a budget.
So often we find furniture on the side of the road for free or people selling run-down furniture for a ridiculously low price, yet we typically don’t want to get our hands on these products. They either appear dirty, worn-out or just not worth the energy or money to buy. Yet, there are simple and super easy ways to not only clean these products but also reinvent them into something that fits your aesthetic. If you find an old couch for free or a really low-price, there are hacks to clean these items so you won’t feel like you’re using old, gross furniture. Put the couch cushions in the bathtub and fill it with water, some vinegar, and dish soap and let it be submerged in the water for a day. If you find a dresser or table, all you need are a few tools and some paint to revamp these items into something new!
Support Local Businesses
Supporting local businesses not only feels good but also encourages these business owners to continue practicing ethical standards in their stores. Without the right support from locals and tourists, some local businesses don’t make it that long in the industry. Local shops, boutiques, and restaurants are a dream come true for the owners to even be open, and when they have the support of their town, they will most likely look to do their best ethically. Although some may be overpriced for a college budget, if you do the right research ahead of time, you will be able to find amazing places to shop for a reasonable price. Know what you are not only looking for, but also what values you are looking for in a business, and then look around your town for the best options. Local businesses need the support of their town and surrounding neighborhoods, so by trying to be a more ethical consumer, you may also be helping someone’s personal dream come to life!
Poshmark And Depop
When looking for ways to buy clothing products ethically and at a cheap price, Poshmark and Depop are the best way to go. These two sites allow people to post lightly worn clothes, as well as vintage pieces, on their profile and sell them for cheaper than originally purchased. They range in all sizes and age groups, as well as a few home decor items and jewelry. These two apps ensure that the clothes you are buying will arrive to you still in good quality. Shopping from Poshmark and Depop is the best way to shop ethically while at home!
Reuse And Upcycle Old Clothes
If you are artistic, crafty, or just have some spare time you want to fill, upcycling old clothes is a great way to change your wardrobe. You can go all out and entirely redesign your clothes, or just add or remove a few details to make it more your style. You don’t have to be extremely creative or artistic to make this work for you, just a few supplies and a little determination!