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This weekend, I’m starting Second Hand September and saying no to brand new clothes for 30 days. If I do need something, I’ll head to a charity shop instead.
It’s an Oxfam project, with more details here if you’d like to join in: Second Hand September.
Have you ever thought about how often you buy new clothes? New outfits every week? Once in blue moon? Turns out our choices about what we buy, and where, hit much more than our wallets.
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Why take part in Second Hand September?
Environmental concerns, worries about working conditions, financial reasons, supporting charity shops – take your pick.
Since I was a kid, the price of cheap and cheerful clothing has plummeted. Fast fashion is bought and then binned. What a waste of resources! Production processes can also damage the environment, creating carbon emissions and harmful chemicals.
According to Oxfam:
- New clothes bought in the UK produce more carbon emissions per minute than driving a car around the world six times
- A whopping 11 million items of clothing end up in landfill every single week
Yet an Oxfam survey found that more than half of UK adults are not aware that fast fashion is damaging the environment.
Worries about working conditions
Every time I pick up a cheap T shirt, I worry about the working conditions required to sell it for so little, with reports about dangerous factories, long hours, pitiful wages and child workers.
I’m also taking part in Second Hand September from pure self interest. We could do with cutting back after our summer spending.
We’ve been away on a couple of fab holidays (to Corsica with Mark Warner*, more to follow, and to the Isle of Wight) and enjoyed other assorted outings, but it all adds up. We’ve also faced big bills preparing my daughter to start secondary school, from school uniform and shoes to stationery supplies.
I reckon many of us have more clothes than we really need. Back in January, I resolved to make the most of the clothes I already had, rather than buying more (What are your financial resolutions?).
I’ve looked back through my spending diary, and reckon I did pretty well in the first half of this year. Over six months I only forked out £32 on clothes for me. That included socks, tights, a £4.50 charity shop Planet jacket and a £9.50 charity shop Hobbs dress.
In July, I splashed out on a Seasalt jumper in a sale, which at £35.97 more than doubled my clothes spending for 2019. But August was the big one. I bought clothes for our holiday – shorts and a T shirt in sales, sunglasses from a supermarket, cut-price rash vest and surf shoes, plus a swimming costume at the airport. It added up to nearly £100.
So during September, I’m keen to save money by digging through my wardrobe, and sticking to charity shops for anything extra.
Supporting charity shops
I’m already a big fan of buying clothes from charity shops. It means I can buy better quality clothes for far less than full price, knowing the money goes to good causes. I’ve written before about some of my favourite finds in charity shops, such as my dresses from Hobbs, Précis, M&S and jacket from Caroline Charles. Plus buying second hand extends the use of scarce resources and cuts landfill.
Previous post: A cornucopia of charity shops
So for all these reasons, I’m excited to start Second Hand September. Save money, save the planet, support great causes – what’s not to like?
I’ll be posting my top tips on bagging bargains from charity shops. A bunch of other UK Money Bloggers are also taking part, so do look out for other posts on blogs and social media. Check out this podcast where I chatted to Andy from Be Clever with Your Cash and Hollie from Thrifty Mum all about Second Hand September:
Now – over to you. Could you take part in Second Hand September too? What’s the best bit of clothing you’ve bought from a charity shop?
*indicates an affiliate link, so anything you buy through it will help support the blog, as I will get a small commission at no cost to you. Many thanks!