Minimalistic Living: Saving Money and Staying Fashionable

I’m not sure if anyone else feels this way, but it is increasingly harder to resist those small meaningless purchases…especially when we are being bombarded with beautiful new items every day on social media. We make excuses for ourselves like, “I deserve it” or “I don’t have anything like this” … but, the fact of the matter is we don’t need it. More and more people these days are in debt — between student loans, bills, and the exorbitant amount we pay in housing costs…it seems impossible to keep a fashionable, fresh wardrobe and be financially responsible. For this reason, I listed few ways that you CAN save money with shopping and be more environmentally friendly in the process.

Shop your Local Consignment/Thrift Stores

I feel like this is a no-brainer, but thrift stores/consignment shops are a magical place. The first thing I did when I moved to CA was track down my local consignment shop, and I was not let down! Flashbacks Recycled Fashion located in Carlsbad, CA has everything you could think of including 60s dresses, band tees, designer shoes/bags, and tons of denim. You can find so many unique pieces for great prices, and you are giving life to a piece that someone else decided they didn’t need anymore. Gone are the days that thrift stores only had grandma clothes that smelled of must — everyday there are more and more modern consignment/thrift stores popping up all over the place. The best part is, is that you can actually make money at some of these stores by taking your used items in to be sold. Keep in mind that most shops will only take what they think will sell, so think about what season it is when you are taking your items in. For online consignment shops, check out places like Poshmark, ThredUp, and The Real Real. For brick-and-mortar, here are two notable and well-known consignment shops that you can check out:

Buffalo Exchange

You may have heard of Buffalo Exchange, as their name is synonymous with quality used clothing. For items that they are able to take, if they sell, you will receive 30% of the selling price in cash or 50% in store-credit. You can also have the money put on a ‘trade’ card for use at any Buffalo Exchange store across the country.

The leather jacket above was picked up from the Buffalo Exchange in Santa Monica, California.

Plato’s Closet

According to their website, “Plato’s Closet is recognized as the nation’s largest chain of teen and twenty something resale stores with nearly 500 store locations in North America.”

Plato’s Closet will actually give you cash right-away based off what they think the products are worth, so for some quick cash, Platos closet is the way to go.

To note, the main difference between a thrift store and consignment shop is that consignment shops will give you a percentage on items that you give them to sell, while thrift store take used clothing on a donation basis (Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc.). Both options sell clothes for much less then you would buy new.

Stop those impulsive purchases!

Impulsive purchases will briefly increase your dopamine levels and give you a quick feeling of satisfaction, but once that fades you are left with that same urge to buy something new – plus a new hole in your bank account. Stopping those impulsive purchases and really thinking about what you are purchasing will help cut down on those smaller purchases, so you can focus on quality pieces that will last. Fast fashion is fun, but it is just that, fast and not always the best investment as we will inevitably get bored of it, get rid of it and start the process over again…racking up the credit card bill with all of those smaller unsatisfying purchases.

One thing that I do to curb the craving of those impulsive purchases is making a deal with myself – If I still want an item after a month and it is still available, then I will get it. This gives me a lot of time to decide if it something I really need, or something I just wanted in the moment. Figure out what works best for you, and try your best to hold yourself accountable if you slip up and make an impulse purchase.

Even with a good system in place to keep myself accountable, I’ll admit that it is still hard sometimes for me to resist the urge to make impulse purchases. For example, last week I was agonizing over a purchase at Zara. That voice in the back of my head was telling me I really needed a new jacket for a wedding coming up next month, and the one at Zara was perfect for my outfit! Well, thanks to a bit of self-control, and the strategy mentioned above, I am proud to say I have not purchased it yet, and am instead checking my local consignment shops on the weekends to see if I can thrift something similar before purchasing new.

Capsule Wardrobe (live with less)

Honestly this is a subject that I will be dedicating its own post to because it is one of my favorites! In the words of Caroline Rector from Unfancy, a capsule wardrobe is “a mini wardrobe made up of really versatile pieces that you totally love to wear.” In her piece titled, How to Build a Capsule Wardrobe, Caroline discusses how 37 pieces is the ideal number of items for a capsule wardrobe. In my opinion, the number of pieces can vary, as some people may be able to live with less. But overall you want to get your wardrobe down to only pieces you love and want to wear. Also, by having a minimal wardrobe, you are spending less per year on clothing meaning that affording those more quality pieces won’t break the bank.

We all know that minimalism has become a trend, but I don’t think this one is going away anytime soon. The reason people like it so much is because many of us often realize that even with a closet full of clothing, we are reaching for the same items every single day. Taking that logic one step further, why not choose quality over quantity – have less material items, but higher quality that will last much longer.

Get store credit

First of all I have to say I am loving this trend of companies incentivizing customers to donate old clothing by giving them store credit or a voucher for any donated items. This is a great way to save a little money, because every dollar counts! I have listed below a few stores who are offering such deals:


Currently at H&M, you can bring in any used clothing items, no matter the brand, and they will give you a 15% Off certificate that can go toward your next in-store purchase. Here is a link to their website where they go over what happens to your donated clothing.

Rag and Bone

Rag and Bone has been a [proud] partner of Cotton’s Blue Jean Go GreenTM denim recycling program since 2017. Bring in any of your un-worn or used denim to a Rag and Bone store and receive 20% off your next purchase.

What happens to your denim after it is donated? According to their website, “It is reprocessed into cotton fibers which are re-purposed into denim insulation and set off to building efforts in communities around the country including over 40 Habitat for Humanity affiliates and over 15 civic-minded buildings.”

& Other Stories

& Other Stories will not only allow you to donate clothing, but also to bring back empty beauty product containers (from their beauty lines only). You will receive a voucher for 10% off your next purchase in exchange. I highly recommend checking out their website, where they explain what happens to the items that are recycled.

Some other stores that allow you donate clothing are Madewell, Levis, and North Face, but there are so many more! In the end thought, you have to figure out what works for you. You don’t have to have a huge wardrobe to be fashionable, less really is more, and always choose quality over quantity. If you have any other ideas, I would love to hear them, so comment down below!

You can also connect with me on Instagram or Twitter, @modernneturals.

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