Thursday, September 2, 2010

Conscious Simple Living Benefits

The difference between simplicity and abject poverty. Prepare.

Suite 101.com: Living in a more frugal way helps simplify your life while assisting others quality of life. When we’re not overconsuming material luxuries, we help contribute to a better environment, decrease poverty, increase our self reliance and develop personal skills for survival if needed.

Other Benefits of Simple Living:

* You’re more likely to have the opportunity to slow down and take more time for your family and community when you’re not focused on how to consume and get more material possessions.

* By boycotting goods that are sold unethically, you help make a stand on the unfair treatment of people, animals and the environment. If everyone stopped purchasing from companies that allowed such things as child labor and testing on animals they would eventually be put out of business.

* Communities blossom when they become more involved in simple community living activities such as do it yourself projects, crafts and community gardens. By sharing new skills, people help each other become more self sufficient. Because they are consuming less material things, they can also acknowledge that they’re conscious of the effects that their consumptions have on others.

* By eliminating things such as processed food from your family’s diet, you can send a message to food industries that you support healthy living and don’t want to pay for unhealthy food. Another way to ensure you have healthy organic food is to grow your own fruit and vegetables. Participating in a community garden also helps others by contributing socially, environmentally and educationally.

Note: The Quakers called it Plainness, a way not to be conformed to the world. Dorothy Day, founder of the Catholic Worker, choosing Franciscan simplicity over a consumer society, never bought a new dress after her conversion.

10 Secrets of Thrift Store Shopping

Stretcher.com. Every time you turn on the television or pick up a newspaper, you are hit with more bad news about our economy. Even the wealthy are starting to pay more attention to saving money. As a result, more and more people are cutting coupons, forgoing luxury items and stepping into thrift store shopping for the first time.

Vintage, retro, gently used, call it what you like, but secondhand items can be twice as nice. It is catching on as well; Everyone from movie stars to thrifty Moms to wealthy individuals like to stretch their dollars. Here are ten tips to make your next thrift store shopping trip a success.

1. Watch for sales. You can't beat the prices, but a sale makes it irresistible. The best times for sales are at the end of the season when merchandise is changing. Secondhand stores frequently run bag sales. This is where you purchase a large bag for $2-$5 and stuff it as full as you can. Last year, our family saved a bundle on back-to-school clothes and work outfits for my job. We bagged $59 worth of clothing for only $3!

2. Furniture sales are common in the summer, when donations increase from garage sale leftovers. Stores often need to clear floor space, so larger items are priced to sell quickly. My daughter needed a new headboard so we scouted around and found a sturdy wooden one the exact size we needed for only $4. With just a little sanding, stain and paint, it is better than new.

3. Become familiar with your favorite thrift store. Some offer specials on different days of the week or once a month. For example, consider Tuesday Two-fers (Buy one, get one free) or Friday Freebies (Buy $10 and take one item free from a designated area). Ask if there is a set day of the week when new merchandise is brought in.

4. Collectors have known for years that their next find could be sitting on a thrift store shelf. I collect teapots and some of my best pieces came from secondhand shops for less than $5 each. Other treasures waiting for discovery include antique trunks, dolls, glassware, old irons, salt-and-pepper shakers, ceramics, coins and artifacts, to name just a few.

5. Thrift stores are a book lover's dream. My eleven-year-old daughter heads straight for the bookshelves. Books by her favorite author are only $.20 each! The popular Babysitter's Club books sell for $3.95 new. I'm happy to pay a few dollars to foster the joy of reading, a joy I share. I've found hard covers, bestsellers and out-of-print books for under $1.

6. My son likes the toy section. We usually find one or two for under $2. You can also find sporting goods, roller blades and bikes. When my son wanted a bike for trips to the lake, I found one in excellent condition for only $15.

7. You can clothe your whole family for a lot less at thrift stores. Look through the racks for play clothes, work outfits and school clothes. If possible, try on at the stores to assure a good fit. You can find wonderful clothes in like new condition to supplement your wardrobe; some even have the original tags still attached. Shoes, belts, scarves, jewelry, purses and ties are usually available as well at a fraction of the cost.

8. Be on the lookout for gift items. Coffee mugs, sweaters, a silk scarf, ceramics, a new purse, cookie tins and glassware are all terrific gifts I've found at thrift stores. You can find the perfect item for someone on your list this Christmas or for birthdays, weddings, graduation or other special occasions. The recipient won't know how little you spent, only how thoughtful your choice was.

9. No matter what you're purchasing, look it over carefully. Some secondhand stores have a no return policy.

10. Finally, give something back. At the end of your garage sale, donate your unsold items to your favorite thrift store. Or the next time you weed through your closet, take all your unwanted clothing to a local shelter. Many cities have a back-to-work program for women going into the workforce. Donate your barely worn business suits and professional attire. Call your local social services agency to locate these worthy charities.

--->See also, Practical Distributism for Hard (and All) Times

--->In Praise of Plump Grandmothers With Grey Hair in Homey Dresses

--->Detroit Community Gardens Grow Optimism: Not to Make Money, But to Sustain Lives

Sources Suite 101.com and stretcher.com; Oklahoma City Catholic Worker and everywhere

"And he said to them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consists not in the abundance of the things which he possesses..for that which is highly esteemed before men, is an abomination before God." ---Luke 12:15; 16:15

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