Monday, 7 February 2011

Thrifty 365 challenge

I posted this post or a version of it on sunday morning and it disappeared (so frustrating) here I am trying again. After not buying any RTW clothes last year I decided to join in with Sarah's thrifty 365 challenge.

She is something of a creative powerhouse, I don't know how she manages to do so many challenges and sewalongs along with the rest of her life! Her challenge gives me the chance to carry on with what I was already doing last year (ie not buying new RTW clothes) but to expand upon it in a coherent way and to examine further our spending habits as a family. Other bloggers are also doing this, such as Ms Scruffybadger and of course Ali is examining her consumerism and working out what to buy through her Fashion on the Ration challenge. Zoe has already sparked interestng debates in her comments section with her thought provoking articles.
Red dress for £2 - it is huge and currently a bit grubby but I think it could have good refashion potential. Look at the great button and pocket detailing.

Buying only second hand clothing or making my own clothes has quickly become the norm for me and it is odd how it has become just part of life for me not to buy new RTW clothing. Here in my cosy little corner of the internet it seems that lots of other people are in agreement but out in the Real World, not many of my friends and acquaintances do buy second hand.

Anyway, looking back at January I think I may have fallen into a pattern of buying too much even though it is second hand. The only bits that are not useful though are the teacups...they are just pretty.
So this is the spends for January,
  • Ikea duvet cover and pillow cases to use as fabric for sewing £4
  • It's the pink /red fabric under the teacups in the photo.

  • Two small wooden cd racks for childrens' story cds. £1 each
  • Green and white dress - on examination I think this one was home made.

  • Two 1960s/70s dresses £2 each - great for a refashion

  • One pair jeans for me £3 (worn a lot already)

  • Three canvas belts 50p each for bag making
  • One chess set £3 (Teaching T to play chess last year was a great, great, great idea but we had a cheap plastic set and have broken and lost several pieces)
  • Two teacups and saucers £1

The dresses and the tea cups came from a nearly new sale that is held once a month for a local church. I blogged about it in December, I saw the green and white dress in December, didn't buy it and then thought about it for the next month! The sale has clothing and household stuff, videos, toys, shoes and bags. One of the best bits about it is that when you come to pay, an elderly man with a big beard and not many teeth sizes up each purchase before declaring a price. An elderly lady writes all purchases down in pencil in a note book and does her sums. This is the kind of shopping environment I like! Plus some more elderly ladies are on hand to serve tea and cakes.

And just a note - have other UK residents noticed how charity shops are changing? Not all, but some are becoming so smart, with colour coded clothing displays, and increased prices. A friend of mine who is a veteran charity shopper thinks it is due in part to Mary Portas's BBC series, unfortunately I don't think you can see this anymore on the BBC iplayer but here is a related news article (and another interesting critique here) last year on revamping charity shops. I still like the junkier, more eccentric charity shops which have a distinct whiff about them.



  1. I know exactly what you mean when you say "Here in my cosy little corner of the internet it seems that lots of other people are in agreement but out in the Real World, not many of my friends and acquaintances do buy second hand." It almost feels like two separate worlds, don´t you think?

    And it is the same about the charity shops here as well, especially those in Stockholm are becoming more and more trendy and fancy. And at the same time, prices become ridiculous. But I guess, if this means that people spends more of their money in charity shops than at H&M(because it´s trendy), I am happy with that, I think. More money to charity, less to big corporations. One can always hope, anyway! :-)

  2. Haha! You must be the only person I know that likes the 'distinct whiff' of charity shops! I know some people who won't set foot in them as they don't want to appear poor. It's a sad state of affairs when people think that, but at least it leaves more goodies for people like us.

    There's a boutique Oxfam in Cardiff, everything is well presented and they showcase and sell clothes and accessories made by fashion students. So I think it's a good thing.

    Very jealous of that lovely white and blue dress, it's a lovely pattern, are you going to do anything to it?

  3. For a while, the only clothes shops in my local town were charity shops... but in the last couple of years a few boutiques have popped up and at the same time the charity shops have had a makeover. It doesn't feel like a positive thing to me at all. The charity shops have become as dull and predictable as the boutiques. I liked being able to rummage for treasures!

  4. Looking forward to seeing your re-fashions! I can't afford to shop in some of the charity shops now...can't wait for the car boots to start again! Hope you have a great week xxx

  5. You always seem to have such a respectable haul from your treasure hunting - it makes me think that I must try harder! I think it's brilliant that you have not bought ready to wear for over a year now & encouraging that it's become the way you do things now. I work most days in town, with plenty of charity shops, many of them still whiffy! I will try to get to them more! (ANd agree with Alex too- roll on carboot season!!)

  6. Mmmmm modern charity shops and their lack of whiff. Our favourite here in yokelville is a very eclectic mix and we have found all sorts of lovely useful things there but my previously favourite one in Oxford has gone from being a treasure trove to a place you might not want to go into because there is nowhere to hide.

    That red dress is a classic 70s with that collar and zip. I have a pattern for something similar but I'm not sure about a crotch to neckline zip and how safe that might be, if you know what I mean.....

    I was brought up a thrifty 365er by necessity and once you have lived this way for a while you can't go back. When I actually do have money I will have to be philanthropic with it because a gene in me won't let me spend it on new stuff!

  7. Congratulations! I have such fun following Sarah in her Thrifty 365 adventures, and I'm glad I get to follow you this year as well. Such great finds, great refashion potential. And you know I love the mantra, "Useful, Meaningful, Joyful."

    I hear you on getting too much, even if it's second hand, which is why I'm trying to set very low threshold prices for my own challenge. But guess what? My neighbor had a garage sale and was selling her sweaters for $2/each, some never worn. I came home with 6 ... Oh my. Do I need six? The challenge has got me obsessing about it (smart move? moment of weakness?), but it did prevent me from buying two skirts that I totally forgot about as soon as I left the shop.