Money is a topic that most feel is taboo. We don’t talk about it often, yet most of us have lifetimes of healing that need to be done around it. I’ve been on my own path to healing with money beliefs for several years now. I grew up in a single parent household where my mom worked very hard to provide me everything I needed. I was always cared for, but it never felt easy. It wasn’t easy for my mom and it didn’t feel easy for me. I have a lot of gratitude for my mom and her work ethic because I learned how to survive on my own as a young adult through her example. When I began my career as a head hunter, I had to work long hours and push myself out of my comfort zone a lot. It paid off because I was very successful there. The crazy thing was the more money I earned, the more everything felt the same. I thought that if I had a certain amount of cash in savings, THEN I would feel safe and secure. Once I saved that amount, I realized that I actually needed more to feel a sense of financial security. Then, I hit that amount and the same lingering fear stayed around, this fear that the money would disappear. I realized that the actual amount of money I had/earned had absolutely no affect on my sense of financial security. I knew what had to change was my mindset around money. I began to talk to my therapist about it, read books about money, and do a lot of journaling about old money beliefs. It took a lot of years but I finally came to the understanding that money is energy and the better a relationship I had with it, the more financially secure I would feel. I didn’t become rich, I didn’t gain a huge windfall, I simply worked on my relationship with money. Through that work, I now feel financially free.
Why do I share this with you? I share this with you because I want you to understand that I know the feeling of not thinking there is enough. I understand why so many of us cut coupons and look for the best deal. I get the allure of a sale and getting that high end brand name for a fraction of the price. We ALL feel that. That’s why companies have sales. That is a marketing technique, they use sales to get you to buy stuff you don’t need. In an ideal setting, we would watch for sales on items we’ve had our eye on because we couldn’t afford it at full price. How many times have you bought things on sales just because they were cheap? How many times have you actually needed the item you bought at a discount? And to push it even further, how many times have you actually loved, cherished, and enjoyed that item you bought on sale?
The fashion industry is one of the largest sources of pollution in the world. The production of the synthetic fabrics cause pollution, the fact that the clothes do not last long and end up in landfills quickly cause pollution, and the fact that they do not break down at all cause pollution. People that make these clothes often do so in terrible conditions and can even die. Our desire to buy things cheaply is becoming a major problem for the world. Our desire to consume, and to consume a lot, is affecting our neighbors in terrible ways. The way we buy and consume things over the past few decades has changed dramatically. The effort to make products more accessible to the public has come at a huge cost. I don’t want to be an alarmist, contributing to eco anxiety that plagues many of us. I just want us to be aware of how buying things cheap are affecting the world around us.
How do these two things tie together? For me, I have had to make the decision that I want to buy less and when I do buy, I want it to be intentional. It wasn’t something I could do overnight, but it’s something I’ve been working towards for some time. Here are some tips for working towards letting go of money fears and using our money to create change in the world:
- When we work towards letting go of attachment to money and let go of the fear that our money is going to run out, we have the freedom and confidence to be more intentional with our money. We no longer look to it as a source of fulfillment
- When we are no longer fulfilled by buying things, we buy less. When we buy less, we have more money to support businesses with sustainable and ethical practice.
- When we buy products from companies with this mission, we support those businesses, help them grow, and more companies will begin implementing these same practices.
Progress, not perfection.
I am typing this blog post on a MAC computer and we know Apple isn’t exactly known for it’s ethical practices. I drive a suburban which isn’t known for it’s fuel efficiency. I bought a sweater from Loft at the end of last year. We don’t have to be perfect at this. What I do believe is that when we are aware of what we’re doing and how it’s affecting others, we can begin to make small changes. Maybe out of your next 5 purchase, at least one will be from a company with ethical practices. Or maybe you decide to buy fewer items this year in the hopes of consuming less. If all of us make little changes, it can have a big affect.
Some other things to know about the fashion industry. When you buy clothing online and return it, many stores throw those items away. When you buy an item online and return it in store, you are counting against that stores inventory. That is a problem because when those stores close, workers are losing jobs. What are some ways we can shop sustainably, even without buying from slow fashion brands?
- Take care of your clothing. Only wash it when it really needs it, don’t put it in the dryer, mend items that break, resole your shoes, etc.
- Shop from brick and mortar stores when you can.
- Measure yourself and use size charts when ordering clothing. You can sometimes even call and ask about an item to see if it runs big or small.
- Donate your clothing to people in need, resell your clothes on postmark, thredup, clothes mentor, etc.
- Shop second hand! I bought a NWT Madewell Jumpsuit on Postmark for $40!
- And in general, just buy things you need.
Having a capsule wardrobe is one way to shop less. I started using a wardrobe tracker thanks to Janna with This Moms Gonna Snap so I can keep track of the things I have, how much I wear them, and to help me when deciding if I need to add new items. Shopping used to be a past time for me. I loved finding clothing because I felt like it was going to make me pretty. And I always was looking to make myself look pretty so I could feel better about myself. What I have learned through these past couple of years of self love is that nothing I buy is going to fill that hole within me. That is something that I have to find through a spiritual practice. As I focus on loving myself, my need to buy things dissolves.
I hope this post was helpful for you. I think so many of us are going through this right now, and so I share my experience with you in the hopes that you can change your life for the better. And in the hopes that you won’t feel alone. You are worthy of expensive, nice clothes.