Smart, Savvy, and Sustainable Shopping

As you may have gathered from my previous articles, I am a shopaholic.  Even if I have no money, I can’t help but scour the internet for deals at the online sample sales (seriously, check out Ideeli, it’s amazing).  And even though I can’t always buy sustainable products, I still try to buy in sustainable ways.

Here are my favorite shopping tips to don’t just save the environment, but they can also save you money.

Read on, my fellow “Frugalista” (thank you, Target.)

Shop in stores.  Preferably ones you can walk or carpool to.  Retailers get their shipments in bulk, which decreases the amount of packaging material used to deliver the products.  When you shop online, shipping costs (and all that wasted paper and cardboard) can add up quickly, so spare yourself and hit the local mall (with your reusable tote!). Be sure to try on before you buy so you can avoid the extra gas needed to return something to the store.

Look for local labels.  Try to buy from companies that are based in the your state to cut down on energy needed for transportation.  If that’s not possible, look for brands that produce their products within the United States.  American Apparel, C&C Cailfornia, Splendid, J.Crew, Lucky Jeans, Joe’s Jeans, True Religion, Juicy Couture, 7 For All Mankind, Citizens of Humanity, and Rock and Republic (just to name a few) all manufacture their clothing in the U.S.

Shop smart online.  If you’re going to shop online, be sure you do it in an ecologically responsible manner by using the following tips.

Buy in bulk. Wait until you have a large order before ordering online or combine with friends to save on the environmental and financial costs of shipping.

Ditch the rush order stress. Plan ahead so you don’t have to choose expedited shipping over standard shipping rates.  This also gives the Postal Service a chance to fill up their trucks with packages before shipping them out.  More packages = fewer cross-country trips = a happy planet.

Choose your delivery address wisely. Be sure to have your packages delivered to a convenient address.  If you have them delivered to your apartment, for example, be sure that your roommates will be around to pick it up for you.  If they aren’t available, leave a note on the door telling the postman that he can just leave the package on the doorstep without a signature.  This avoids the annoying and fuel-guzzling trips back and forth to the Post Office.

Switch to Paperless Statements. Once all your earth-friendly shopping is done, you’re going to have to pay that credit card bill. But make Mother Earth proud and do it all online. No more 5-page bills coming to you in the mail. No more wasted paper (and money!) on mailing that check back to the company. It’s the greenest way to pay.

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