Friday 5: Ways to be Thrifty and Fabulous this Spring!

Today’s Friday 5 comes from Jessica Cohen, our new contributor and a senior at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA, where she double-majors in political science and Spanish. Jessica is an avid writer, and her poetry and essays focus on examinations of the human condition, the intricacies of life, and the fulfillment of human happiness. Through her writing, hopes to evoke introspection and self-reflection. Read more of her writing at Who Knows When What.

 

With the spring season comes warmer weather, newly sprouted flowers and fresh air. Vibrant forms of life bloom around us as the earth restores itself after a harsh, sometimes unforgiving winter. This season seems to be nostalgically regarded by most as one that harbors a sentiment of positive change, cleansing and renewal. So, what better time of year is there to incorporate some new, positive habits into your life than this reinvigorating season? Here are some tips to provide ways for you to incorporate both thrift and fabulousness into your life this spring season. They will not only leave some extra bucks in your pocket, but are great for both your health and the health of the planet.

lunch

Pack your lunches.

On the weekends, or when I have some extra time during the week, I try to make large batches of some of the meals that I love. This way, I can pack them and bring them to work and school for lunch throughout this week. This thrifty method not only leaves some extra money in my bank account to enjoy on something other than over-priced and sub-par meals, but also ensures that I always eat a lunch that I enjoy with my own tastes in mind. I also make sure I keep fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurts, and healthy snacks in my kitchen so that I can throw them into my (grown-up) lunch box. For extra thriftiness, use re-usable containers to store your food instead of disposable bags, wash and re-useplastic bags, and bring a tote bag to the grocery store to gather all of your goodies for the week. For those of you who say you don’t have time to pack lunch, here is a great source that teaches you how to pack lunch in five minutes flat.

 

thriftShop at thrift shops and consignment stores.

I recently fell in my love with my neighborhood Goodwill store. If I had known earlier how many awesome things I can buy so cheaply I would have not spent so much money buying mass-produced products at over-priced chain stores. While I still prefer to purchase some things at those stores, namely, shoes and pants (the idea of wearing someone’s pre-owned shoes and pants still kind of irks me a little), you can find extremely unique and incredible items at a thrift or consignment store. The best part about these items, beside the fact that they save you money and that recycled goods are uber-environmental, they also have a story! The stories behind these items can be very rich: that new handbag permits you to carry a little slice of life and history with you everywhere you go! Cool, right? If you’d like to find local thrift shops in your area, check out this site, which is a national thrift store directory. While you’re ‘poppin’ tags,’ you can even listen to Macklemore’s song “Thrift Shop” to enhance the already awesome experience of bargain hunting.

 

donateLoosen your load.

Get a big, black garbage bag and fill it! With what, you ask? Your old crap that you no longer use. I know you’ve never worn that polka-dotted sweater from Aunt Mildred, so either sell it or donate it to someone who would love it and really needs it! Donating your clothes to a local organization such as Goodwill, creates a whole culture of thriftiness, as well as a better environment for us all. We do not need to constantly be producing shiny, new goods when there are already so many in existence, many of which are still in perfectly good condition and will last someone else many more years to come. Although relinquishing some of your things may sound less than appealing to you, you may enjoy the idea of freeing up extra space and clutter (a clearer space often leads to a clearer mind), and the fact that you can make some extra money to spend elsewhere, that is, if you decide to sell.

 

unplug

Unplug ‘em and turn ‘em off when you’re not around.

Perhaps the weeks leading up to spring are still a bit chilly where you live. Well, there’s still no need to leave the heat on when you are not home during the day. In fact, just turning down the heat when you aren’t home will have an immensely prosperous impact on your wallet, and if you care about it, a positive impact on the world we live in, too! If your home was too chilly this winter and your gas bill too high, consider a window-sealing project this spring while the sunny, fragrant air gives you the energy and inspiration to do so. Turn off power strips and unplug appliances and electronics that are seldom used or that use a lot of energy, and turn off the lights when you are no longer in the room. During the summer, turn off the AC or central air when you are not around or when you don’t really need it.

 

grow2

Grow instead of Spend.

If you have any green space where you live, why not grow some fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs this spring? If you don’t have access to some fertile earth, don’t fear! You can always fasten a window-box fixture outside of your windows or even indoors, allowing you to taste the deliciously natural wonders of homegrown food; here’s a cool website to get you started. Additionally, if growing at home is not an option for you, you could check out your local community garden.