sustainability

Dress It Up

Dress-up_mini-2

Repurpose what’s already in your closet.

I used to buy outfits for special occasions only to find that after the party, I rarely used them. Before splurging for that upcoming wedding or “Dirty 30” bash, check out these tips to repurpose what’s already in your closet.

Solid Statement. Find solid-colored items with a nice cut and mix in key accessories. A casual jersey dress or a fitted tee and skirt can be elevated with statement pieces like a bold necklace, an elegant pair of shoes and a swanky clutch. For the gents, try some quirky socks, a fun watch or tie to stand out in a sea of suits.

Work Wear. The last thing we want to think about are our day jobs, but hear me out. Work attire is sexy! Pairing black pants with a silk blouse and stilettos or a wrap dress with chandelier earrings is boss. One day I’m going to wear pants to a wedding and it is going to be awesome.

The Understatement. There are a few pieces in my closet (a bridesmaid dress from my parents’ wedding, a vintage disco gown from this Austin gem) that seem a little too specific or over-the-top for most occasions. But, by turning down the volume on accessories and primping – think gladiator sandals, undone hair and minimal makeup, it totally works! I wore the bridesmaid dress to a fundraiser once and people loved the story behind it.

I find when I repurpose items from my closet, I have more fun. Perhaps I’m more comfortable in my tried and true clothes or maybe I’m secretly satisfied that nobody realizes they’re 10 years old.

P.S. I’m wearing an old homecoming dress in the photo on the right.

Unconscious Spending

By rethinking how we meet our basic needs, we can cut costs by $20,000 per year.

Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t those once in awhile splurges that drain our wallets most. If we take a clear look at how we spend money, the majority goes to what we consider essential such as eating out, driving everywhere, and being plugged in all the time. By reevaluating how we meet these basic needs, we can drastically reduce our spending.

Cook meals at home. The average American dines out 4-5 times per week and consumes mostly pre-packaged foods ($5-20 per meal). I shop at a fairly high-end market and spend $50 on groceries ($2.50 per meal) weekly. By cooking at home, we’re talking an average of $10,000 in savings per year and double or triple the amount if you spend more on dining out.

Unplug. Remember when we paid $20 for a landline? With an array of new electronic devices and services, our monthly bills have skyrocketed. Today many spend hundreds on phone and internet packages every month. By cutting back on electronic subscriptions and being more conscientious about our usage, we can significantly reduce our costs.

No unnecessary driving. Gas prices are on the rise and with insurance, car payments, repairs and maintenance, our dependence on motor vehicles is a huge drain. Even if you have a daily commute, there’s a lot of unnecessary driving that can be cut out. By walking, biking or taking public transportation just once a week, you can save $100 a month. By taking public transportation to work, you can save over $10,000 annually.

Financial freedom is key to creating a life centered around less work and focused on more fulfilling pursuits. By adjusting our daily habits and lessening our financial need, we can invest in those things that really matter.

Use it Up

A simple philosophy with big rewards. 

When I was young, I saved my favorite Hello Kitty school supplies and 20 years later I find them unused in their wrappers. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned the joy of using stuff up instead of saving it for the perfect moment.

Last night my pen ran out of ink and it made me happy as I thought of all the words I must have written to use up that ink in three short months. Except for toilet paper, there is no harm in waiting until you’ve finished something before restocking. This practice connects us to a better awareness of “need,” preventing excess and saving time, money and storage space.

Similar to the satisfaction of eating after hunger pangs, it will just be that much more satisfying. By adopting a mostly whole foods diet, we start the week off with a fridge packed with fresh produce and use everything up by the end of it. It really feels like an achievement to have an empty fridge at the end of the week. I remember all the healthy meals I cooked, the fresh foods we ate, and the fact that we didn’t waste any of it.

This is a simple philosophy with big rewards. It can be applied almost anywhere. Use up what you have before you get more of it.