I had a tweet from the MAD Blog Awards the other day, telling me that My Make Do and Mend Life had been nominated for one of their blogging awards, in the Best Thrifty Blog category.
I was naturally really excited to hear about it (thankyou if you nominated me!), and it’s always lovely to get nominated for any kind of award, but I also remember thinking “but my blog isn’t a thrifty blog”.
Or is it?
On the MAD Blog Awards categories page, the ‘blurb’ for the Best Thrifty Blog category states:
“When you’re a parent, every penny counts and these blogs are packed with tips on saving cash and making the most of what we have.”
So the ‘thrift’ element here certainly seems to be focussed on money saving, and this certainly seems to be the modern interpretation of all things thrifty.
But when this blog started and we spent our first official year Buying Nothing New, it was never with the intention of saving money. In the end, we did actually save over £2000 over the course of the year, so this was a lovely by-product, but for me, the focus has always been saving resources, rather than money.
So it was really interesting to discover that the Oxford English Dictionary definition for thrift is:
The quality of using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully
This fits much more with my mission for the blog (and for my life!).
For me, thrift is all about using all our resources carefully, and not wasting them. With the end goal of living more sustainably. Oh, and saving the world via Making Do and Mending, obvs 😉
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I don’t think that saving money is necessarily the same thing as thrift.
The definition above states that it is the quality of using money carefully and not wastefully. In our modern throwaway society, buying lots of cheap ‘disposable’ stuff, be that fast fashion, or cheap electronics, might save money, but often it’s done with very little thought. Things are bought on impulse precisely because they are cheap, and aren’t bought carefully. Effectively, we are often wasting our money when we buy cheap mass produced goods, as they are not designed to last. And before we know it, we will need a replacement.
This is not really thrifty, in any sense of the word.
As I see it, for the truly thrifty, by using resources more carefully, the almost inevitable consequence is that we save money at the same time.
I choose to save resources by making most of my purchases second-hand. 99% of the time, this is also cheaper than buying new, so is a win-win on the thrift stakes.
However, when I do choose to buy new, I now do so much more deliberately and consciously. And even though some of my choices are sometimes a more expensive initial outlay (everything from organic food to ethical shoes), I think that by being more aware of the impact of everything I buy, I buy less, but I buy better, and over time, I end up spending less.
I think the modern interpretation of thrift has drifted from what I see as it’s true meaning.
Being thrifty is sometimes seen as a negative thing, being ‘tight’ or ‘mean’, or not wanting to spend money.
I’d love to see a return to the dictionary definition. To thrift being a badge of honour (as it was during the Make Do and Mend era of WW2), that shows the world we are being thoughtful about how and what we consume, what we buy, and how we dispose of it.
So now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear your thoughts on thrift.
Is your primary focus saving money, or saving resources?
Or do you love the way that one seems to lead to the other.