the TAO of CHANGE

a boots-on-the-ground view of the change that's a-foot

The Planet/Your Life – the luxury of thrift

By Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC

I’ve never thought of myself as thrifty. Even when I’ve had to adhere to a meager budget, I have maintained an aversion to cutting coupons or “one day only” sales. In all cases, I prefer to do without (or pay more at a small store) than to face the perils – and “steriles” of a mall. Usually, whatever I thought I wanted is quickly forgotten. I’ve had more than my share of “stuff” anyway and it started to hit me that the more I had, the more uncomfortable I felt. (Read No Impact Man post for more on this.)

I started to turn things around several years ago. I have come to acknowledge “less is more” and value things that have a little “history”, but some of the old-time quality as well, so I shop at thrift and vintage stores because it’s fun and interesting, not because it’s cheap. Granted, “cheap” helps when it comes time for another specific purchase, when I can use those saved dollars to choose a higher value on something else – like organic, Fair Trade and/or local goods.

Although we are, as a whole, addicted consumers, we are being pushed towards a more reasonable place. “Thrifty” is morphing into a way of life that is not only helping the planet, but is packed with meaning and simplicity. Recently, a[nother] news reporter showed up at our place and talked to Jerry and others, asking questions about our spendthrift ways and explore our co-housing community. His article is a thorough and especially interesting look at our culture and spending. You’ll find it in the RALEIGH NEWS & OBSERVER below:

What Happened To Thrift?
Prosperity and technology have fed decades of consumerism. But some are second-guessing our thowaway culture.

By J. Peder Zane

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