Monthly Archives

September 2018

The Value-Oriented Shopper: Be Frugal, Don’t Be Cheap

Have you ever looked at your full closet and thought, there’s nothing in here I want to wear? Have you bought dozens of bargain-bin items only to never, ever use them? Then it might be time to think critically about how you shop and the kinds of items you’re looking for.

There’s this misconception that frugality and cheapness are effectively the same. The idea that chasing the lowest possible cost is the way to save money in the long run is one that we believe is incorrect. The concept of frugality is one of maximizing the value you get for the money you spend, instead of simply looking at the price of an item as the end-all-be-all of whether or not you should buy it. This is great because it can actually save us money in the long run.

For a more succinct illustration of the idea, we’ll turn to Terry Pratchett, in a quote from his fantasy novel Men At Arms:

“The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money. 

Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.”

We’ll leave discussion of Vimes’ ideas about socioeconomic unfairness up to someone else, but the core idea is sound: you spend less by buying a good, more expensive item that will last for a long time as opposed to buying the cheapest item over and over again.

Not only do you get better features, materials, and whatnot with the better item, when we choose each item we buy with care, we tend to appreciate them more. Looking through your closet or your makeup kit and being able to say, “I like everything here” is something that’s really priceless. Let’s spend less time regretting the things we’ve bought and more time enjoying them.

To kickstart your own frugal journey, here are some of our picks for great-value items:

  • Watch: Timex Weekender — A simple, reliable timepiece on a simple, reliable NATO strap. Tons of options for both face and strap color combinations. At only $30 this is the best you can get for this price.

  • Foundation: L’Oréal True Match — the quintessential drugstore foundation. It’s lightweight, non-caking, and comes in tons of shades. It’s very affordable for the amount and quality of foundation you get.

  • Basic Minimal Sneakers: Clae Bradley — they’re the Adidas Stan Smiths, but upgraded. Slimmer silhouette, better leather (the Stans have notoriously crinkly/brittle leather), and more colorways.

A Beginner’s Guide to Eco-friendly Shopping

These days it’s become important to be mindful of our social responsibility, even as consumers. Brands are becoming more and more open about how they run their businesses and how their products affect the environment. Our part, as consumers, is to make the best choices we can regarding the things we buy and, most importantly, how we buy them. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to go without your favorite food, clothing, electronics, etc. Today we’ll teach you a little bit about how you can start to shop in an eco-friendly way.

The core: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Yes, we love to shop. Yes, it’s nearly impossible to go zero-waste without making huge changes in our lifestyles. But that doesn’t mean we can’t contribute in our own little way. Buy less by buying in bulk, reuse your plastic/eco bags, recycle the cardboard boxes your items come in. Every little bit counts.

Look for brands who pay fairly

It’s going to be nearly impossible for the average consumer to understand the environmental impact of an item they’re buying. Supply chain logistics are incredibly complex and only experts can truly say whether or not your purchase has an adverse impact on the world. Instead of trying to tackle that, go simpler: buy from brands who can, at least, pay their workers fairly. Brands are starting to include reports about the working conditions, pay, and benefits of their employees — making it easy to see who treats their people like actual people. While there’s going to be a ton of debate whether or not your organic cotton t-shirt actually benefits the environment, knowing that your purchase helped a mother of two earn a fair wage in decent working conditions is something most people can agree is good.

Shop online instead

Here’s our personal favorite tip. Make use of the convenience of online shopping! Research has shown that buying online from the start is better than going to a store. There’s a pretty simple reason for this: a reduced number of trips to and from the place of purchase. If you drive over to a physical store, that’s one trip just for one item. A full 22% of an item’s climate impact comes from the process of a consumer driving to the store to get it! A delivery truck will use much less fuel per package compared to each individual package recipient going to a physical store to pick up an item. Think of it like public transportation for your purchase. The only caveat: it costs a lot of resources and adds a large amount to carbon emissions to do re-deliveries, so make sure there’s someone at home to receive your package.

There’s a couple more aspects to the online shopping experience which you should take into account:

  • Packaging options — try to request for minimal packaging if possible. There’s a ton of waste involved with normal packaging procedures. We’re sure that you’ve heard of people receiving tiny items in comically large boxes full of nothing but packing peanuts. You can email the online retailer you’re shopping from to see if they can cut down on your packaging if you’re buying non-fragile items such as clothes. You can also, like we said before, buy your items in bulk, lowering the cost per item and, as well, the carbon emissions per item.
  • Do some research — it’s easy to go through the About section of your favorite retailer to see how they opt to contribute to sustainability and social responsibility. If they don’t have any info, reach out! Making retailers understand that people prefer more eco-friendly and sustainable options is a big factor in them offering these options. Your voice matters. Some notable brands who are openly championing the eco-friendly movement include activewear brands Patagonia and prAna (unsurprisingly, outdoor-focused brands prefer that the outdoors be unspoiled!) and fast fashion brands Alternative Apparel and Everlane—proof that a large supply chain doesn’t mean having to sacrifice your ethics. Smaller more niche companies such as Bureo—a skateboard-focused brand—and Sunski—who make sunglasses out of recycled plastic—are also getting in on the action.

At the end of the day it takes all of us working together to push brands and retailers to effect lasting change. Your actions, however small, will contribute to that. Let’s be more mindful, more proactive, and more sensitive to how our purchases can affect the world around us.

Y-3 Releases All-Black Runner 4D for Fall/Winter 2018

Y-3 has returned with its second Runner 4D sneaker iteration for the F/W18 season. The new offering boasts an all-black treatment across the primeknit upper while resting atop the revolutionary 4D-printed Futurecraft midsole for long-lasting cushioning and stability. Additional design elements include ultra-resistant eye stays, Yohji Yamamoto embroidery on the heel, and cording designed to look like the signature Adidas Three Stripes branding.

The Fall/Winter 2018 Y-3 Runner 4D in black is scheduled to release worldwide at select stockists, Y-3 flagship stores, and the Y-3 online store on September 7 for $600 USD.