Is it possible to be a frugal and ethical shopper?

window shoppersThese two values can feel deeply at odds with each other, which can make shopping decisions very challenging.

They say ignorance is bliss and, when it comes to shopping, I have to agree. There was a time when shopping was a pleasurable experience, but that ended once I learned too much. Now, instead of looking at something and thinking, “Oh, that looks nice. How much is it?”, my head is filled with other, competing thoughts: “Where was that made? How was it made? Who made it? What’s in it? How is it packaged?”

Add to that my instinctive urge to be thrifty and frugal, and I’m often left weighing whether or not I should fork out for an expensive item that ticks the ethical boxes (an act which, I could argue to myself, is unethical in itself), or opt for a cheaper item that keeps more money in the bank right now.

Being a conscientious, ethical shopper is a never-ending struggle, but it becomes particularly difficult at this time of year, when it seems the whole world is going crazy for holiday shopping. How does one strike a balance between buying ethically, intelligently, and thoughtfully, while also saving money?

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