Frugal Living 

4 Eco-Tips For A Wonderful New Year

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Champagne BottlesAs the New Year kicks off to a start many of us are taking the opportunity to take stock, examine and make changes. For many this can be somewhat of a painful process. Even though change is truly a part of our lives on a daily basis and on a larger scale, there is still that stigma of change being associated with pain.

This year as we ride out this strained economy the theme for many people is “look at what I already have!”. This can apply to appreciating the family & friends in our lives as well shopping and acquiring more stuff. Here are a few ways that you can kick the Eco-simplicity habit into gear and set the mood for 2010 and beyond. And don’t forget, changes don’t have to be painful. They can bring joy as well as inspire you and those around you.

Go With What You Already Have

Each day brings us new opportunities for change, but there is just something about changing of the year that inspires thoughts of bigger changes and new beginnings. As you look around at the latest trends, gadgets and stuff that bombards our daily life, try shifting your approach just a bit.

  • Take stock of what is in your closet, drawers and garage.
  • In the realm of fashion, think about adding a few new accessories like scarves, belts and shoes instead of a whole new wardrobe.
  • Go shopping in your own closet, what have you forgotten about?

Discover The Joy Of Consigning

When I became a parent, I quickly realized the need for new stuff every few months. From clothing to shoes and toys, there always seems to be a need for the next size up. For adults, even though there is no need for a size up (well sometimes) we still have that ad man telling us that we need better, bigger, newer each year or so. If you do opt for the better and newer (because I know we are all human), there is a better way.

  • Find the nearest consignment shop in your area.
  • Take anything (as long as it is clean) that you haven’t worn used in the past 2 years (or more)
  • Bring it in for credit or cash towards your next purchase.
  • p.s. Kids LOVE getting in on this idea. Plus it’s great habit to teach them – “stuff must go out before new stuff comes in”.
  • This also helps to avoid dreaded clutter.
  • Consignment tip: I like going to consignment stores in upscale areas, you won’t BELIEVE what some people get rid of and the amazing deals you can find on high quality items.

Don’t Shop Trends

Yes, we would all look amazing in the latest fashion trends. The problem with trends, is that there are new ones every 2 seconds. You spend $20 on that cute top at Target only to have it go out of style the next day. I’m not knocking Target at all!! I think there are many wonderful deals there that I have taken advantage of during the years. But I’ve also learned my lesson. I can but ten $20 shirts over the year that may or may not last. OR I can buy less, but better quality classically designed pieces that will last for years (until it is their time to go to consignment).

  • Figure out what is flattering for you (this goes for women AND men).
  • You can take advantage of free personal shoppers at most department stores to guide you through a trip and find out what works for you.
  • Ask a stylish friend whose eye-for-fashion you admire to help you pick out a few key pieces.

Set Up A Friendly Swap

This is one of my favorite things to do. If you are not keen on consignment shopping, set up a friendly clothing and home goods swap. Invite a group of friends to bring clean, gently used or no longer used clothing and home accessories…you can even trade art and craft supplies; this is such a wonderful way to connect with friends while exchanging things you don’t use for things you will. This is amazing for a group of friends with kids of varying ages. We all know how quickly we go through children’s clothing and shoes.

What are your Eco-inspired changes for 2010? I’d love to hear from you.

(Photo: barl0w)

{ 25 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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25 Responses to “4 Eco-Tips For A Wonderful New Year”

  1. Wilma says:

    I’m going to see just how hard I can squeeze my pennies this year. Maybe I’ll use one to scrape out the toothpaste tube, mayo jar or peanut butter jar. Going to start going through closets, drawers and my basement to get things organized so I know just what I have. The use, use, use and reuse and then use it one more time before I recycle it is going to become the mantra in my life. Times are tough and I’m going to get tough right back on my finances like never before. Going to work harder at stretching things a little further, making things from scratch from food to cloths and get better growing stuff in the vegie garden. I’ve always been a penny pincher so none of this is new to me but it’s time to go to the next level….Penny Squashing. =)

    • Elena Lipson says:

      Sounds like you are set to have an amazing year. Using what we already have is a simple yet powerful way to save money and become aware of all it is that we have in front of us (and in our closets!)

      Best of luck…

  2. lostAnnfound says:

    Change may not be painful, but it can be kind of scary when you do something new, different, or out of your comfort zone.

    • Elena Lipson says:

      You are right on! Change is one of those beasts we all struggle with…but it’s also the best way to have an adventure, discover something new, and learn 😉


  3. Chris says:

    I thought about starting a neighborhood farmers market. I see neighbors that grow a lot of different fruits and veggies. Maybe we could swap goods vs. buying at the store…

    • ziglet19 says:

      What a great idea! I just did my first garden last year, and I would love exchanging with my neighbors.

    • Elena Lipson says:

      Hi Chris,

      That is an incredible idea. One of my neighbors is talking about starting starting up a barter system in our neighborhood. Everything brings something to the table in terms of skill-set and abilities. A Farmers Market would be so exciting.

      I’d love to hear about it once you get going!!

      Best of luck!

  4. Elena, you have illuminated some basic smart things to do. Use what we have instead of wasting and buying more crap, for the closet too!

    John DeFlumeri Jr

    • Elena Lipson says:


      Thank you kindly. I know from my own closet, pantry and shelves, there is a lot that I forget about. We all buy much more than we need…let’s make 2010 the year we enjoy the simple and appreciate what we already have.


  5. I’m going to make it a point to avoid plastic bags and bottles this year. As a single guy who grocery shops once a week I can usually fit everything in my backpack then walk home. This is both good for my wallet since the store gives me a small discount and good for the environment by not using wasteful and damaging plastic bags.

    • Elena Lipson says:


      Stopping the use of plastic bags (and even paper) is an amazing contribution to the environment. Especially stopping the use of plastic bottles! I have done the same & it really is simple once it becomes a habit 😉

      Thanks so much for what you are doing!


    • Wilma says:

      Just make sure you pack it up. It frustrates me that people don’t know how to bag groceries. I bring my own bags too. I try to get down to the bagging area first. I hate frozen food in a bag with my bread or box of cereal. Grrrrrrrrrrrrr…….=)

  6. Ken says:

    I am blessed to have a brother in law and wife who gladly swap ‘boys’ clothes with us..we have 2 boys..they have 3. We have saved bunches on clothing this way. My wife and sis in law put consignment shops on twice a year. You get great deals!

    • Elena Lipson says:


      Isn’t swapping AMAZING!! I’ve benefited from older nephews with my own son. Now we have a community swap where there are dozens of kiddos who get clothing, toys & books passed down. It really is quite beautiful (and money saving 😉


  7. ziglet19 says:

    I am just getting ready for my first baby. I have never done consignment shopping, but I am willing to give it a try. Thanks for the tips!

    • Elena Lipson says:

      Hi there,
      My first time consigning was when we had our baby as well. It just made sense that you save so much on clothing that they only where for a brief amount of time before outgrowing. PLUS, there are so many NEW things at consignment because people often get TOO much from family & friends.

      Congratulations and have fun!


      • Chris says:

        We have done this also. New clothing is so expensive and they only get to wear each item a few times if more than once at all.

  8. Chris says:

    One thing we do is have a random leftover, fend for yourself dinner each week. There is no sense in throwing the food away just because there is not enough for all so one night we all eat something different.

    • Shirley says:

      I am LOL because we do that too! I thought we were the only ones that did. Whenever the frig gets overloaded, it’s fend-for-yourself night.

      • lostAnnfound says:

        You’re definitely not the only ones. We do the same thing. And if there is a week where there happens to be a lot of leftover veggies, it’s homemade soup that night with a salad or sandwich. Toss all the veggies in a pot with some good stock, a little seasoning, and you’re good to go.

  9. Shirley says:

    “…many of us are taking the opportunity to take stock, examine and make changes.”

    Another thought here, gleaned from experience of cleaning up after my parents deaths: If you haven’t used it in a year,(other than legal documents) get rid of it. Sell it, trade it, donate it. The sooner you get rid of what you don’t actually use, the less someone else will have to contend with… maybe a very sad thought, but very true.

  10. BrianC says:

    I love the idea of no new stuff can come in unless something old goes out. When I make a new purchase, I think of how it will impact me moving in a few years–will it make it more difficult (adding more stuff), or about the same (replacing something I’m getting rid of).

  11. Change is the only constant in life, we all must deal with it. By being proactive you make it much easier on yourself!

    Consignment is hot! I have a friend who owns a consignment shop and I have seen the changes this downturn in the economy has brought her store, definitely a good recommendation.

    Thrift stores are also a good place to stretch dollars!

  12. Elena Lipson says:

    Hi Glendon,

    Thank you so much for the comment. I am wearing a top right now that I purchased from the consignment store. By the way, it was actually NEW!!!

    I’ve seen so many local stores close down and sell inventory to local thrift shops to at least make back SOME cents on each dollar.

    I’ve been shopping consignment & thrift since my NYC days in the 90’s. I’ve always found it a great way to get a unique look that you won’t see walking down the street next to you. PLUS, it’s fun to get a beautiful top for $5-10 vs. $50-$100.

    For more eco-tips, make sure to visit my site…


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