Some shop as sport. Others out of necessity. I give it meaning when possible. That means I shop to give back. There are many ways to support artists and charities with shopping.

I try to use charity or artist-based resources whenever I shop. That means gifts, necessities, and even frivolities like this bracelet. None of the below is sponsored. I’m sharing the way I shop for real.

Shop & Give Back With Meaning

I love saving money but also love shopping at Whole Foods. Actually, I take that back. Of course I don’t love grocery shopping. I’m a normal flesh-and-blood human. That’s why I have to buy food. I gotta eat. I gotta feed my family. Whole Foods is how I like to do it.

Luckily, I heard about Thrive Market. They’re online and sell most of what Whole Foods stocks. Prices are lower. They ship it to your home. It’s fantastic for shelf stable everything. I even get my tofu from them. Turns out you don’t have to refrigerate the vacuum sealed kind. These are the luscious nuggets of learning that come from shopping with care.

Make a Difference – Shop & Give Back

Best of all, Thrive Market makes a difference. They give memberships and education to low income families. It’s thanks to paying members like me that they do this. Paying members literally fund the less fortunate. In addition, you can give back every time you buy groceries at Thrive. They have an option at checkout to donate some of your savings. Cool part is, there’s tons of savings! It feels like a win for everyone – especially me. I appreciate anything that makes me feel like a better person.


Shop, Give Back, Save, AND Help Too

Growing up I never had much money. So, I loved to shop second-hand stores. There were amazing deals on items I could never afford full price. But, even better, these donated goods meant profits for less fortunate people. It’s the ultimate upcycle for broke folks like I was. 

Shop to Give Back

Shop & Give Back in Style

I first moved to New York City in 1994 for graduate school. Money was nonexistent. I lived on bulk bags of discount rice. Luckily, in addition to my rice stash, I also had a full fellowship to grad school. So, I wasn’t paying for that. But I needed three jobs anyway. City life costs beaucoup dinero. Yes, even with free room and board.

So, Housing Works was a grand discovery. It’s a NYC mecca of rich lady remainders. We’re talking real Prada bags, Marni pants, and Burberry coats, baby! It’s a poor girl’s paradise. Best of all, their goods are all donated. Profits benefit the homeless. Watch the video above to learn more about all this benevolence. It helps people move on to their next stage of life in better stead.

Of course, there are other places like this. There’s Salvation Army, Goodwill, and many others. But Housing Works is special. Their stuff is primo. It’s so cool that hipsters work the counter. Celebrities attend their annual auction. The quality of their items isn’t just about brands. Their shelves are stacked with items from a wide variety of New Yorker closets. Some shop for a living, others literally wear clothes for a living. One thing resounds about city folk, we know how to dress. Shop and give back in style.

Donations Help us Shop & Give Back for a Greater Good

I’ll give you an example from my own closet of secrets. Every year a bunch low morality ladies grapple with remorse. We are the wretched who wear fur. So what makes us feel better? Donate it! It’s like it never happened – right? You gotta check out Housing Works. Ladies gain weight, get guilty, lose weight, seek joy. There are a zillion reasons to clean a closet. I make it a policy now to always donate to Housing Works. It feels good, benefits others, and, allegedly, I’m making more room for joy.

Shop & Give Back to Support Artists

One of the greatest gifts of age is all the amazing people you meet. In my advanced years, I’ve been lucky to know tons of artists. It makes me so happy to buy their work and know it helps keep their creations coming. Artists forge a more beautiful world. Supporting them makes it a better place for all of us. If you love to shop and give back, this way supports art too.

Shop to Give Back
Necklace by Here a Chick There a Chick

I remember when my college friend, Kerry first started her artisanal jewelry business. She was hardcore into estate sales. Even her three young kids couldn’t quell her zeal. Every chance she got, Kerry was “huntin and pickin” – as she called it. At first she resold necklaces on Facebook.

Once in awhile she’d have a sale. It ran like a live auction but on her Facebook page. She had lots of FB friends and we all met there to buy vintage necklaces she’d scored. They were cheap and it was fun. There was no art to it yet. But then her kids got a bit older and Kerry kept going. She started making them better and selling the reconfigured necklaces. Now Kerry has a successful company, Here a Chick There a Chick, built from the bead up.

An Artist Emerges

Bit by bit she became an artist. We all watched as she transformed right before us. It was inspiring. Glorious. Our friend created the most beautiful objects out of castaways. Now she’s got a profitable and healthy business – making gorgeous jewelry. It’s a keen reminder that what looks useless can become useful. We need to apply a bit of ingenuity. Put ourselves into it. That’s making art, baby! Anybody can be an artist. It just takes guts.

Etsy Artists – Shop & Give Back

Many people don’t know artists, though. I get it. Also, it’s not like the artists we know can meet all our needs. You need a gift for a chilly unicorn lover but none of your buddies knit unicorn sweaters. It happens. Thank goodness for Etsy. This business found a way to democratize local art. Now you don’t have to live in San Francisco or Brooklyn to buy beautiful handmade goods. What a delightful way to shop and give back.

I’ve found some of my favorite things on Etsy. Also, it satisfies something deeper to know a small-town artist made a sale. It enhances their esteem, credibility, and bottom line. That’s what artists crave. They have people telling them their work’s moving and gorgeous all the livelong day. You can give them what they want and need most – a sale.

How I shopped for my “Reclaimed Wood Handmade Table”

Handmade is my favorite way to shop and give back. In fact, I have many handmade Etsy items at home. Even the solid walnut table where I sit writing this. It’s a rustic farmhouse style and could last a lifetime. The man who built it brought the pieces in my apartment and put it together inside. That was helpful because when I move out, I know how it comes together. Sure, It was only three pieces. But the pieces are huge, heavy planks. The table is 8 feet by four. The planks are two inches thick. It’s a mighty job.

I’m grateful it won’t be a challenge other than some heavy lifting on my part. Best of all, it’s beautiful, handmade, and all natural – even the stain. I know that AND shook hands with the man who made it. Something about this makes the table feel more a part of our home. It’s not any old piece of furniture. He made it for us.

That’s why Etsy feels special. I went from needing a table to making my apartment more a home. All it took was a quick Etsy search. In this case I searched for “reclaimed wood handmade table”. Then I added dimensions and restricted the zone to local. It was easy. I found it in one brief sitting. That’s how Etsy usually works for me.