Fair Trade Month: 5 Steps to Shopping Fair on a Budget

5 steps to shopping fair on a budget with donegood
This post was generously sponsored by DoneGood and contains a few affiliate links.

Get ready: October is Fair Trade Month!

I love Fair Trade Month for a few reasons:
  1. It unites the ethical community as we swiftly move toward the Holiday shopping season
  2. It celebrates the good work of artisan communities all over the world
  3. It hits at the change of seasons, reminding me to reorient my shopping habits at the very moment I may be tempted to scurry off to the mall

Shopping, for me at least, is infinitely more stressful in the fall than in the spring. When I'm anticipating warmer days, I don't have to do much of anything, just buy a pair of sandals and break out the swingy dresses and skirts. But colder days are a different story. Inevitably, I put on a little weight during the carefree summer season - when you're wearing a sack dress every day, it's easy to stop worrying about how much you're eating - and then cold weather seeps in and none of my tighter fitting clothing fits anymore. 

I get depressed and beat up on myself, and it's so easy to turn to shopping to make myself feel better, which means I can very easily make irresponsible choices when it comes to what I actually need to restock. After getting to the root of that anxiety, I try to follow a couple steps to make sure I'm making the best, and most financially responsible, choices. 

1. Wait until the right time.

I wait until the first cool days of the season to go through my fall wardrobe in order to make sure that I have a tangible reminder of what the season feels like. If I go through sweaters in July, it would be easy to get rid of everything (sort of like going to the grocery store when I'm full). But if I'm already breaking out a sweater here and there, I have a clearer picture of what I'll wear moving forward. 

2. Figure out what you don't need.

Then, I try things on, check for quality issues, and try to remember how I felt about the things I own when I wore them last time. Sometimes I hold onto things that I never felt good in. I find that it's easier to send them off to the Donate pile earlier in the season rather than later, when I'm so cold all the time that wearing all the clothes at once seems like a good idea.

To get some extra cash for shopping, you may want to check out local consignment shops. I have started consigning some of my unwanted clothing and it's really paid off.

3. Figure out what you need.

Once I've done a first sort, I look for holes in my wardrobe. This year, it was dark wash skinny jeans, black pants, a red shirt (for the choral ensemble I'm in), and fall-appropriate shoes. It was easy for me to narrow it down because I'd carefully determined what worked and what didn't, and paid attention to what I actually wear instead of going the aspirational, "Instagram-worthy" route.

4. Shop old standbys first. 

Over the years, I've amassed quite a list of ethical options on my Shopping Directory and through reviews and brand profiles, so I have a good foundation for finding conscientious and fair trade goods. I visit my old standbys first, then expand my search as needed.

5 steps to shopping fair on a budget with donegood

5. Find coupon codes and more ethical options with extensions like DoneGood. 

This is where the budget part of my post comes in. A lot of my tried and true brands are partnered with Chrome extension and app, DoneGood, which means I can get deals on things I already plan on purchasing. Like I mentioned in my DoneGood intro post last month, all you have to do is download the extension, then go to a site or do a Google search and DoneGood will pop up with alternatives, coupon codes, and valuable information to help you narrow down your shopping.

For instance, I can get a discount on flats at the Root Collective, $20 off ethical black pants at Modavanti, and $20 off a red blouse and other items at Elegantees. (Some coupon codes require a minimum purchase.)

5 steps to shopping fair on a budget with donegood

In addition, if I do a web search for "jeans," DoneGood gives me a list of conscientious denim companies to scan through. This is such a lifesaver for me. Even though I might be better connected than most to ethical companies, it's a relief to have a trusted source vouch for these brands and narrow them down, sparing me hours of research. There are hundreds of brands on DoneGood, so there's no shortage of options.

In addition to supporting ethical, eco-conscious, and socially driven companies, DoneGood is itself a B-Corp, which means it is beholden to a "do no harm" mentality not only with who it supports but within its own corporate structuring.


I've found that if I plan well and am honest with myself, I can make ethical choices that don't cause significant damage to my budget. It's a learning curve, but having access to the right resources helps.

Download DONEGOOD here.

DoneGood: Get Ethical Bargains & Boycott Trump With One Extension

DoneGood ethical fashion and shopping browser extension and app
This post contains affiliate links

DoneGood is a browser extension and app developed with the express purpose of helping consumers avoid fast fashion and discover ethical brands without the burden of endless research.

I'd bet a day's wages that the number one reason people don't shop more ethically is because of the time it takes to sift through endless websites, articles, blogs, and marketing claims to find what they're looking for (a close second is price point). Though I'm an ethical shopping nerd, even I get exasperated over the difficulty of accessing and assessing ethical companies. Bloggers and advocates are working to change this in big and small ways every day, but without some creative thinking and intentional teamwork, we're not going to be able to make things much easier.

DoneGood has done a lot of creative thinking in addition to technical development to make something that can move the industry forward - at least as it pertains to consumer interest - much more rapidly than before.

I downloaded the browser extension right when it premiered in late November, so I've been using it for more than 8 months. Not only does it allow me to pinpoint ethical alternatives when I'm doing a Google search for a particular brand or item, it offers up discount codes for a number of fair trade and social good brands right from your search page. And since February, it even alerts me when a website I'm on sells Trump products, allowing me to boycott them - or at least feel that necessary pang of guilt that I'm just as much of a sucker for retail giants like Amazon as any other consumer.

DoneGood boycott Trump

I prefer DoneGood over any other ethical application for one reason: it's incredibly user friendly (I don't even have the other apps). I don't have to consciously open it up to find ethical companies. I don't have to sift through needless copy. I don't even have to be thinking that much about being an ethical consumer for it to show up on my browser and reorient me to what matters.

As someone who has been working with ethical companies for nearly 5 years, I'm familiar with almost all of the brands DoneGood recommends (Groceries Apparel, YSTR, Amour Vert, ZADY, and Victoria Road to name a few), but for a new or less informed conscious consumer, I think this could be the first small step to getting on board with long term lifestyle change.

In addition to offering ethical alternatives, DoneGood partners with ethical brands to offer discount codes accessible immediately through the extension popup window. Most brands offer discounts of $20 or 20% off, which can make a big difference.

DoneGood ethical fashion and shopping browser extension and app

If you're searching for ethical items on your smart phone, DoneGood offeres an app that helps you narrow down your ethical criteria and find companies that sell what you need. It's a user friendly option when you don't have access to the browser extension.

DoneGood recently launched their first DoneGood Together offer, which provides an ethical item at a significant discount if a total sales threshold is reached. This allows companies to make some fast cash to support their artisans and helps consumers try out ethical products at a really accessible price point. The first offer is for 40% off a pair of Root Collective Flats. DoneGood has already met their minimum of 16 orders, so the item is guaranteed at the sale price until the offer disappears at noon EST today.

I feel like I'm rambling at this point, but honestly, DoneGood is good.

Download it here.