What is Thrift?

by Katy on January 18, 2009 · 4 comments

As this week is Thrift Week, I thought I’d take a moment and write a short piece about what thrift means and doesn’t mean to me.

Thrift is not synonymous with cheap. It’s about being a smart steward of your resources, whether that resource is money, food, time, the environment or personal energy. Thrift does not mean buying a large amount of super cheap plasticy, made-in-China stuff that quickly breaks and ends up in the landfill. (Nor does it mean buying particle board furniture designed to last just a few years — Sorry Ikea.)

Being thrifty is about being mindful with monetary expenditures, even if that sometimes means spending a little bit more.  Being thrifty is about valuing what you already have, and then treating it well, and then repairing instead of replacing when necessary. Being thrifty is not about not coveting the bigger, better, brighter, shinier things in life.

Being thrifty means being a non-consumer. Frugal yes, but not cheap.

Rich in the ways that matter.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Happy Mum January 19, 2009 at 3:32 am

I think Ikea gets a bad rap. We’ve had some Ikea furniture and other items for years. Possibly the items they produce for the European market are better-made than for US? And I’m not sure on this, but I think Ikea are more attentive to environmental practices than many other companies (perhaps I’ve just been taken in by their advertising).


Kassie January 19, 2009 at 6:44 am

Example of thrift vs. cheap…for my sons b-day my mom wanted to get him a new desk chair. His current desk chair is a cast-off from my spouses work-meaning it is an expensive, high quality chair. After looking at new chairs in the $50 price range it became clear that what he had -despite the wear and tear- was far better quality than a new one. We found a piece of sturdy fabric- mom and dad took the chair apart, recovered the worn seats, put it back together and its like new!! This saved me having to take a trip to the thrift store with a chair.


Magdalena Julie Bragdon Perks January 19, 2009 at 10:12 am

The thrift store is something of a temptation for many people. They think they are getting ‘bargains’ but often they are spending money on things they don’t need. I was really taken aback after Christmas at the number of shoppers in the Salvation Army store loading carts with half-price Christmas doodads. Same with bits of china and figurines – “collectables” just take up space in the house, require cleaning, and use up money while giving nothing in return.


CanadianKate January 20, 2009 at 3:48 am

I second Happy Mom’s comment about IKEA. All the furniture I bought from there when I first moved out on my own is still in use. Granted, some of the plastic drawers (with particle board fronts) are held together with duct tape but even those are in use in the basement storage room. The oldest items are 28.5 years old. My ‘newest’ IKEA items are now 10 years old and the drawers are no longer plastic. It think they learned their lesson.

One bureau has to last forever because my Dad build a baby change station top to fit over top of it and I intend to use that for my grandchildren.


Dasanayaka October 14, 2010 at 1:58 am

Thrift means use the all kind of resources in productive way by without disturbing its existence and development.saving is one of the results of thrift.Waste is the opposite of thrift.The thrift is the most important concept and capital for sustainable development.


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