I used to be a bit of a shopaholic, having worked at an Optometric office in a large downtown mall during high school in Toronto, although I was only earning slightly more than minimum wages at 18 years old.
The benefit of that is I know where and when is the sale, and have an eye for some of the finer things (helps to be a buyer around the world, and a personal shopper for my current job).
The side effect is that you usually don't have much money left for food. That's one reason I avoided the mall in my university years. And those were seven years of no co-op and no part-time jobs. I managed.
I liked my shirt from the Benetton outlet while it lasted in Toronto, my gloves from Danier at the end of season sale, and my best gift to myself have always been a nice scarf. I don't buy LV purses, my high end would be coach purse. As a migrant, I had to showed off that I have made it as an outsider coming to this country, sometime after my work started. I bought myself a nice Hermes scarf. I blamed my friend at the time to introduce me to the wrong colour. ;o)
In time, we learn to manage our money. I for having to save for a start up while working 6 days a week in first 8 years of my post-grad life, and later to pour money into my office/start up in my first three years, and still pay myself very little after that. Others I know such as having to pay for their babies or dreams of large house and nice cars, or having it all.
Started a years ago, I started to living small, moving to a smaller space, up in the air. I still managed to have purchased a lot from my earlier work years. (While you say cannot afford to travel, you end up buying stuff to feed your anxiety from work or life or both.) I bid my rarely wore dresses, shoes, and purses good bye. I gave away half of my clothes to my cousin's family, some cocktail/work dresses to a lady that's finishing school. And some of the nice purses to my cousins and donated some away to value village and sorts.
A couple of years ago, I started to realize those company are making a killing for the products I donated.I started selling them to second hand shops. It's green, it's local and it's helping me to get to financial freedom a dollar earlier.
Last year, I found a few shops that are worth selling too, and better organizations to donate clothes to.
Extoggery takes high ends stuff. It's around mid town, they do give you a time limit (3 months) to collect your items if they didn't sell, or else they will donate it for you to Diabetes Canada (which may sell to Africa).
Fashionaly Yours takes high end to mid range stuff. It's at Queen West.
Common Sort is in a few places, including Queen East.
Plato's Closet is in Scarbrough, Vaughan and mississauga.
Sometimes, you might find some nice things that you can use too! Especially for kids that outgrows clothes and shoes very fast.
The ones on my good donation lists are,
Trillium Lions Club, Warden Optometry takes donations for it every October to November. It goes directly to the local homeless in Queen and east Moss Park. There is no money spent to transport it to Africa, and less carbon waste.
The other one is Convenant House of Toronto. They take used winter jackets for the children that needs shelter there. The other items they need are money, tokens, new men's boxers and women's underwear. It's right at 20 Gerrard St E., near Yonge and Dundas.
I haven't been to the mall to shop for myself for almost 8 months (only for gifts). I only buy basic white tees recently and re-buy them when it starts to look coloured. I wear them alone in summer, and under sweaters for winter. But today, after my yoga work out, I found this great sweater at Muji. It was on sale, (I cannot say no to 70% savings on wool sweaters). and I have an older sweater that I can sell/donate after this week. So I grabbed this nice grey wool sweater that you see at the top! ;o)
If you have furniture to sell or buy, you can find it at sellmystuffcanada.com
Happy shopping for what you really need!