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dignify's Shop Good Blog explores how to promote dignity, empower humanity & champion the good in all of our spending life.

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April 07, 2017

No More Vacation Envy

Aka, How to Legitimately Enjoy Everyone Else’s Hawaii Photos Without Secretly Rolling Your Eyes

Pre- Spring Break, I wrote the following intro to my weekly email: 

This is about the time I need to take a break from Instagram... because Hawaii. It's nice. I want to be there. I will not be. It will feel like ALL THE PEOPLE are there. My coping method will be putting down the phone and instead looking out the window. At the brown grass. 

Ultimately, I didn’t include this, because it was too negative and petty. Also: it didn’t account for Disneyland! 😉

My husband commented, “Remember when people used to take trips, and it was so exciting to see their photos afterwards?”

Now, it seems, as we experience (via social media) all the beachy, good food-y, relaxing glory in real time, our response is more of an eye-rolling, “I get it. You’re having fun. [That place] is AMAZing.

Even writing those words feels gross! Maybe it's just me for whom #thestruggleisreal... but, I don't think so. 

Envy is oppressive to community as well as our enjoyment of life. Joshua Becker pointed out, "Joy is not a finite resource," and I'd like to live as it that is true!

I am ready to break free of my vacation envy & replace it with celebration & enjoyment. Who's with me?!

Tips & Tricks for Overcoming Vacation Envy: 

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March 17, 2017

Financial Satisfaction: When Will I Feel Like I Have "Enough" Money?

John D. Rockefeller was an American industrialist, oil-man, and — at one point in the early 1900's — the world's richest man & first ever American billionaire. When he was asked by a reporter, 

“How much money is enough?”

He famously replied,

“Just a little bit more.”

I’ve heard varying accounts about when people feel like they have enough money to be satisfied, or happy. One recounted: from Donald Trump to a Manila garbage dump-picker, people would be satisfied with "about 10% more than I'm making now." I’ve read elsewhere that it’s double: if we made twice as much, then we would feel settled & satisfied.

Regardless of the study (or anecdotal “study”), what’s common is that the satisfaction is not tied to a specific number, it is completely subjective by person. The other thing that’s clear is: we all (pretty much) want more.

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March 02, 2017

Do As I Say, Not As I Do... Money Wisdom That Adults Totally Forget

There is a great little piece of advice that swirls around parenting books & mom blogs (& all of those fun and exciting places…) The setup is like this:

Parent takes children shopping for a birthday present or something else. Kids want their parent to buy something for them. Nagging & whining ensue. Mayday!!

The wise book author/mom-who-has-been-there suggests: tell your kids beforehand that the reason for the trip is to buy X specific thing, not for anything else. That way, when you’re there and the gimme request arises, you can remind wee Johnny/Jane/Harper/Emerson that you’re only there to buy Clover’s 4th birthday present, and nothing else.


Pretty good advice, I think. And it even (more or less) works!


Why is it that we, as adults on our own, forget this enormously simple tidbit all. the. time?!

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February 17, 2017

Why We Buy: Belonging as a Motivator to Spending

Last summer, I came home from our family vacation to face the realities of life .

I had felt weary from the responsibilities of family, home, business, self, and so, naturally, vacation is when I ignore all of those things and do whatever I want! (it helps when you tag along with grandparents). Eating ALL THE THINGS was part of my responsibility-rebellion, so when I came back to life, I wasn’t surprised (but nonetheless horrified) that my clothes were ill-fitting and I looked, to myself in the mirror, well… vacaction-y (and I don’t mean tanned & relaxed).

I resolved that I would find some kind of exercise solution that would help get things back on track, and ultimately, signed up for a membership at my local YMCA. It made sense financially, because I was going to register my kids for various programs (there are discounted rates for members), it had dozens of drop-in classes included in membership, as well as a pool & the usual fitness facilities.

I have always been very motivated by the commitment of spending money. If I pay for a program, I am going to show up. Otherwise, what a waste of money! I know this isn’t a motivator for everyone (see: Gretchen Rubin’s 4 Tendencies), but it has worked for me.

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January 20, 2017

How to Eat Well, Waste Less, & Save Money on Food This Year

This so-obvious tip has been a game changer for food management (and waste minimization) in our home...


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January 12, 2017

Are Expensive, Designer Jeans Worth It?

I have spent most of my adult life rolling my eyes at the insanity of expensive jeans. They are jeans! How different can they be?!

Ever since I saw a £50 ($60) D&G white baby onesie in Harrods department store in London, I was convinced that staple-type clothing items made by design houses are a total scam. Isn’t a pair of $200 jeans just the same thing? I mean, I know that stretch jeans from Old Navy will disintegrate within months, but Gap? Guess? Banana Republic? With discounts & coupons & sales, I should be able to get a great pair of jeans for $60, right?

Well, as I sit here typing in my Seven for All Mankind jeans… I can admit that I may have changed my tune.


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November 23, 2016

A Pep Talk Before Black Friday

The cheerfulness is right in the name there, isn't it? You get through your day of turkey & holiday peace, and then... doomsday!

But, stampedes and nonsense aside, we all know that Friday (through Monday, often) is the time to shop. Christmas is coming, and we are all just trying to stretch our dollars as far as we can. I am certainly not above special event & sales shopping, personally, or (as you can read below) as a retailer.

How can we be smart about getting the good deals, and maximizing our budgets, without going totally overboard? It is soooo easy to get swept up in the excitement and one-time-only and fun of it all; it is very easy to still overspend, because we buy all kinds of extra things that were too good to pass up.

I wrote a guide earlier this year that is essential Shop Good: it's how to shop smarter, spend better, avoid buyer's remorse, and really to be able to shop with confidence & with the satisfaction of money well spent. Here are a few principles straight from it that can really help direct your shopping next weekend (and throughout the holidays):

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November 16, 2016

Back-Pocket Holiday Gifts for Any Party, Neighbor, or Unexpected Need!

November & December are SUPER busy months for me, the most professionally & personally nutty time of the year. I’m sure that your experience is completely different. … Ha!

It can be a stressful time of year and while it may seem as though I am suggesting adding more to your overflowing plate, my experience has been completely the opposite. Instead of scrambling every time there is an event, house party, unexpected neighbour drop by with baking, or on the last day before school vacation when I have totally forgotten about the teachers, etc. I have a go-to solution for all of those things. If I buy a few extra ingredients and carve out a little bit of prep time on a rare, spare evening or afternoon, I set myself up to have an on-hand solution for a myriad of holiday niceties.

Re: packaging: I buy a flat or two of canning jars (16oz/500mL for the nuts, a little bigger for the granola). We've passed peak mason jar, I think, but the reality is that they have a classic, simple look, and just about anyone can use them in the kitchen. If you really want to fancy it up, trace the circle part of the lid on wrapping paper, cut it out, and slide it in when you screw on the lid. Boom! You’re crafty.


See the Winners... 

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November 04, 2016

Shop Good Book Club | Trick Yourself into Learning Some History!

I, for one, don't like to learn about history. But, I do like to read and I do like to be smart (or at least sound smart). The best solution for me is to read novels that are set in a time & place that teaches me all about it, without me even realizing I am getting a history lesson.

Of course, it's not just about gaining smarts! Reading stories that are set in another time & place gives us a first person point-of-view to understand better the circumstances of others' lives. Like "heavy reads" that pique my empathy, any stories that take place in a life different that my own do increase my sense of humanity and fraternity. Straight up: learning about different lives makes me a better person! And, it makes life more interesting, too, no?


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October 19, 2016

Is "Marketing" Evil? Helpful? Or Something in the Middle?

I met a woman recently and, as conversation does, talk went to what we do and questions about my weird interesting job and what it entails. I told her that my background is marketing and so (since Wayne has taken over much of the operations & shipping), a lot of my work time with dignify is spent doing marketing types of things.

“Oh, yeah, I get it. Trying to convince people who wouldn’t want it to buy your stuff. I have a relative who breeds dogs and she works so hard trying to find and convince people to buy her dogs.”

Ummm… no.

That’s not, how you say, how we do things around here.

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