When we think about spending money, budgets often come to mind. Budgets to keep our peaceful sanity. We think of buying things of high quality to get the most joy for our buck. Also, minimalism helps to keep the clutter down, and to stop spending on things we don’t need. But what about the things we do spend on… how can we get better at voting for what we want to exist in the world? Here are three great steps to get you thinking and voting with your money.
- What bugs you about the world? What things do you wish were made better, done more efficiently or produced ethically?
For example: I don’t like super cheap department stores. You know the ones that smell like rubber, even the clothing section? The clothes are cheaply constructed and made of plastic fibres. They are super cheap and somewhat fashionable but aren’t durable or stylish. They are less comfortable than natural fabrics and often made in sweat shops abroad. It disturbs my peace of mind that such cheap products are made and supplied to me at a low cost.
- What are the effects of your money? When you spend on the poorly made items, the inefficient service or fair trade (but not audited) products, what is the impact? Who is affected and how? What else is involved?
My example: The more clothing I bought from the cheap department store, the more profit it made. The real cost came at the expense of the environment which was mined for petroleum to produce synthetic fabrics, the people (possibly children) who sewed the garments at ultra low wages, the environmental impact and waste of overseas transportation, my higher closet turnover rate and wardrobe dissatisfaction, and the landfill where the clothes ended up.
- Consider where you can spend differently and do that. Educate (don’t lecture) others about it and encourage (not judging or chastising) them to do the same.
To continue: If I’m in a shop smelling of rubber I get out into fresh air ASAP. I read the labels on the clothes I buy and aim for 100% natural material. I read the labels to see where the clothes were made, if only to become more aware. I make my own and do with less. I shop at and donate to second hand shops. When I get comments on my clothes I share my philosophy, going only as deep as it feels natural for that conversation.
Where are you spending money that you want to change? What are the far-reaching effects of your voting?