Four Simple Ways to Make a Difference with Your Dollars

Submitted by Courtney on Mon, 03/08/2010 - 23:03

Next time you’re in the grocery store or a discount product store, stop and think about where exactly your dollars are going to when you buy that new lamp or can of tomato sauce. Where did the product come from? How many different hands have touched this product and what’s their share in all of this? Just who or what are you supporting with your money? Sadly, in most circumstances, only a very small portion of people actually benefit from that money you spend on products while several workers who helped make that product are exploited and abused. Here are four ways to be sure that your dollars are being spent responsibly and in a way that is making a difference in your community:

Shop Locally

This not only means shopping at stores that are within local distance; it also means buying products that are made or grown locally too! You are both saving the environment by not driving all over the place and also supporting local businesses that need your help more than ever. Big conglomerates are every where these days and these businesses are making it downright impossible for that “mom & pop” shop down the street to survive. Put a stop to letting big business dominate and monopolize the prices and products that are available to us and support your neighbors and your community.

Go Fair Trade

If you do buy anything that is not locally made or grown, go for “Fair Trade” items as much as you possibly can. Buying any items with a “Fair Trade” label (most commonly seen on chocolate, coffee, tea and sugar packets) lets you know that those people who are responsible in making this product available to you are not being exploited and are making a fair living.

Plant a Tree

Whether you donate to a group who plants trees or plant one yourself, trees are undoubtedly an important part of our day to day lives. Trees clean up after our rather filthy behaviors by absorbing gases and filtering polluted and toxic air. Trees help regulate our climate and trees also provide us with much needed materials – such as wood and fruits! A quick Internet search will help you find groups that you can either donate to or can plant a tree with (that is, if you don’t have a backyard to plant your own tree in already!).

Travel Smart

If you do plan on traveling abroad, be sure that you are using the most environmentally friendly way you possibly can and take public transportation when necessary (hey, it’s all part of the experience, right?). Do your best to support smaller businesses in your vacation area too. Instead of staying in a large chain hotel, do your research and find a nice locally run motel. You will not regret it!

Another option is to take a “staycation” – that is, travelling and vacationing within your own area. Try staying in a small bed and breakfast or privately-owned campsite and familiarize yourself with the local shops and food fair in that area. You’d be surprised how many different things you can find just an hour or two away from your home!

photo by Sufi Nawaz


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