10 ways I put my money where my mouth is, and you can too, to live a more intentional, meaningful, and sustainable life.
Every dollar you spend is a vote for something that you believe in.
There’s a famous saying (and a song too apparently!):
Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.
The idea is very simple. Whatever you preach, make sure your wallet sings the same tune.
Whenever we are spending our hard-earned dollars (or whatever currency), we are directly supporting some business or corporation. These entities show by their behaviors and actions towards society and the environment what values they hold.
Hence, by giving our money to these entities, we are supporting those values and ideals.
I am not naive. I know, sometimes it’s not possible to back every purchase you make with some idea you hold. Sometimes it’s just too expensive to act in that way. However, whenever possible and appropriate, I try my best to stay consistent with what I believe in.
That means being intentional with every purchase. You would be surprised how you can find amazing matches between things you believe in and companies you can buy from.
By doing so, not only do you put your money where your mouth is, but you also re-affirm your beliefs, which in turn strengthens your identity.
That being said, let me walk you through 10 ways I always try my best to make a statement with every dollar that I spent.
Support Local Businesses
When the pandemic started in early 2020, I saw local businesses all around San Francisco close down in droves. It was disheartening to watch them shut down one after another at a breakneck pace.
That made me realize how much small local businesses depend on people from the local community. The moment people stop going out and spending on these businesses, they have a difficult time staying afloat.
Since witnessing that, I have always tried to support local businesses wherever possible.
That’s why I always try to look local first before expanding my search radius, whenever looking for a product or service.
Check Out Local Coffee Shops
Staying with the topic of supporting local businesses, I always prefer going to local coffee shops instead of conglomerates like Tim Horton’s and Starbucks.
Now that my company has gone permanently remote-first, I get tired of working from home all the time. That’s why I have started working from cafes around my neighborhood a handful of times every week.
I find it an awesome way to support local businesses.
In the process, I have also met some amazing people, and the personalized treatment I get from these businesses, I never got from a Starbucks or some other big chain coffee store.
I will be the first to admit, buying sustainably can be expensive.
If y’all are familiar with the concept of greenwashing, you will know how difficult it is to figure out how sustainable a product is.
I totally understand that producing sustainably can be expensive. However, many businesses just exploit that reality and hike up the prices of things with some vague hand-wavy explanation of sustainability.
That’s why I am always very careful when looking for a sustainable product.
When I can find truly sustainable alternatives, I buy them over their non-sustainable counterparts, whenever it makes sense.
Of course, I know that I am in a privileged position to be able to do that. That’s why I don’t mind spending a few extra dollars.
My minimalist lifestyle definitely helps here. I almost never buy things for myself unless absolutely necessary. That’s another way I justify spending a little bit more for the more sustainable option whenever I do decide to buy something.
Say No To Fast Fashion
I absolutely cannot support fast fashion brands like Zara, H&M, Shein, Forever21, and many other popular ones.
A few months ago I went down the rabbit hole of learning the unethical and unsustainable business practices of these mega-corporations. They stoop down to the lowest levels to keep huge profit margins, even if that means trampling over fellow human beings.
I cannot support that in my right mind. I am privileged enough, and my lifestyle allows me to, go for the more sustainable options.
Surprisingly, you also get much better quality clothes when you go for non-fast fashion companies. After all, the whole business model of these fast-fashion companies is to churn out low-quality clothes that consumers can wear a few times and then throw away, just to replace them with newer trendier ones.
Reusable Over One-Time Use Purchases
This is where being intentional with every purchase really helps.
Whether buying a set of glass dinnerware over a bunch of paper alternatives or buying a reusable coffee cup over getting a disposable one every time I get coffee, I try my best to buy reusable over disposable, wherever it makes sense.
Oh, and of course, don’t forget water bottles! Always keep one on you, so that you don’t have to buy bottled water.
I Don’t Buy From Companies Who’s Business Model Revolves Around The Meat Industry
Since transitioning to a more vegan lifestyle, I have steered clear of businesses that are heavily reliant on the meat industry.
I have seen the atrocities slaughterhouses commit. In large part, this is because of the crazy demand for meat from these businesses.
I can’t stand by that.
Nowadays, many of these businesses are also providing meat alternatives. However, at the end of the day, more than 95% of their revenue is still powered by a highly immoral meat industry.
Buy Used Over New
You would be surprised when I tell you that, amongst all the other things I told you about, this is the one that I get judged on the most for…by my own family.
Growing up in Bangladesh, my parents were never fans of buying used products that other people have used before me.
Their mentality is to either buy new or not buy it at all, rather than buy used.
That’s why, whenever I tell my parents about buying used products, I get judged. I don’t mind though. I know it’s difficult to change your mindset given the society they have lived in all their lives.
For obvious reasons though, I try to buy used over new whenever possible. The positive impact you have on the environment is almost unparalleled when you buy used.
Support Businesses I Believe In
In today’s capitalist society, everything is about profit and growth. The whole economy is based on the concept of infinite boundless growth.
That’s why for businesses to sacrifice some profits to support the greater good is very rare.
Whenever I find a business like that, and its values align with mine, I make sure I support the business every chance I get.
Don’t Spend Where Not Necessary
If you have read my blog before, you know that I talk about minimalism, spending less, consuming less, and living an intentional life.
I also live my life in that way.
Yes, of course, it’s not perfect. Sometimes I don’t. For large parts though, I do live by these.
That means, by not spending the dollar that I have, I am making a statement.
Don’t Cheap Out on Groceries and Food
I read and learn an awful lot about healthy eating.
There are an awful lot of histories in my family related to hypertension and other high blood pressure-related illnesses.
I also know first-hand, how much better I feel when I am living a healthy lifestyle.
Just by reading my other blog posts, you will understand that to me it matters, what I put inside my body.
That’s why I don’t always look for the cheapest option when doing groceries.
I know I am in a privileged position, and it does help that I mostly buy for myself. I don’t have my family living with me. That makes up for the few dollars extra that I spend either buying organic or other specialized health foods.
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I hope you found this a valuable read and have some takeaways that you can go ahead and implement in your wonderful lives.
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