While a lot of us may know in the back of our minds that a lot of the food or clothes we purchase may not be ethically made, a lot of us choose to forget it. Not everyone has money to donate or time to volunteer, but you can help make a change by paying attention to what you buy.
Buy Fair Trade
“Fair trade” products are always the best option – this guarantees that whoever made the product you purchase was paid a living wage. People who are able to sell their items at a living wage can fend for themselves and don’t require more charity – helping the economy to grow.
Read the Fine Print
When a product says that “A portion of this purchase will be donated to ____,” make sure to read the fine print before buying. Companies know that a consumer is more likely to buy a product that says this – but how much of your purchase is actually going to help a cause? Unfortunately, many companies only actually donate 1-5% of your purchase to charity – and while that is better than nothing, it is not a reason to buy the product if you wouldn’t normally.
Buy Products That Match Your Purchase As a Donation
Companies like Toms are known for donating a pair of shoes to a child in need for every pair you buy. Buying products like this may be a bit more expensive, but your are basically buying two: one for you and one for someone else.
Buy From Farmer’s Markets
If you are close to a farmer’s market, take advantage of it! The food is fresh, local, generally organic, and helps to support your community. Farmer’s markets are usually cheaper than groceries stores, and generally taste better!
Go Through Your Closet
First off, go through your closet and donate anything you haven’t worn in the past year. Then, take a good look at your clothes. While a $10 shirt may seem like a great option – was the company really able to pay their workers a living wage off of that? That doesn’t mean that a $50 shirt is any better – but get to know the brands that you buy. Find out what type of labor practices are used for the stores you shop at, and decide if you need to make a change.
Shop Small Business
While buying a book off of Amazon may be easier – supporting your local bookstore can be just as cheap. I generally try and buy everything in stores to help support local businesses – unless of course the only place I can find something is online or it is significantly cheaper. If you want to have local and independent businesses in your town, make sure to support them.
Have any tips to share? Post them in the comments below!