Research shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has encouraged more people to think about how ethical their lifestyle is and make some positive changes. For many people, those changes are related to environmental issues and many of us are trying to cut back on plastic or changing our diet to reduce our carbon footprint. But have you ever thought about how you spend your money?
There are a lot of ethical issues tied up with money because every time you spend money, you are deciding to support one thing and not another. For example, if you buy a product with plastic packaging instead of the eco-friendly alternative, you’re making a conscious choice with your money and it isn’t necessarily the most ethical one. You should also think about the kinds of businesses that you support and whether they act in an ethical way or not.
Many people haven’t thought about this before and they would probably be shocked at some of the unethical ways that they are using their money. If you are trying to live a more positive lifestyle, these are some of the best ways to be more ethical with your money.
Give To Charity
This one is a pretty obvious one, but many of us don’t give to charity because we don’t think we can afford it. However, if you are trying to take a more ethical approach to life, it’s important to start thinking about others before you think about yourself. So, why not take a look at your budget and see if there are any small luxuries that you could do without. By making a personal sacrifice, you can then use that money to help others instead. Spend some time researching the best charities to donate to and find something that is meaningful to you. If you truly care about the cause you are donating to, you’ll be more likely to keep up with it. Remember, every donation counts so even if you can only afford to donate the price of a cup of coffee per week, that’s still worth doing.
Choose Your Bank Account Carefully
A lot of people don’t realize that when they put money in the bank, that money is invested. The customers fund the other financial activities of a bank and most people don’t have a clue what kind of investments their bank is making, which is a big problem. What if you’re trying to be eco-friendly but your bank is using your money to invest in coal and oil companies, for example?
There is no telling what your bank could be funding with your money. The good news is, there are ethical bank accounts out there that will only use your money to invest in positive things, like green energy. Switching your current account to one of these banks gives you peace of mind because you know that your money isn’t contributing to activities that don’t line up with your morals.
Be Honest About Money With Your Partner
How many times have you lied when your partner asked how much something cost? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s very common for people to lie about money, especially to their partner. The thing is, this is an unethical way to handle your money and it can lead to a lot of problems in relationships. If your partner is making their financial decisions based on your joint finances, you are putting them at risk by lying to them. If you want to be more ethical with your money, start being open with your partner about it.
Change Your Energy Provider
Most people are making an effort to be more eco-friendly, but you could be undoing all of your hard work if you don’t have the right energy provider. Is it really worth taking the bus instead of driving if your home is still powered by fossil fuels? You’re paying money to an energy provider that doesn’t use clean energy, which means that your spending habits go directly against your morals. The good news is, clean energy is more accessible than ever and there are a lot of energy providers that don’t use fossil fuels anymore. Although there are government regulations in place to encourage the use of green energy, the best way to force change is with your spending habits. By switching to green energy, you reduce demand for fossil fuels and encourage more green energy production.
Shop At Independent Businesses
Buying something on Amazon is so quick and easy and it’ll be there in a day or two, but how ethical is it? Buying from big companies that don’t pay their employees that well or engage in other immoral activities isn’t good if you are trying to be more ethical. It’s a lot more ethical to buy from independent local businesses instead. That sale means so much more to them and you’re contributing to the local economy and helping to create jobs for your neighbors, rather than contributing to a big company that doesn’t put back.
People often say that they would love to shop locally but they can’t afford it or they can’t find what they need. Not having enough time is another common excuse, which is why people go for the convenience of online shopping. However, if you go on eBay, there are thousands of small independent businesses with stores on there. The prices are usually about the same as what you find elsewhere online and you can get fast delivery too. As long as you are willing to put a bit more effort into finding good deals, you can still buy from independent businesses online.
Being more ethical with your money is hard because it means making some big changes. You won’t solve all of these issues overnight and it will take some time to gradually improve the way you spend your money, but don’t let that dishearten you. As long as you are making some changes, you’re moving in the right direction. You won’t get it right every time but it’s the effort that counts.