Our wallets have high demands. Young people are expected to financially prepare for their future, keep businesses afloat, and open their pockets for the causes they care about all at the same time. Finding meaning in our monetary choices can be hard in a consumer-driven culture, where it’s challenging to stay true to our ethics and also stay afloat in tough economic times.
Life is all about balance, and taking care of your financial life while making a social impact can help you find this meaning. Our money can do more for environmental and social causes with a little preparation and research. None of the following tips require drastic lifestyle changes or perfection, but adjusting a few habits can help you go farther with your financial support.
We all wish we could do more to empower local economies and reduce waste. You can make sure your purchases, investments and donations are doing as much as possible with these tips.
Shopping to Support Your Local Businesses
This isn’t groundbreaking information, but shopping to support your local businesses is essential. Shopping local helps that small business owner pay their mortgage by the end of the month and put food on their family’s table at the end of the night, rather than giving your hard-earned money to a giant corporation. It also supports the employees in your region who depend on these jobs.
There’s more to the story, however. It’s not just about supporting owners — it’s a multiplier effect. One study of the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan indicated that for every $100 spent with a local business, $73 remained to support the community — money that impacts local wages, economic growth, and tax support for government services. The same spending at a major corporation only circulated $43 within the region.
Whether you’re at home or traveling abroad, spending your money within the community can have far-reaching impacts on the wellbeing of all people who live there. Focus on making the most of every dollar by purchasing locally made food, goods and services.
Put Stock in Impact Investments
Financial investments in stocks and crypto-currency have been increasing in popularity for young people and dominated conversations on social media this past year. But what’s often left out of that conversation is that there’s an interesting trend happening in young people who are looking into investment options.
Survey data indicates that 69% of people aged 18 to 32 feel their investments should reflect environmental and social values. This is where the growth of impact investing comes into play.
This type of investing allows you to put your money into organisations that have a lasting and positive impact on the world around you.
With impactful investments, you can support pro-social efforts working in education, energy, health care, water and forestry defense, and many more. Organizations who seek this kind of investment might be renewable energy companies, non-profits, or financial institutions that focus on underserved communities, among others.
Impact investing differs from charity because you get a return on your investment, so it is still meant to help young people grow their wealth and prepare for their financial future. But you’re still positively influencing national and global causes, helping you do more good with your retirement and investment goals.
Making Small Donations Go Farther
Many of us get discouraged if our budget doesn’t allow for major donations. Is our money actually making a difference if it’s in small increments? Actually, yes!
Some organisations are adopting a feature that allows you to round up your receipt balance to the nearest dollar and donate it to local charities. Doing this is a small act that generates even more money for these philanthropies. For example, one zoo in this marketing study used this method instead of asking for donations directly and raised 21% more donations per transaction.
If you have a tight budget, consider that donating in small increments and encouraging others to join you can have a far-reaching positive impact. Asking friends to match small donations or making donations a monthly routine can result in greater impact over time, helping charitable organizations count on small dollar funding from their community.
Make Sure Your Money Has a Positive Impact
Making your own environmental and social impacts starts with you and is completely manageable. From knowing where to shop locally, investing with impactful organisations, and contributing to local charities, you have the power to make a difference in your community. Support the people around you, and they’ll support you, too.
Author Bio: Evelyn Long is a writer and the editor-in-chief of Renovated. Her work focuses on green building and sustainability initiatives.