Simple Tips to Become a Better, More Caring Consumer

Yes, you may have a big heart. Yes, you may be known as the supportive friend, but if you’re anything like me you constantly ask yourself: what can I do to do MORE? Maybe you’re tired of the stereotypical “American” mentality of consume, consume, consume, or maybe you’re just in the spirit of giving back. It’s time to translate your kind and friendly demeanor into your consumer habits.

You can carry my tips below throughout the year and maybe you’ll even want to turn a few into lifetime habits. Whatever the case, I’m covering some simple tips you can feel good about. Here’s to shopping with a conscience:

  1. Use Reusable Bags When You Go Shopping- Reusable bags aren’t only more stylish than the drab plastic bag, they’re also eco-friendly. When I stayed in France over the summer I soon found out that plastic bags are costly (for the environment & my wallet). I quickly bought a few cheap reusable bags and have been using them ever since! Whole Foods & Trader Joe’s are good places to look.

 

  1. Get a Water Purifier & Reusable Water Bottle- Why? You can pour fresh, purified water into a reusable water bottle and stop with the hazardous use of plastic bottles.

 

  1. Use a Reusable Travel Mug- If you’re a big coffee person and make constant trips to coffee shops, you should think about investing in a travel mug. Places like Starbucks will fill your mug up & soon you will learn to never leave the house without one!

 

  1. Buy Ethically and Sustainably Sourced Products- I know what you’re thinking, substantially higher price, right? Not necessarily. Businesses today are looking at sustainability differently than they were years ago and it’s getting more popular than ever! Just do your research. Example: Starbucks announced it reached the milestone of 99% ethically sourced coffee. Yay!

 

  1. Opt For the Non-Dairy Alternative- You may be tired of my coffee references by now but what a difference soy milk in coffee makes instead of cow milk! No mother cow was artificially inseminated, no calf was ripped away from it’s mom, etc. And before you opt for almond milk, read this: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2017/05/25/non-dairy-milk-almond-milk_n_7282908.html

 

  1. Eat a Vegan Meal- Statistics talk, and statistics say that vegan meals save animals (of course) & the environment! Win/win! While one plant-based meal saves 3,000 gallons of water, look at how much you can save over time by giving veganism a try: http://thevegancalculator.com/#calculator

 

  1. Replace Those Lightbulbs- Regular lightbulbs use a lot of energy compared to CFLs “compact fluorescent lights”, about four times as much energy. CFLs are more expensive upfront but last 10 times longer. So, save money on the energy bill and help the environment? Sign me up.

 

  1. Round Up at the Grocery Store- Sometimes at check out, grocery store clerks will ask you if you want to donate to a charity the store is currently sponsoring. Maybe you’re strapped for cash, but what about change? You can round up to the nearest dollar and donate cents to a good cause every time you do your grocery shopping. Just imagine if everyone did this small act!

 

  1. Look For Gifts That Give Back- Shoes, lotions, eyeglasses, and more can now be investments of charitable giving. It’s as easy as knowing where to look. Check out this list for some ideas: http://www.bestproducts.com/lifestyle/news/g1252/gifts-that-give-to-charity/

 

  1.  Shop on Amazon Smile- If you’re an online shopping fiend then you are very familiar with Amazon, but maybe not so much with this relatively new initiative. It doesn’t cost you anything and 0.5 percent of your purchases go directly to the charity of your choice. Just shop at smile.amazon.com instead of amazon.com.

 

  1. Buy Cruelty-Free Products- Cruelty-free is a label for products that do not harm or kill animals (usually by the use of animal testing). Because who would knowingly want to buy mascara that harmed innocent animals? Not I. There are too many options (yes, even at your local Walmart) that are cruelty-free to at least not give it a try. Here is a current list of cruelty-free brands: https://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/list-of-cruelty-free-brands/

I hope you find yourself encouraged to do good and feel good but don’t let charitable shopping be the be-all and end-all. Spread your light into others’ lives wherever and whenever you can. Stay positive, friends.

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