People often say that where we put our money speaks to the values we hold. Which begs the question, are you using your money for good?
I personally am a believer in charity and donating to others, however that is not what I am talking about here. I am referring to a different way we can use our money for a different kind of good.
I am talking about the idea that as a consumer, your money has the ability to persuade and influence businesses based on the decisions you make, where you put your money and whom you give it to. Often, we as consumers want to find the best bargain but we must pause and ask ourselves at what cost? Are we putting our safety or those of our loved ones at risk? Are we contributing to terrorism or criminal networks? Although this may sound extreme, it is very often the case when we purchase counterfeit goods, knowingly or unknowingly. In fact, Homeland Security just published an article confirming counterfeiting is linked to organized crime. Counterfeit goods are often inferior products that closely resemble a brand or attempt to act as that brand and thus trick consumers into buying it. This appears in almost every industry from knock off handbags to mock medicine and poses real dangers as CBP references in, “Fake Goods, Real Dangers”.
The idea of using our money to determine an outcome reminds me of shopping for groceries and how buying organic was not always as available and affordable as it is today. Regardless of your thoughts on this idea, because consumers came together and jointly put their money into organic goods, brands and businesses responded. Surprisingly, these items were also often more costly. However, because consumers chose to buy these healthier deemed items for themselves and their loved ones even with a higher price tag, businesses and brands evolved and grocery stores and food industries now look much different than they used to. The industry had to react to the trend that the market was moving and meet the needs of their consumers. This is the buying power we as consumers have and should employ.
However, this organic trend did not happen overnight. It started with knowledge and small consumer changes. Likewise, if we all took a few small steps, together, those small changes could persuade and influence the goods that ultimately end up in our homes and with our loved ones. To me, what good is a bargain bike helmet if it does not protect our heads? Moreover, what kind of a deal is a pacifier if we are putting toxic elements into our babies’ mouths? Or, if we buy fake look-alike shoes and are handing our money over to criminal networks?
So, before you click “proceed to checkout” on your next online purchase, ask yourself a few quick questions, “Is this deal too good to be true?” If it appears to be significantly cheaper than similar and authentic versions, look elsewhere. “Is this a legitimate seller?” If you are not sure, check with the brand or on their website. I have had firsthand experience with brands offering me a great deal for asking the question and choosing authentic. Lastly, “what are other consumers saying?” If you quickly scan the reviews and see a lot of variance among reviewers or someone indicating it might be fake, look elsewhere.
If you believe that your money reflects your values, will you choose to use your money for good?