Monetary Influence: a Little Shopping List.

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On Sunday, Vince’s message got at the ways we can use money to our advantage. Money itself isn’t “bad” or “good,” but it is a tool. We can use money to gain money later, use money to gain influence later, or use money to gain eternal rewards later.

Now, this might be a little intimidating. One of the biggest issues that we as American consumers need to consider is the fact that how we use our money impacts and has influences in ways that are hard to keep track of. I took a quiz yesterday to see what my “slavery footprint” was, and was shocked that it was 35. According to my possessions I tracked, and the things I buy on a regular basis, I have 35 slaves working for me. 

Now it isn’t like I’m actively employing slaves or whatever; I don’t consciously go out and buy stuff for myself thinking about where it came from. I don’t really think about it much at all. And that’s the problem. If money is a tool, something we use to influence the world, and if we want to influence for good, it’s important to be mindful of where our money goes, and what it’s contributing to in the world. 

In that spirit, I’ve come up with a small list of places where you can buy stuff and know that your dollars are influencing the world and people for good. 

1.) Out of Print: As a former English major and avid reader in general, I’m a big fan of this company. Basically, they are a clothing and accessory company that takes their designs from out-of-print editions of classic literature. So that’s pretty cool; my husband Jeff has their Watership Down shirt, and I think he looks pretty dapper in it. But here’s the even better part: for every item you purchase from them, they give a book to a kid in need through their partner, Books for Africa. 

2.) Warby Parker: Like Out of Print, Warby Parker is a business that gives something away when you buy something from them. Here, it’s awesome hipster glasses you can get for $95, so it’s actually a great deal. For every pair of glasses you buy from them, they give a pair of glasses to someone who needs them and can’t afford them. They also partner with different non-profits to invest in low-income entrepreneurs to start their own businesses in selling affordable glasses. 

3.) Noonday Collection: Okay, so maybe the dudes won’t be super excited about this one. But this could be helpful when they’re buying their moms something for their birthdays. Noonday is a Christian company that supports women in struggling economic conditions around the world by giving them work as designers and jewelry makers. Their jewelry gets sold by reps and through the company, and these women are thereby able to support themselves and their families. I love this company and own a couple necklaces (and I’ve had total strangers compliment me on them, too).

4.) H&M: These guys don’t necessarily need any publicity or anything, but they recently made a change in business that no other major retailer has done: after that sweatshop in Bangladesh collapsed and killed over 1,000 people, they decided to reevaluate their clothing production and working conditions in their factories. They made the decision to raise their clothing prices so that their workers could be given a fair wage. 

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