Spend your hard-earned money on things and with companies that reflect your values.

Values spending can have a positive effect on our community, family health, economy and the environment.

Every time we spend our money we are making a choice to support the things that reflect our values, or not. These values can include how we want to live, priorities in our lives, how we feel about the environment or our commitment to our local communities.

How often do you find yourself making the conscious choice of where and how to spend your dollars based on your beliefs and values? Or, do you (like most of us) spend on things that have no correlation to what is truly important to you?

Values-based spending can be as simple as prioritizing building retirement savings over a shopping spree because having a solid retirement fund it important to you. Another example is to choose to buy your cup of coffee from a locally-owned business instead of Starbucks because you value local businesses. Or, is your dream to travel yet you spend your money on clothes, meaning that you aren’t saving for that trip?

In addition, when we turn a blind eye to where our money goes, we are inadvertently supporting the companies and manufactures, even if their practices and policies aren’t in alignment with our own values. If you value fair wages and health insurance as a policy for a business but chose to shop at WalMart, then that is contradicting your values. The same goes for companies that harm the environment or local societies through their business operations or manufacturing. So when you value global environmental conditions, you purchase items that don’t harm our environment through their use or have caused problems where they were made.

How to spend in ways that reflect your values:

  1. List the things that are most important in your life and the values and ideals that you hold.
    • These could be spending time with family, going on vacations, eating out, giving to charity, supporting local economies, fair wages and health insurance, the environment.
    • Here is a great link to help you define those values:
    • What are your values? Mind Tools offers a great way to figure them out.
  2. Look at your spending habits over the past couple of months. If you have used a worksheet to track your spending, use it, or pull up your records on the software you use. List the items by category to get an idea where and to whom your money has gone.
  3. Compare your priority list with your spending list. Does your spending reflect the things you say are most important to you? Or are you spending money on things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things? What’s more important: cable television or fitness? Which do you spend more on?
  4. Keep this list in mind, or in your pocket, so that the next time you have an opportunity to spend money, you choose to, or not, do so in alignment with your values.
  5. Routinely examine your past spending records to make sure that you are spending where you truly want to.

First steps:

Think about each purchase and if what you just bought is in line with your values.

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