Hi– intern Amy here! As a college student, I'm constantly looking for ways to save a few dollars. At the same time, I want to make a difference and make wise decisions with my money and how I live.
Is it possible to do this without breaking the bank? Yes! A total lifestyle change isn't always achievable or affordable (hello, life + tuition), but it is possible to make small changes. Just do what you can when you can, friend! Here are five ways I try to be ethical and aware:
1. Recycle: This seems so obvious, but it's an easy way to help the environment! Even when I'm at school, I try to take an extra minute to find a recycling bin.
2. Shop at thriftstores: I love a good deal. I also love knowing I'm giving new life to clothes when I shop at thrift stores! Thrifting is a great way to save money and repurpose items that could have been tossed aside.
3. Quality over quantity: Many companies today are producing lots of stuff at low quality for low prices. When I have the money, I try to buy something I know is fair trade instead of a similar item at a lower price. At this point in my life, I'm not able to do this all the time, but that's ok. Don't feel guilty, but do what you can.
4. Shop local / handmade: This one has two benefits! You get to support local businesses and you know exactly where the product comes from. Find out who the small business owners in you area are (and discover where the farmers markets are, too! Who doesn't love fresh, locally-grown produce?!).
5. Collect memories, not things: When I was younger, I was one of those kids who loved stuffed animals. As I get older, I'm beginning to realize that stuff doesn't last. Instead of filling space with extra things, focus on where you are and who you're with. When I go on a trip or visit somewhere fun and want a souvenir, I look for just one thing that has a practical use and will remind me of what I did. However, I usually try to remind myself to take pictures and make memories!
These are just some of the many ways we can start to make an impact right at home! Whether it's recycling or investing in local businesses, do what you can with what you have. We may have different stories and resources, and it's not one-size-fits-all... but we can make a difference and educated decisions– one step at a time! What other ways do you try to live ethically? Please share them with us!