In addition to paying attention to your budget, and your savings goals, there is something else you may want to watch as you shop – your social responsibility. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to tell you how you should spend your money in this post – your choices are yours and yours alone.)
There are a lot of companies out there. But how much do you really know about the places where you spend your money? There are a lot of ways you can choose to spend your money. Maybe you prefer to buy local and shop at small businesses rather than larger companies. Maybe you like to buy American made. Maybe you like to shop at companies that support causes you believe in.
Right now, there is a lot of press about the companies that support the NRA. And some people are choosing to support these companies, others are choosing to boycott them or press them to drop their affiliation.
Just to put my personal view out there – I don’t think NRA members are bad at all. I grew up in a big hunting area and have many friends who are NRA members. That said, I do strongly disagree with some of their lobbying. In sum: NRA members – cool. NRA lobbying – not cool.
Following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, companies starting severing their ties with the NRA. One of the first was First National Bank of Omaha, who announced they wouldn’t renew their NRA Visa card. Since then, a number of other companies are cutting their ties. Unfortunately for NRA members, this frequently means that they are eliminating discounts. Some of the companies that have decided to stop their discounts include Delta, Hertz, Best Western, Wyndham, and MetLife. And people are currently pressuring Amazon to drop the NRA network from their AmazonPrime coverage.
Other companies have decided to retain their affiliation with the NRA.
And it’s not just companies that are offering discounts to NRA members or NRA branded credit cards. I’m a cyclist, and in the cycling community, there is currently a conversation about who owns some of the brands we use. Vista Outdoor is the largest ammunition manufacturer in the US and they make an AR15-type assault rifle. They also own Bell, Giro, Camelbak, and Copilot, companies that make some pretty great bike gear. Vista Outdoor is, naturally, also a big supporter of the NRA.
There is currently a call to boycott all of those bike brands because of their affiliation with the NRA. But maybe you support the NRA and this makes you want to support those brands. This is where you are using your money to reflect social responsibility.
Of course, there is social responsibility and fiscal responsibility and you have to balance the two. I recently purchased a new bike helmet. It’s made by Giro. Now, I have two options here. Wear the helmet or get a new helmet. Good bike helmets aren’t cheap. This one cost around $250. And right now, I’m not sure I have the funds to replace it. My old helmet is a few years old, and bike helmets have an expiration date (as the foam can become brittle) so it’s not the safest to wear right now.
So my current plan is to wear the Giro helmet. They already have my money and I can’t afford another new helmet right now. But that said, when it’s time to buy a new helmet (or any other new bike gear), I will be paying attention to where my money goes. It’s all about balancing your budget with your social responsibility.
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.