“Am I selling out if I don’t buy the $14 deodorant?” This is a question I was asked last week by a good friend. The obvious answer to this question is “Who needs $14 deodorant? That’s absurd!” However, the inquiry about expensive deodorant came from a deeper place.
There are only a couple brands of deodorant that are both antiperspirants and deodorants and are not tested on animals. Both are on the pricey side. By paying $14 for one of these products, my friend was putting her money where her mouth is. Rather than simply talking about the importance of using animal-friendly products, my friend was shopping for change. She was making a statement about her beliefs through the product she was purchasing.
This is something I have been struggling with lately. In addition to directly donating money to causes I believe in, I am a huge believer in shopping for change. I buy organic, avoid animal tested products, shop at mom and pop stores, buy local, and purchase recycled products whenever possible. I encourage others to do so also.
Unlike doing the right thing by buying a hybrid car that will save you money on gas, or an energy efficient washer and dryer that will save you money on electricity, there is no return on investment by purchasing $14 deodorant that is animal friendly. It will not save you money in the long run, but it will help the world be a slightly better place. The hope is that if enough of us shop for change, the cumulative effect may influence companies with poor practices. By spending your money on products you believe in, you are also supporting the values of earth-friendly companies. Your purchase helps to keep them in business.
The problem is that putting your money where your mouth is can get expensive. Often, the reason a lot of companies do things like test on animals, outsource to other countries, or take advantage of their employees is that it is cheap and easy. By saving money and time, products produced by unfriendly companies usually are less expensive. In order to stand up for what you believe in, you have to be willing to spend more. Shopping like this was all fine and good when I had enough money to uphold my values. However, believing in shopping for change can get expensive.
When you are living within a tight budget, do you have to give up some of your beliefs?
This may be a question many of us are currently asking ourselves. From the number of coupons and purchase incentives my friends and I have been receiving, it looks like the conscientious companies may be hurting for business. Among us, we’ve received purchase incentives to Kiehl’s and Origins, as well as coupons for Freshall brands that support earth- and animal-friendly practices, but are more expensive than many other cosmetic brands. Until recently, I have gladly shelled out for my Origins skin products. Now, my coupons are sitting around unused.
Since I started going broke, the question of supporting my values through shopping is something I have come back to many times. The everyday choices that I used to feel good about have started to require a lot more thought. I find myself at the grocery store debating if I really needed to buy the organic apples, or at the drugstore picking out the shampoo that is least expensive, instead of the one that comes in the partially recycled bottle and is made with natural, earth-friendly ingredients. I don’t know if using sage and lavender to help wash my hair really makes a difference in how my hair looks, but using natural ingredients makes more sense to me than rubbing chemicals on my head that I can’t pronounce.