Updated: Feb 4
Make a difference with your deposits this holiday season
As someone who was raised in a small, progressive church, consumerism was a topic I heard a lot about during the holidays, both on Sundays and throughout the week from my parents. They both taught me that the message of Christmas had been lost in the widespread mania surrounding the “presents” part of the holiday, and that the real purpose of Christmas was to celebrate the birth of Christ and to spend time with your loved ones. I’m personally no longer a religious person, but that message has always resonated with me, especially while watching friends struggle the whole month before the holiday trying to scrape together the funds to buy gifts.
The hustle can also make us forget where that money we spent is going. Although I did stop by my local fair-trade artisan shop, I’ll admit it: I ended up buying some presents on Amazon, which I originally intended to avoid, simply because I procrastinated and no one else would ship on time. Additionally, for those without a lot of funds or much time off, online mega-retailers like Amazon are often the best option, because it prevents a trip to the store and can often be much cheaper.
Where we spend our money matters, but sometimes it seems as though ethical consumerism is impossible, especially when you’re buying on a budget. Even if you have unlimited funds, occasionally the good or service you’re looking for is only provided by a couple of giant corporations; try finding an ethical streaming service. Often it feels like you’re just picking the better of two evils, and that no matter how hard you try, it’s nearly impossible to get through a day without giving your money to someone that’s using it dishonorably.
One of the easiest ways to divert some of the guilt you may be feeling is to change where you bank. Banks and credit unions can leverage your deposit, meaning that for every dollar you deposit in a Better Banking Option, they can make $10 in loans. When you move your money to a bank that effectively lends to small businesses and low- and moderate-income housing, you make sure that your money is making a positive difference in the world--even if it’s just sitting in your checking account until your next Amazon purchase.
While it may not be possible for you to find a bank in your area that is a super-effective lender, it’s enough to get your money away from the really bad guys--the megabanks. Additionally, near-monopolies in the banking industry guarantee that those at the top don’t have any kind of accountability to their customers or to the economy. This is where the phrase “too big to fail” comes from--the biggest banks don’t have to operate responsibly, because they hold so many assets that the government MUST bail them out no matter how they get into trouble.
So essentially, we urge anyone looking to do some good with their money this holiday season to move their money to a Better Bank. In the age where ethical consumerism can be difficult, it’s the easiest way to make a big difference. When you move your deposits from a megabank to a local banking institution, it’s not only stopping your support of some pretty terrible corporations, but it also brings capital into your community that will enable true wealth building. That’s definitely something we can all feel good about this holiday season!