At dignify, we’ve discovered that when someone buys one of our ethical goods, like a kantha blanket, they seem to love it more and more after they’ve purchased it. We think this delight is the satisfaction of money well spent: the joy of discovering that you’ve purchased something that was worth its value, and further, that it has impacted the world & people in it for good.
It would be excellent if all of the products I use, the clothes I wear, the gifts I buy, the food I eat, could be sourced thoughtfully, crafted with care, made of lasting quality, created by people who are treated well and thriving in their work. I wish it were so!
If this were my reality, I would never need to think about my purchases and the trail of my money. But, it certainly is not mine, and my sense is that it isn’t yours, either.
In small & steady ways, figuring it out as we go along.
“Put your money where your mouth is,” says the old cliché. Sounds easy! If you have unlimited resources of time & money. And if you never make compromises.
So let’s get real, because there are far too many tensions in life for it to be that easy. Instead, “Throw out the guilt trips, give up on the jargon, and look in the mirror.”* Or, rather, look in the wallet!
Our purchases are integral to our life – one of the most regular, persistent spheres of our influence. Let’s go forward together, exploring the tensions, trying to do a little bit better, be a little bit more thoughtful, & bring a little bit more flourishing to the world, one purchase at a time!
*A quote from Berlin Reed, "The Ethical Butcher",
a champion of thoughtfulness in eating
The Enneagram is super popular right now as a typology of nine interconnected personality types. I am familiar with the Enneagram and while it hasn’t been a particularly impactful tool for me personally, I value the depth of the insight and the common language it provides.
Similarly, Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies framework provides definition and a vernacular to what is already present in ourselves. For me, this one has resounded like a deafening gong in my ears & in my life!
Over the last year or so, I've made a conscious priority to read books written by — or written from the perspective of — people different than me. As a white, rich person (and I have a job, a bachelor's degree, a house, 2 cars, and 3 computers, so that sounds pretty rich to me; maybe not in the 1%, but high enough), I have a pretty limited perspective. Also, our culture is essentially designed for me to thrive, so it's easy to take that all for granted.
Books, both non-fiction and creative stories, have a way of landing you right in the viewpoint of an other, and I am so grateful for that gift; it's one of the best things about reading.
Conversations about money can be awkward, but having uncomfortable talks, at age appropriate times, will set up our children's essential, lifelong skill in handling money well. Allowance is a key tool to teaching these money management skills.
Money, along with politics and religion, is often considered impolite conversation to have outside of yourself & maybe (hopefully?) your spouse. How much do we spend on groceries, gas bill, or date nights? Is this car payment normal? We are often afraid, or at least reluctant, to compare any of these details… R. Paul Stevens said the proverbial fig leaf from the Garden of Eden has moved from our naked bodies to our bank accounts!
Add kids into these conversations, and there is an additional layer of hesitancy: kids can be notorious loud-mouths!