How to be an ethical spender

We are facing an environmental crisis. Deforestation and rising CO2 emissions have brought us face-to-face with a problem no one is able to solve. Climate change, and its effects on our planet, mean we must stop and think.

Everything that you do impacts our environment.

We all know that there are ways of becoming more sustainable, from the way we travel to the way we communicate. But what about our money?

Spending ethically is something you can do to combat climate change. And you’ll be surprised to know it’s actually really easy. It’s just becoming more conscious about the way you spend money. Whether you are saying goodbye to fast fashion or choosing ethical brands, there are plenty of ways that you can become an ethical spender.

What is Ethical Spending?

Spending your money ethically means thinking about the impact that your behaviour is having on the community, environment and economy. It’s not about being tight or scrimping on your purchases. It’s not even about donating to Greenpeace. To become an ethical spender, you just need to spend a couple of seconds thinking about the way your purchase, investment or savings account will impact the world around you.

Without realising you might already be doing that. Young people are the most likely to take sustainability into account when choosing a brand. If you already do that then give yourself a pat on the back. You’ve made the first step towards becoming an ethical spender, but let’s be honest. We can all do better.

How can you become an Ethical Spender?

Think Sustainable

The first thing you can do is choose ethical brands. This could mean shopping locally, so you are contributing to your local economy, supporting small businesses and individuals along the way. Or, it could mean choosing brands that promote sustainable business practice and are taking necessary steps to reduce their carbon footprint.

Drop the High Street

Secondly, you can stay away from the high street. I know I said that ethical spending isn’t about tightening your purse strings, but the problem with high street fashion is that we are all guilty of over shopping. We buy cheap clothes, wear them once or twice and then leave them in our wardrobe whilst we hit the shops again - fast fashion.
These purchases aren’t ethical as the brands offering these products sacrifice sustainability to offer the lowest possible price. This is why so many people are living minimally, challenging themselves by living with a capsule wardrobe to become an ethical spender.

Go Green

When you’re still at home it’s hard to control your utilities. Your parents will need a lot of convincing before they switch to a green supplier. That doesn’t mean you can’t start looking and put some plans in place for when you move out.

There are plenty of utility companies that offer a green alternative to gas and electric. Some use renewable energy rather than burning through our fossil fuels. Others give something back to the planet by planting trees and switching to electric vehicles. By choosing a green energy supplier, you’re spending ethically.

Are you ready to become an Ethical Spender?

See. I told you it was easy. Becoming an ethical spender is all about thinking about your money before you spend, save or invest it. You don’t need to make any cutbacks (except fast fashion of course). You just need to make smart decisions.

Choose brands that support your local economy. If you can’t do that then make sure that the brands you buy are doing something good. Stop buying things you don’t need and won’t use. Do some research into green energy suppliers so you’re ready for when you move out. And save or invest your money with an ethical supplier. You’re aiming for sustainability. What can you do that helps the environment, community and economy? You can become an ethical spender.

Please note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the opinion or policy of OneFamily.


Written by Natalka Antoniuk, June 2020. Natalka runs a finance blog where she writes about all things money related, from earning to saving it. Find her blog at