Monday, November 3, 2014

The Christmas Challenge: Shop Stores that Give Back

Did you ever study econmics? Now, I am no economics expert, but I did take the class in high school. One of the concepts that stuck with me is 
"there is no such thing as a free lunch"
Basically, this means that if you get something for free or really cheap, someone is still paying for it even if it is not you.  In other words if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

There are a million examples... but I will use something I know a lot about- cloth diapers (and stick with me even if you have no interest in cloth diapers, I promise I have a point :)) 
People ask me all the time why I would spend $20 a diaper when there are places I could spend $5 (or less) a diaper. This is very tempting especially for someone as cheap frugal as me. But it comes down to this, someone is paying for that $5 dollar and it is probably someone that is working to gather the goods to produce the product overseas. They are paying for it by working in dismal conditions and/or not making a fair wage or both.  I don't want my baby, myself or anyone in my family wearing (or using) something that was produced in that way if I can so prevent it.  

So what do we do about this?  How so we buy gifts and assurance that we are not supporting dismal work conditions, unfair wages or even slavery just so we can get a new sweater?

1) Do your research.

This can be painful.  It can take a little more time and effort than running to the closest mega store.  But do it.  One great resource that  have found is Free2Work.  The give an A+ to an F rating to apparel companies, toy companies, coffee companies and more!  They go to each brand and ask them 61 questions for each of the three stages of production.  The question fall into four categories- policies, transparency and traceability, monitoring and training and workers rights.  It might be a bit convicting… go over there and check out your favorite stores.  See how they do.

Take is a step further and...

2) Shop Stores that Give Back...

Some stores take it a step further.  Each of these company's goals is slightly different, but their over arching theme is to give back.  Some have people working in specific countries in fair environments for fair wages.  This helps build the economy of the country giving real people real skills.  Others raise funds for orphans and vulnerable children.  These are my favorites and I recommend adding a few to your Christmas list.

The Sound of Hope

Noonday Collection

My pick… this necklace 

Raven + Lilly

Mata Traders

The Root Collective

There are lots more…

Also… if you have another, email me or comment below, I would love to add it!

3) Give a Gift that Someone Else Receives...

For the person that says they don't want anything or does not need anything.  You don't have to give a physical item at all to your friend or relative!

And I know there are more… send them my way friends and I will add them!

Week 2: Shop stores that give back!
Week 3: Shop Local/WAHMs!
Week 4: Make gifts!
Week 5: Serve!

Want to see the whole series???
Follow along….

So I hope you will think about.  How are you going to shop this season in a way that gives back?



  1. Good thoughts.... what we do impacts others.

  2. Great tips! I also like shopping places like Etsy stores where you know the money is going to help out a person/family instead of a big corporation.

  3. I'm not sure how they rank in your link above but Mary Kay makes all it's products in America, Dallas Texas to be exact and you can go there and tour the plant. They also donate a lot of money to research cancers that effect women and to stop domestic violence including supporting/ sponsoring at least 2 woman's shelters in EVERY state. Plus when you buy from Mary Kay you are helping the consultant, supporting a local person/family. I really like a lot of direct sales companies, I know who gets the commissions off what I buy. Just my 2 cents :)

  4. This is awesome. Thank you for sharing! It's always nice to know of companies that give back to others and that we can be part of that.

  5. Great tips and ideas, thank you for sharing at Good Morning Mondays, blessings

  6. Great tips. I need to work on being more frugal for Christmas shopping.

  7. I love the heart of these posts, Stasia! I think that it is so important to spend our money wisely. Any time we can bless others, it does my heart so much good. Another great idea for Christmas gifts is to participate in the Advent Conspiracy. You can read about that in my post called Christmas in July. Thanks so much for working to spread the love! ~Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

  8. I LOVE your thoughts on shopping at stores that give back. There are two primary grocery chains in my area (they aren't the only grocery stores or chains in the area but definitely the longest established and w/ the highest number of stores). My preferred store is locally owned, and sometimes a bit more expensive than the other stores in the area - both the other major chain and other shops. However, I am still happy to shop here because both the company and the family which owns it are very charitable. Many years ago my father worked for the company, and so I know that the couple who owns the chain tithes. What I like the most however is that not only does this couple give a lot of their money to charity, they give to some of the EXACT same causes which are important to me and that I would be giving a lot too if I could afford to do so. They are huge supporters of education, Catholic schools and the pro-life movement. As an added bonus to me the husband is an alum of my college and they have made the largest donation in school history twice! I love that you highlighted companies that give back and I will be definitely checking them out as I plan my Christmas shopping :)