How often do you think about money?  Probably daily.  Whether it’s in the purchases you’re making or the salary you’re being paid, money is a constant in everyone’s lives.  Most of us try to spend our money as consciously as possible, hopefully making purchases from eco-friendly producers, buying local and organic food, and more.  What’s tricky is that there are many many layers to the classic phrase voting with your dollars.  It delves deeper than the items we buy; it should also be considered when seeking out services.  Sometimes our well-earned money is used by the banks we deposit it in to fund a toxic chemical company, or invest in bad mortgages, or goes to support mountaintop removal mining.  Use your influence when choosing banks, credit card companies, and even cell-phone providers.  Here is an excerpt from Planet Home on how to go about this wisely:

To put your money in banks that have a set of values and a focus that are aligned with yours, begin by searching for an independent bank or a community investment bank.  You may run into a neighborhood bank exclusively focused on investing in low-income houseing or helping people start small businesses.  Read the fine print.  HSBC has dubbed itself the world’s “local” bank, which is like saying Wal-Mart is a local grocery store.  If you cannot find a community bank near you, choose one elsewhere.  Most banking can be done by mail, e-mail, and ATMs, so you’re not limited by geography.  The largest resource for socially and environmentally responsible banks and credit unions, plus financial planners, credit cards, mutual funds, and even retirement options is the Social Investment Forum.  Neighborhood groups, parenting boards, and friends and family may also lead you to some good conscious options.

It’s arguably easier to find green companies to invest in than it is to find a socially responsible bank; and locating that kind of bank is easier still than finding a holistic insurance provider.  The same websites that will help locate a better bank (below) can lead to a better insurance provider, though they are few and far between.  If you can’t find one, ask your current insurance company how it invests its money and see what you think of the answer.

http://ussif.org/

http://www.greenamerica.org/

http://www.greenmoneyjournal.com/