Being good with your money can be about more than just bagging a bargain in the shops, or getting favourable returns on your savings.
Where you choose to put your hard-earned cash can also have a positive impact on wider society and the environment.
Keen to know more about how to do good with your money? From making sure your pension is invested in funds that marry up with your values, to mindful shopping and supporting your local community, here are some tips from Good Money Week campaigns director Charlene Cranny…
Know your values
Have a think about your ethics, what you stand for and what you’d be happy for your money to support – and equally what you would not feel comfortable with your money supporting. Is renewable energy your passion point, or shopping Fairtrade, or ensuring that the local community is invested in?
Have you recently gone meat-free or cut down on your use of plastic? Referring back to your values will help to guide you through your actions.
Mention the pension
Around 9.3 million of us will be contributing to workplace pensions by the end of this year, which means millions upon millions of pounds are being invested in the name of the UK’s workforce.
But in new research, more than half (53.3%) of those surveyed stated that they had no idea where their pensions are being invested.
Finding out can be done simply by asking your boss or HR manager to check whether it’s invested in funds that match up with your values.
Many pension providers offer an “ethical” or “sustainable” option – but it may not have been used as your default. And some pension providers can even let you change your fund yourself online, making it really simple.
Change current accounts
Thanks to initiatives such as the current account switch service (Cass), it has never been easier to move on. Co-operative Bank, for example, has a customer-led ethical policy. And Triodos Bank has an ethical investment policy and publishes details of the organisations it finances.
Shift your savings
Even the most bog-standard savings account will be sending your hard-earned pennies somewhere, so have a look around at how you could be using your savings more positively.
Consider “green” energy
The number of providers supplying renewable energy in the UK has increased in recent years, with green energy suppliers including Bulb, Ecotricity and Good Energy.
Support your local community
When you do need to shop, you may want to try going local.
As well as more cash staying on your local high street and benefiting the surrounding economy, produce may have had a relatively short “field-to-fork” journey. Supporting local farmers can also mean that the food may be wrapped in less single-use plastic packaging.
Some investment platforms offer investments that have a positive impact on the environment and society. You could try making a small commitment and see what happens.