Please note that I am not endorsing or supporting any candidate or cause with this post. I use a few examples in here, but the examples were chosen solely for clarity.
My wife and I both are heavily interested in politics, and since we happen to live in Iowa (one of the traditional “early” states in the nominating process for President), we often throw ourselves deeply into the campaigns of candidates we support. That usually means dollars, and we’ve both made donations to our preferred candidates.
The question is what does that money really mean? For people who are well-off, it usually means just cutting a check from the ol’ fat bank account, but most people aren’t in that boat. A donation of any size, for many people, is a challenge because of the expenses of their day to day lives.
Change Your Light Bulbs For Kucinich?
At the same time, many Americans spend money in a highly inefficient manner that actually betrays the political and personal values that they stand for.
Here’s an example: many people who express a strong belief in environmental causes might consider supporting Dennis Kucinich – here’s a sample of his views on the environment. If you support Kucinich and are also an environmentalist, why not take a stand and do something environmentally positive that also puts cash in your pocket – then donate that cash to Kucinich’s campaign?
Spend a weekend making your home and automobile as energy efficient as you can. Change the light bulbs in your home to CFLs. Install a programmable thermostat and set it so that your air conditioning or furnace doesn’t run during the day. Air up the tires on your car to the maximum level indicated in your car’s manual. There are lots of things you can do.
Then, calculate how much this will save you over the next three months and donate that money to Kucinich’s campaign.
You can follow similar logic for any candidate you might want to support. Here are a couple more ideas:
Eat At Home For Ron Paul Libertarian-minded people might want to practice self-sustainability by preparing all of their own food for three months instead of eating out, then donate that saved money to Paul’s campaign.
Give Up A Bad Habit For Barack Obama Obama gave up smoking to improve his health. Why not challenge yourself to give up a bad habit for a greater cause? Quit smoking, quit drinking, quit eating fatty foods, quit drinking sugary sodas, quit watching television – find something that eats at your health and your dollars and challenge yourself to give it up, then donate that money to Obama’s campaign.
Turn Off Your Television For NPR If you’re an NPR listener, this is a good one to try. Whenever you might watch television, instead turn on your radio to NPR and find something else to do. The energy use is far, far less. Then, during fund drives, donate the difference to public broadcasting.
Keep The Progress Going
Once you’ve tried this and the campaigns are over, you might find that it wasn’t all that big of a change after all and continue doing it. This will do nothing but improve your financial situation. Even better, you could find yourself giving that saved money to another cause that you believe in – there are many worthwhile charities out there that you could donate your money to.