Become an expert: a sustainable approach to finances

Have you ever wondered if your financial choices were somehow damaging the planet? Were you trying to find ways in which you could improve this aspect of your money managing skills? If so, we have the answer for you.

If you want to have a more socially conscious approach to money managing, you can try the Aspiration Spend & Save Account.

What is it Aspiration?

Aspiration claims to be “a new kind of financial partner that puts customers and their conscience first.” They donate to charity 10% of each dollar that customers choose to pay in fees —what? “Choose to pay”? Yes, with Aspiration you get to decide whether you pay fees or not, and how much. 

They also offer cashback and interest rates way above average, with the promise that you won’t use your deposits towards funding firearms, fossil fuels, or private prisons. Right now, Aspiration is offering its new customers a hundred dollar credit when you reach a total of $1,000 spent using their debit card.

What is a Spend and Save account?

Aspiration is not a bank, but a broker-dealer registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 
That being said, the money you hold at a Spend and Save account is actually held at partner institutions, which are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and your money is covered by that same insurance, up to $2,000,000.

The Spend and Save account is an account that pays an annual percentage yield (APY) of up to 1% on savings while providing you cash back for each dollar you spend using their debit card. In addition to that, you get more cashback if you spend your money on socially conscious businesses.

They also allow you to track your carbon footprint online. Your account dashboard will show information about the businesses where you spend your money and part of that information is how they score on environmental sustainability.

Great climate change investments to help you save the world

Climate change has an impact on our world and many of us want to do better to help the environment. You can make a lot of small changes to reduce the threat, but there is also a way of using your money to help fight it. 

You can be a part of this change while getting both financial and social returns. It’s called impact investment and it was once considered an option for people with a significant amount of money, but it is becoming more and more accessible to middle-income investors.

Here are some options worth considering:

1-    Motif Climate Change Index Fund

This fund is comprised of 25 stocks that include companies in clean energy, energy management, agriculture, clean water distribution, and more. The fund has had a return rate of 31.5% in the past year. 
Motif also offers investment options that focus on fair labor practices and ethical corporate behavior.

2-    Etho Climate Leadership Index

This fund selects the most carbon-efficient companies across different industries. It has eliminated investments from fossil fuels, tobacco, weapons, and gambling. They have a rigorous screening policy based on ESG (environment, social, and governance) performance data.

3-    Fidelity’s U.S. Sustainability Index Fund

Fidelity’s ESG funds enable you to align your investment with long-term trends considered important to the overall sustainability of a business.

This fund will provide you a way to invest in companies that are responding to consumer demand for sustainable practices, or that are committed to a diverse and inclusive workspace, among others.

4-    Vanguard’s FTSE Social Index Fund

Vanguard’s FTSE Social Index Fund seeks to track the performance of an index that measures the investment returns of large and mid-capitalization stocks. Its performance has had ups and downs, but the past year provided the best return in its history at 20.41%.

It’s all about small changes: curb these wasteful habits!

There are some little spendings that you can cut on a daily basis. In the same way that you don't realize that you have these expenses, you won't miss them. In the end, you may save a lot of money!

Stop buying bottled water

Instead of buying bottled water when you exercise outdoors, or when you've lunch at work, you can take your own bottle and refill it with tap water. Additionally, you'll help the environment by reducing the use of plastic water on your daily basis. 

Time to quit smoking!

There are some bad habits that are against your health, and they cost you lots of money! Take a look at your cigarette pack and make some numbers. How much are you spending on smoking each month? You can quit smoking and put this money in a saving box to realize how much were you wasting on this habit.

Cut the junk food

Are fast-food restaurants your first option when it's time for dinner? Not only you're wasting a lot of money, but you're also not eating properly. Homemade food is the best way to save money in this field. You can plan your weekly meals, and then do your grocery shopping benefiting from coupons.

Here are some other food saving tips to take into account!

Review your cellphone plan

You may be paying too much for your cellphone plan if you have it for a long time. Sometimes it’s easy to forget just how much it costs, and you could end up paying much more than you realize. Check your bills and negotiate with your provider.

You can compare prices in order to get a better deal!

Try unknown brands

When it comes to clothes, accessories, Bazar items, or even sunglasses, well-known brands have much higher prices than generic ones. You can find alternatives of similar quality and you'll save a lot of money purchasing the same articles.

Check your bank fees

There are some cases when you're overspending in your banking and you don't realize. For example, by withdrawing money in an ATM that belongs to another bank. If you can get out of the banking system, you should put your money in a credit union and skip bank fees.

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