Conscious and Cautious: Responsible Money Spending


Fiani Lin

Sales Signs: Large retailers display deals during the holiday season, December 15, 2022.

          Following the recent holiday season, many Americans struggle to adjust back to a money saving habit. Retailers often utilize tactics throughout the holiday season, especially Black Friday, that encourage people to spend more money. 

          According to The Atlantic, “Last year, The Wall Street Journal tracked an 8 percent rise in prices for about a fifth of the 1,743 products they tracked just before Thanksgiving.”

          As prices are increasing across the board, people should be aware of what they spend their money on and how much they are spending. In 2022, the inflation rate has escalated by 4.1% since the previous year.

          The Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture claims food prices have risen between 9.5% to 10.5% since 2021. The significant jump of prices, especially in essential items, has made it inconvenient and troubling for many to manage their finances, making it more crucial than ever to practice spending responsibly. 

          Rising prices have been a universal concern, especially recently, which makes it especially important for people today to be aware of money saving habits. These money saving tactics are taught in Foran’s personal finance classes, which helps students become educated on how to manage their money. 

          Personal finance teacher Mr. Balestriere says, “Saving money reduces stress. Having that habit built at a young age and carrying that throughout your life is incredibly valuable just from an emotional perspective.”

          One of the most effective saving strategies is establishing needs vs. wants. Although this can be subjective and differs from person to person, it is important to limit spending money on unnecessary items. 

          It is also helpful to track spending by keeping receipts and utilizing a simple spreadsheet, mobile banking apps, or budgeting apps to track how much money is being spent each month and what category they are in. This way, it is easy to reflect on spending habits and where expenses can be taken out the next month. This may include monthly subscriptions or even just realizing too much money is being spent in one category.  

          With this information in mind, a monthly budget can be made for the next month. Without one, it can be easy for people to overspend or forget about their money saving goals. 

          Although it is important to be aware of how much money is being spent, it is equally important for people to be knowledgeable about what their money is contributing towards. 

          While consumers become satisfied with their finished products, those who work for the manufacturer companies must pay the price. Often, major business and retail companies use unethical practices with the money they profit from customers.

          For instance, with the 2022 FIFA World Cup winding down, fans were excited to purchase team jerseys, which are officially distributed by major athletic companies, Nike and Adidas. These jerseys cost roughly around $90 to $100.

          According to the New York Times, workers in Myanmar, who supply the Nike and Adidas jerseys, only earn up to $3 a day.  This staggering amount doesn’t compensate for the work that is put into producing the jerseys. If Nike and Adidas are pricing their products for $90-$100, manufacturers are being paid extremely low rates for extremely long hours and strenuous labor.  

          Major businesses such as Nike and Adidas, often exploit workers of second and third world countries. For this reason, consumers should be conscious and cautious of where they allocate their money.

          On the contrary, money can make positive contributions when purchasing from the right businesses. Unlike big corporations, small businesses are more likely to have ethical practices and focus on sustainability goals. 

          Although a single purchase may seem impactless, these purchases add up and could potentially harm others around the world and the environment.