I endorse green products. I endorse hybrid vehicles. I endorse purchasing fair trade products whenever possible to help ensure that farmers are paid a decent wage (wish I got paid for these many endorsements!) I attempt to buy organic whenever I can. I compost and even kept composting worms for a while (until they froze to death in the winter). I understand that my choices as a consumer can change the landscape of the marketplace in positive ways, conserve our environment and provide sustenance and income for impoverished families. Shopping responsibly and compassionately really can make a significant difference. Consider Project Red, a movement that donates money from "red product" purchase to AIDS relief efforts in Africa.
The problem is that shopping this way is significantly more expensive. My grocery bill from Safeway, where I buy Nestle products and pesticide infused produce is 50% cheaper than my bill from a socially conscious store like Whole Foods, Mother's Market or PCC. While being committed to shopping in socially conscious ways, I am also committed to spending less. Savings on a grocery bill can be given to the Aid and Assistance Fund at church, go to help purchase backpacks for less fortunate students at my kids' school, or be sent to my favorite non-profit organization in South Africa, Ithemba Lethu.
I pose this question to you, my sage, articulate, readers. How do you shop compassionately yet save your pennies?