As American dumplings must have heard by now, a majority of working Americans are due to receive a $1,200 stimulus check to counter the effect of the coronavirus on the economy. We at Peaceful Dumpling have been skeptical that consumerism—even the so-called conscious consumerism—is the answer to a sustainable future, for humans or for the planet. But the road to a circular economy isn’t straightforward. And in the meantime, we have to make choices that get us to a better future within realistic parameters.
And that reality is scary for so many of us. Some of my friends have lost their jobs already, and many local businesses are wondering how they can reopen when the coronavirus dies down.
If you’re lucky enough to get the stimulus check and don’t have to worry about essentials or saving up for a rainy day, I think that this is one time when spending is better for the greater good. (Since we *are* getting the money to boost economic activity—otherwise it’s just going to stagnate and create a cycle of deflation and unemployment, like post-bubble Japan, people!) Of course, being peaceful dumplings, we came up with suggestions on how to use it most effectively. Let’s take a look.
5 Ideas to Spend Your Stimulus Check in the Right Way
1. Local restaurants and shops
There’s almost no further explanation needed here. Local restaurants and boutiques have been the first to be impacted by the shutdown. I’m not even a frequent restaurant-goer or a major shopper, but these establishments add so much to the loveliness of daily life. Help bolster your local community by patronizing these places as soon as restrictions loosen up. You may be able to buy from local shops online. For example, if you are out of skincare products or books, try getting it from a nearby boutique / bookstore rather than Sephora / Amazon. They will be so thankful for your business, like big retailers simply won’t. Also, restaurants and stores might be opening up GoFundMe pages to help maintain their bare minimum costs. Contribute now, and get the rewards later!
2. Local yoga studios, gyms, spas and other wellness providers
There are a number of national streaming services for workouts, but why not continue paying your local gym/ studio for the membership and get online classes instead? (Except Peaceful Dumpling workouts of course, which have always been free! 😊) Spas, salons, and freelance massage therapists, etc, simply can’t do any business right now and are at risk of closing.
3. Online shopping that gives back
Look for self-care treats and essentials that give back to causes you care about. Right now I’m just not interested in another product that serves no other purpose than to add to the cycle of capitalism—because the world is falling apart, and we need progress now.
Chantecaille Luminescent Eye Shade (Elephant shown), $52
I love how French brand Chantecaille offers a clearly vegan collection, as well as dozens of gorgeous products that give back to conservation causes. These shimmery shadows come in earthy hues inspired by endangered species that they benefit. This one is elephant, and they even have PANGOLIN guys. (A lovely mauve for brown-eyed ladies.) Wow, the foresight!
Chantecaille Lip Veil, $48 (Moabi shown)
Full disclosure, I am seriously considering this for myself as it is a) perfect springtime pick-me-up for WFH makeup magic) and b) it benefits African elephants, one of my top 3 animals of all time. Each purchase supports Space for Giants, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the migration routes of elephants. It’s formulated with organic baobab oil for a hydrating, lucent wash of color. Cruelty-free, parabens-free, and made in Italy for that dose of luxury.
Hiraeth Smith Cotton Corduroy Blazer, $219 $
I’m not certain that Hiraeth, a luxury vegan fashion label founded by Rooney Mara, uses its proceeds for any charitable causes. But I adore its dark, lush, and romantic aesthetic, and this blazer I’ve been eyeing for a while is on a steep discount. Also, without Rooney and Joaquin speaking up for animal rights during the Oscars, Golden Globes etc, what good news has come out of 2020 so far? Yeah, that’s right.
Matt & Nat Hope Charity Bag, $70
Wait, what? 100% of the purchase price (minus any taxes) of Hope Charity bag is donated to animal-rights or humanitarian organizations worldwide. And the lining is made of 100% recycled plastic bottles. The exterior is made of supple vegan black leather that goes with all your outfits.
Hand-Block-Painted Robe, $59.99
I’m a big fan of this cotton robe hand-block-painted by artisans in India. Your purchase goes to ensure the artisans receive fair living wages and can carry on traditional textile techniques. Plus, it’s so luxe-bohemian done right. I would wear this to swan around my house in chic and comfy style.
4. Arts and charitable nonprofit organizations
In times of crisis, last thing people think about are the arts, the animals, and other voiceless beings. Consider getting performing arts tickets (for future seasons), subscriptions to literary magazines, or straight-up donations.
One of the classic things people spend money on during a recession: continuing education. Maybe you have been furloughed or laid off and are considering a career change. Or maybe you just have some extra time on your hands and gain a career edge. It might be the right time for you to try a certificate or a degree program, and literally thousands are offered online through places like Coursera. Or, you might just be taking a lot of webinars and more informal classes. Maybe you even go for Rosetta Stone. Note: there are a lot of free classes out there, but investing some money into this endeavor might ensure that you stay committed. If you pay thousands for a degree program, you’re far less likely to quit within a day.
How do you plan on spending your stimulus check?
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Photo: respective brands; Katie Harp