It’s so easy to fall into habits. We shop the same brands . We drive to the same stores. We hop on Amazon and in ten seconds can hit the check out button. I mean, free shipping, right? We all love that.

But recently I’ve been thinking. The brands we choose to buy are the companies we choose to support with our hard-earned money. These companies will be the future. These are the companies our children may work for or shop from. Maybe we need to take a few minutes to think before we shop and ask, are these the companies we want to support?

In other words, what’s important to you?

Is it organic and non GMO? We all seem to agree this is a much safer and healthier option, but are you purchasing from companies that offer organic, non GMO products? Are these companies certified? Look for USDA Organic, the NON GMO project labels.

Do the companies give back? Read labels. Some companies are very actively involved in campaigning for a healthier world. Some donate to worthy causes that help the planet, animals or people. This also goes for health and beauty products. I think it is worth it to read labels and change brands if you see a company doing more for the planet and the future ( and hence, our world, our children)

Are you an animal lover? Have you thought about animal testing? Companies don’t attach large labels saying, “We test on animals”. They say nothing. The ones who don’t test on animals will let us know on their labeling.

Do you hop on Amazon without blinking an eye? Yes, I shop there too BUT not all the time. I read recently that Amazon has put (and is putting) smaller companies out of business. If you want a specific product, you can always head directly to the site of the company that makes it. Some of these undoubtedly are smaller family-owned companies and they often offer sales and prices will be compatible with Amazon.

Do you shop locally? Like I said above, it’s easy to hop on a website but small business owners NEED us to shop or else there goes another family’s livelihood, another empty building in town. Really isn’t this sad? Why drive past that small health food store, local farm stand, t-shirt shop, or boutique? This is your community, these are your neighbors. Think small and shop local as often as you can.

We all shop. And face it, we all love sales, convenience, and free shipping! But thinking before we shop can keep small businesses in business. It can help support those companies that support the causes that mean a lot to us personally, our state, or our country. This fall, let’s all take some time to support companies that care and give back.