Polly shops!

Have you ever considered the impact your spending has over time? From the moment those crisp dollar bills leave your hand, where are they about to travel? How is that money going to be invested, and will that affect you or the causes you support?

With economic changes forcing many families to consciously focus on spending wisely more than ever before, the holiday season is the perfect time to not only pay attention to your budget but to put your money where your mouth is or at least where your heart is.

Money you spend at one store will most likely be distributed among the basic company bills, employee payroll and other typical corporate expenses. However, some of that money may filter into programs that support causes you believe in. Taking a few minutes to consider that your seasonal spending will turn into a longer term investment will add value to all your purchases and make change in ways that are significant to you.

There are many resources out there to consider before finishing up your shopping over the next week. While I urge you all to stimulate the economy within your means, I also suggest you invest your money with companies that are investing back into programs that you support.

Want to save the environment? Shop at eco friendly stores listed at www.ecofirms.org for companies that go green. Looking for companies that support equal rights? Spend your money with companies listed in the annual Buyer's Guide at www.hrc.org. Are you most concerned with a company that does not test their products on animals? Peta provides readers information on animal friendly companies at www.peta.org .

Your holiday shopping can provide a loved one with a wonderful gift but it can also send a powerful message. So as you run out to make last minute purchases this holiday season, make sure you know exactly where your money is going after it leaves your hands.

Happy shopping everyone and happy holidays!