Your alarm sounds, you wake up in the morning, and naturally, the very first thing you do is check your phone. Your groggy, not-quite-awake eyes go on autopilot as you scroll through your various feeds, beginning your daily inflow of information that continues all the way up until you close your eyes at night. You stop to grab your morning coffee on your commute, the cafe proudly presenting its label brand coffee.

On your way to work, billboards flash past you and as you turn on the radio, messages float through the airways, creating a chatter to accompany you as you begin your day. Embedded in the beginning hours of your day are cleverly presented messages, carefully curated pictures, and thinly veiled recommendations of the advertisements that constantly surround you wherever you go. Digital marketing experts estimate that the average American is exposed to anywhere between 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements a day. Think back - I bet you can only remember two or three.

What is interesting is that this staggering amount of information that we are exposed to creates a type of evolutionary pressure on our brain, leading to a type of filtration system that prompts us only to remember the advertisements that we find particularly engaging. This generates a mad rush of marketing specialists, analysts, and producers to create the advertisements that will be remembered by consumers in efforts to push their product and thus generate sales for their company.

However, with thousands and thousands of notices and advertisements all trying to convince you to do the exact same thing- what exactly is the right way to spend our money?

Let’s think about what exactly a dollar means. “A dollar is just a dollar” - however, what a dollar signifies holds much more weight. Every time you spend a dollar, you are showing your conscious support. Whether it is an organization, a company or a person, we all have the responsibility to “vote with our dollar”.

In this way, us (and consumers on a whole) have control to take over what is arbitrary like the stock market or price of goods. I encourage you, before making a purchase, make it an informed purchase. Research the company- do they stand for what you believe in?

A dollar is a vote, it’s an investment and the simplest way of showing your support for a company.

While a dollar may seem small, it is the equivalent of a vote for the things, companies and causes that you want to put your support in. For example, a recent rally at Brown University emerged against the rising popularity of Canada Goose jackets and cited the purchasing of the jackets as a support for the animal abuse that occurs against duck, geese, and coyotes.

The saying “vote with your dollar” is often applauded as a way to encourage consumers to support causes that are good for the economy, the environment, and specific causes that they believe in. The idea of having control over things that may seem arbitrary, for example, the stock market or the price of goods, seems desirable for many.

However, it is hard to pinpoint how exactly to determine the companies and accompanying causes that you want to support. By giving people information and enabling them to make their own informed decisions through transparent practices and mission statements, we have the ability to change the world with just a dollar.