Wallet Activism: How to Use Every Dollar You Spend, Earn, and Save As a Force for Change
by Tanja Hester
Accolades for Wallet Activism:
- Axiom Business Book Awards 2022, gold medal for best philanthropy/nonprofit/sustainability book
- Nautilus Awards 2022, gold medal for best social change and social justice book
- ASJA Awards 2022, best service book
“Finally! Wallet Activism is the book we all need to see through the marketing lies we’re surrounded by and make better choices for the planet and our fellow humans. It’s an ambitious deep dive into the complex factors we must consider when using our financial power, but with clear, practical guidance to help anyone at any income level make better choices.”– Vicki Robin, New York Times bestselling author of Your Money or Your Life
“Wallet Activism dives into the most pressing issues we face as a society — inequality, climate change, corporate and political corruption — and lays out an inclusive roadmap for how we can fight back using our individual resources. Without sugarcoating the enormity of these problems, Hester empowers us to make personal changes that can, in time, enable real progress. This book will make you face harsh realities about the world we live in and your role in it, but it will also, amazingly, give you hope.”– Gemma Hartley, author of Fed Up: Emotional Labor, Women, and the Way Forward
“I was blown away. From plastic straws to carbon offsets, from the mortgage interest deduction to DIY culture, you’ll never think about the impact of your choices in the same way again. This book shines light on the futility of good intentions and performative efforts, and shows how to make an actual, quantifiable impact.”– Paula Pant, host of the Afford Anything podcast and founder of AffordAnything.com
“Tanja breathes new life into concepts like ‘voting with your dollar,’ without encouraging consumerism. With each chapter, she pushes us to make sure our activism isn’t just symbolic. It’s clear she’s heard our excuses and thankfully isn’t impressed by them. We all know we can do more and this book helps us take the necessary steps to think more critically, embrace nuance, and consider the true cost of our spending decisions. With each page, you’ll be pushed beyond symbolic activism and into sustainable action.”– Julien and Kiersten Saunders, authors and founders of rich & REGULAR
“Tanja’s gift is taking a complex and seemingly overwhelming topic and making it easier to grasp, while reminding everybody that no one is too small to spur meaningful change. This book is full of helpful information and pragmatic ideas so you can begin to thoughtfully put your money where it can do the most good—both for the planet and its people.”– Sherry and John Petersik, authors of Young House Love
- Order on Indiebound (or through your local indie bookseller)
- Order on Bookshop.org
- Order from Powell’s
- Order on Amazon Smile (be sure to use smile.amazon.com so a portion goes to the nonprofit of your choice)
- Order on Barnes & Noble
- Order from BenBella Books
- Order from Booktopia (Australia)
Winner of the 2022 Axiom Business Book Awards gold medal for best philanthropy/nonprofit/sustainability book
How do we vote with our dollars, not just to make ourselves feel good, but to make a real difference?
Wallet Activism challenges you to rethink your financial power so can feel confident spending, earning, and saving money in ways that align with your values.
While we call the American system a democracy, capitalism is the far more powerful force in our lives. The greatest power we have—especially when political leaders won’t move quickly enough— is how we use our money: where we shop, what we buy, where we live, what institutions we entrust with our money, who we work for, and where we donate determines the trajectory of our society and our planet. While our votes and voices are essential, too, Wallet Activism helps you use your money for real impact.
It can feel overwhelming to determine “the right way” to spend: a choice that might seem beneficial to the environment may have unintended consequences that hurt people. Wallet Activism empowers us to vote with our wallets by making sense of all the information coming at us, and teaching us to cultivate a more holistic mindset that considers the complex, interrelated ecosystems of people and the planet together, not as opposing forces.
From Tanja Hester, Our Next Life blogger and author of Work Optional, comes the mindset-shifting guide to help you put your money where your mouth is. Wallet Activism is not a list of dos and don’ts that will soon become outdated, nor does it call for anti-consumerist perfection. Instead, it goes beyond simple purchasing decisions to explore:
● The impacts a financial decision can have across society and the environment
● How to create a personal spending philosophy based on your values
● Practical questions to quickly assess the “goodness” of a product or an entity you may buy from
● The ethics of earning money, employing others, investing responsibly, choosing where to live, and giving money away
For anyone interested in leaving the world better than you found it, Wallet Activism helps you build habits that will make your money matter.
“If you’re like me, you’re scared and confused. You want to be a noble citizen of this globe, but you’re constantly decision-making from within the thick haze created by greenwashed corporate messaging and inconsistent advice on ‘being better.’ I am certainly guilty of action that was merely performative, but symbolic gestures be damned! Wallet Activism is a necessary read that helped me blast through the pollution of internet opinions and veiled marketing tactics, and I cannot recommend it enough. Hester is brilliant. It would be my greatest wish for us all to read Wallet Activism and to act on it.”– Amanda Holden, founder of Invested Development and the Dumpster Dog Blog
“Wallet Activism is the book I was missing in my financial library. It answers so many of the questions I had about my own decisions and how I was living my life. Tanja’s brilliant framework for approaching how we spend, earn, and save provided me with an invaluable tool to make better decisions for the planet and its people. She’s honest about the upsetting realities we face, yet brings nuance and compassion to these complex and important decisions. I finished the book feeling educated with facts, empowered to make an impact, and inspired to take action. May we all become wallet activists so we can do our part to course correct our home before it’s too late!”– Ashley Feinstein Gerstley, author of The 30-Day Money Cleanse and Financial Adulting
“In a time where people are fighting against low wages and unfair working conditions, Tanja Hester’s Wallet Activism is more crucial than ever. This book has inspired me to not only think of changes as a consumer but as a business owner as well. It’s easy to point fingers at someone like Amazon but If I expect other companies to be inclusive, I must make sure I am there, too.”– Athena Valentine Lent, Slate financial advice columnist and founder of Money Smart Latina
“There are issues bigger than the balance of our retirement accounts that impact us all, such as racial injustice, gender inequality, and climate change. In Wallet Activism, Tanja helps readers who want to help make a positive change but have no idea where to start. From breaking down the impact of our financial decisions, to sifting through the marketing tricks to find ways to make meaningful change with our money, Wallet Activism makes it clear that ‘you don’t have to be rich or perfect to make a difference,’ ‘what matters is that we do something.’”– Chris Browning, host and founder of the Popcorn Finance podcast
About the Author
Tanja Hester is the author of Wallet Activism: How to Use Every Dollar You Spend, Earn, and Save as a Force for Change and Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way. After spending most of her career as a consultant to Democratic politics and progressive issue campaigns, and before that as a public radio journalist, Tanja retired early at the age of thirty-eight. She documented the process on her award-winning financial independence/retire early (FIRE) blog, Our Next Life. She’s been an outspoken voice in the personal finance media community to consider systemic barriers and opportunity gaps, rather than simply pushing people with lots of advantages already to accumulate more wealth, part of why the New York Times called her “the matriarch of the women’s FIRE movement.” She hosts a podcast also called Wallet Activism, writes an occasional opinion column for MarketWatch, and lives in a burgeoning permaculture food forest she’s growing in North Lake Tahoe, California, with her husband, Mark Bunge, and a flock of tiny rescue dogs. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @our_nextlife and visit her blog at OurNextLife.com.