Financial Foundations #7: How to Spend Like a Feminist

December 14, 2023

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How to spend like a feminist

Welcome to Financial Foundations, a mini-series of Financial Feminist, brought to you by State Farm. During each episode of this limited series, we’ll be tackling financial basics like budgeting, investing, debt, and what it really means to be a Financial Feminist to help you get on track no matter where you’re at with your money journey. Through short, actionable episodes and simple homework exercises, I’ll help you build a financial plan you’ll actually want to stick to. Thanks again to our sponsor, State Farm, for making this series possible. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.

What does it mean to live a financial feminist lifestyle? In the seventh and final episode of Financial Foundations, brought to you by State Farm, host Tori Dunlap isn’t just telling you how to use money as a tool to better your own life — she’s taking it a step further and talking about how to use money to help better the lives of others. From supporting your favorite organizations and causes you care about to using it to support change in your communities, she’s sharing all the ways that you can fully embrace your financial feminism.

What you’ll learn from this episode:

  • How your purchase choices can affect the businesses you love
  • The benefits of shopping small/women-owned/BIPOC businesses
  • Ways to support your favorite organizations, causes, and businesses when money is tight
  • How to start making feminist choices in the workplace
  • How to invest in a way that align with your values

Question to ponder from this episode:

  1. How will you start to live out your financial feminist lifestyle in 2024? What changes will you make to fully embrace your financial feminism?

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Tori Dunlap:

Welcome to Financial Foundations, a miniseries of financial feminists brought to you by State Farm. During each episode of this limited series, we’ll be tackling financial basics like budgeting, investing, debt, and what it really means to be a financial feminist to help you get on-track no matter where you’re at on your money journey. Through short, actionable episodes and simple homework exercises, I’ll help you build a financial plan you’ll actually want to stick to. Thanks again to our sponsor, State Farm, for making the series possible. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.

Hello, everybody. Welcome back. Welcome back to the show. Some sad news. It’s a little bittersweet. This is our final installment of Financial Foundations. And if you love the show, and we know you have, because y’all have been blowing up our inbox asking for more, we are just so thankful that you have been here for each and every episode. And we’d like to take an extra moment to thank State Farm, who helped us bring the series to life. So we are grateful for their support and giving us the opportunity to bring this content to you.

A reminder, on this episode, as always, if this is your first time listening to Financial Foundations, it’s not going to make as much sense as if you listen to the first episode, and then the second, and the third. So, please go back. This is a serialized series. So start at the beginning, please, and will meet you back here when you’re ready.

Today, we are talking about how to live a financial feminist lifestyle. This is a perfect companion guide, this episode, to the final chapter of my book, also called Financial Feminist. We’re going to talk today about how you can use money as a tool for change in your community, and also in the broader world, and how we can use money to support the organizations and causes we believe in. And money is the best tool to be able to do that. So especially as we head into the holiday season, let’s talk about some of the incredible ways that we can live out our financial feminist values with our everyday purchases and decisions.

The first thing is, you can make feminist choices in how you purchase goods. You can shop local. You can shop women-owned, queer-owned, minority-owned. By supporting the businesses and the entrepreneurs that you want to see more of or you want to see survive, they are able to not only show up in your communities with their products, and their goods, and their services, but also make an impact in those communities by hiring people, and by diversifying the businesses and goods that are available. As a women-owned business, Her First $100K, it is so important, and I just get so thrilled and happy every time someone is able to support us in whatever way that looks like. By supporting the businesses that you want to see more of, you are helping to guarantee that they stay around and that they have the means to do so.

We all know how hard COVID hit businesses, and it’s not over. We have, in Seattle, businesses that are still closing every day. That survived the height of the pandemic, but can’t continue on because of how much it costs to run a business, because of just the impacts of the pandemic catching up with them. Because other massive businesses, you know the ones, are taking them out of business. So one of the best things you can do with your money is vote with your dollars. Support the organizations and the entrepreneurs you want to see more of. And I will say, as a women-owned business, I still see every single transaction that happens at Her First $100K. It’s just the most touching, happy feeling, because I know then that I’m able to pay our employees. I know then that we’re able to continue making a difference in the work that Her First $100K does.

And if you can’t spend money right now, if you don’t have a lot of money to spend, there are many other ways of supporting your local businesses, your women-owned businesses, your BIPOC-owned businesses, your queer-owned businesses. You can share about these businesses on social media. You can leave reviews on Google, or Yelp, or other places like that. And you can also tell others, “Oh, hey, I had this incredible meal at this brand-new restaurant. You should go, or we should go together.”

One of the best things or my favorite things that I love to do is, if I’ve had a crazy-good meal, I am the first to leave a Yelp review, tell somebody about it. And also, because I have this social platform, I really do try to use our followers at Her First $100K to amplify, again, the businesses I want to see more of. So you don’t have to be an influencer to do this. You can just talk to your friends and family about businesses that you love and ways that you can support them. So, that’s number one. Making feminist choices and purchases by using your money, voting with your dollars, but also using the influence you do have to support them in other ways.

The second way that we can use our financial feminist values to start improving our world is making feminist choices in the workplace and in our everyday life. One of the best things we can do, and we’ve talked about this in the previous episodes, is advocate for fair pay and wage transparency. Not just for you as an individual, but also at your company, at your organization. You can share your wage and discuss it with colleagues, either, again, that work at your company or in your industry. As a reminder, it is illegal for your employer to prevent you from talking about your salary. It is 100% legal for you to talk openly and honestly about how much money you’re making. And if you don’t feel comfortable saying exactly what you’re making, it might be helpful to just give a range. “I make between 80,000 and $100,00 dollars a year.” That is better than saying nothing.

The other thing we can do is call out problematic, systemic, and microaggressive behavior. Examples of this include non-promotable tasks like designated note-takers, harmful stereotyping, exclusive behavior. And this call-out doesn’t have to be a big thing. It can just be, “Hey, tell me what you meant by that.” That’s my favorite question to ask men. “Tell me more. Tell me what you meant by that.” That can be a lovely moment for them to take stock of what they just said or what they just did. “Hey, tell me what you meant by that.” Or, “Tell me more.” So there’s ways to show up in your workplace where you can be financially-transparent, where you can be focused on providing a more equitable experience for everybody. And I’ll remind us white folks, this is our responsibility for our colleagues of color. This is our responsibility, is to show up and provide the safest spaces we can for everyone to show up as the fullest versions of themselves at work.

All right. Number three, we can start to make feminist investing choices. Now, different people define this different ways. There’s so many people who are focused on ethical investing, but ethical investing is going to be different depending on who you talk to. We mentioned this in the book. There’s a whole subsection of my book about ethical investing, and one of the things our expert, Tim Nash, in the book, talks about is that ethical for one person might mean no fossil fuels. Ethical for another person could mean only companies that are run by women and people of color. So you have to determine what ethical means for you. Some people only choose to invest in what they believe to be ethical companies, and that’s one way to do things, 100%. A second way is to do what I do, which is investing in diversified index funds that may include companies that I’m not the biggest fan of, knowing that I can then take the money that I am making and spend it in a way that is in alignment with my values, and that does fund my safe and happy retirement.

You can also find a mix of that. You can find a mix of these high-performing, well-diversified investments while also taking a stand on certain things that you will not invest in. I often see, in our TikTok comments, people saying, “Well, I don’t want to invest unless it’s 100% ethical. So I’m just not going to invest at all.” And I promise you, unfortunately, in this capitalistic society, there’s no decision that’s 100% ethical. And I would rather you get in and invest, and take the money, then use it for your own good, and for your support of yourself, and your communities, and the kind of world you want to see, than completely opting out.

And there’s ways to make it better, right? There’s ways to make it more ethical, and there’s ways to support, even in your investing choices, the kind of world we want to see. It’s also important to highlight, like we talked about in the investing episodes of Financial Foundations, that diversifying is an incredibly important strategy. That simply means not putting all of your hypothetical eggs in one basket. So make sure that, as you’re continuing to invest, especially through this lens of ethical investing, that you’re not putting all of your eggs in that one basket.

And finally, number four is supporting organizations, nonprofit organizations, that need your support. And support can look like a bunch of different things. It can look like giving money, a percentage of your income to organizations that you believe in. It can look like volunteering. It can look like showing up at houseless shelters to volunteer. It can look like engaging with mutual aid in your community. It can look like showing up at the Humane Society. Donating your time is just as valuable, and sometimes more valuable, than donating your money. My parents are great at this. One of the things that my parents have always really committed to doing, they did this for seven years, is they showed up at the local food bank every single Wednesday and helped stock the shelves for an hour. They did that for nearly a decade. And it’s just a testament to, yes, you can give your money, and also volunteering if you don’t have a lot of money right now. Or if you’re not choosing to put your money towards certain organizations, you can give your time.

And I think with both time and money that is being donated, what I would really recommend is, focus on a few organizations or one or two causes to support. We want to do everything. We want to show up for the polar bears, and for climate change, and for folks who don’t have enough to eat, and for domestic violence and sexual assault survivors, and we want to show up for every single cause that exists in this entire world. And unfortunately, we can’t. That’s just the reality. And I would argue, and actually stats have proven this, that it is a lot better to focus your time, your attention, your money on a few things that you feel especially passionate about as opposed to trying to dilute your money, or your time, or your resources in a bunch of different places.

For me, it might not shock you to discover that my big place I donate is for women’s rights and … women’s rights and climate change. Those are the two places my donation money tends to go, as well as my time. So I encourage you to find the thing that you’re really, really passionate about, and focus your time and energy there as opposed to trying to feel like you need to do everything all of the time. So number four, how do we vote with our dollars in terms of donating to causes we believe in, both politically and systemically? And how do we give to charities and organizations that align with our values, either with our time or with our money?

And finally, number five, vote. Make sure you’re registered to vote. I will tell you fully transparently, Kristen and I were talking about this before we jumped on, our elections were earlier this week. I realized my voter registration got sent to my previous address, because I didn’t check it. Even the person that’s out here telling you to vote sometimes makes mistakes. Check your voter registration, guys. Make sure that you’re eligible to vote. Make sure that your signature on your vote matches your one on your driver’s license. Fun fact, they have to match or else your ballot could get thrown out.

Please vote. Support the kind of policies, the kind of policymakers that you want to see more of. And don’t be like me. Make sure that, well in advance, you are checking your voter registration to make sure your ballot actually gets to you. We’ve said it time and time again on this show. Voting is one of the most powerful things we can do to actually make a difference in our communities. So please, do everything you can to show up at the polls, to mail in your ballot at the correct time, and check your voter registration at least three weeks in advance. And I’m looking at you, Tori Dunlap.

Some final thoughts as we wrap up the episode. We’ve said this before. We’ll say this again. This is the whole point of this show. Financial Freedom, getting your financial shit together, is one of the most important and crucial things you can do to not only better your own life, but to better the world. Because when you are stable, when you are content, when you are healthy, when you have options, and choices, and flexibility, and you’re not worrying about where your next paycheck’s coming from, you’re not worried about whether or not you’re going to be able to afford an unexpected expense, you’re not in debt to somebody else. When you have that financial stability, you can show up as the fullest version of yourself in every aspect of your life, including the world. As cheesy as it sounds, you cannot pour from an empty cup. You must put on your own oxygen mask first before you help others.

So if you’re listening to this episode today and you’re like, “I want to do all of the things, and that sounds amazing, and I want to get out there and support my communities with my money, and I want to donate, and I want to use money as a force of change,” but you haven’t taken care of your own finances first, that is step number one. Step number one is to make sure that you have an emergency fund. Step number one is making sure that you are working to pay off your debt. Step number one is making sure that you are financially whole so that you can show up as the best, brightest, healthiest, safest, fullest version of you in your communities, and in your world, and in your relationships.

So I so appreciate you being here for this Financial Foundation series. I hope you liked it. We would love to hear your feedback. And again, a massive thanks to State Farm for sponsoring this limited series of Financial Feminist. Thank you for being here, and we’ll talk to you soon.

A huge thanks to State Farm for supporting our mission here at Her First $10K and making the Financial Foundations series possible. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. Neither State Farm nor its agents give tax or legal advice.

Thank you for listening to Financial Feminist, a Her First $100K podcast. Financial Feminist is hosted by me, Tori Dunlap. Produced by Kristen Fields. Associate producer, Tamisha Grant. Marketing and administration by Karina Patel, Sophia Cohen, Kahlil Dumas, Elizabeth McCumber, Beth Bowen, Amanda Leffew, Masha Bachmetyeva, Kailyn Sprinkle, Sumaya Mulla-Carillo, and Harvey Carlson. Researched by Ariel Johnson, audio engineering by Alyssa Midcalf, promotional graphics by Mary Stratton, photography by Sarah Wolfe, and theme music by Jonah Cohen Sound. A huge thanks to the entire Her First $100K team and community for supporting the show. For more information about Financial Feminist, Her First $100K, our guests, and episode show notes, visit

Tori Dunlap

Tori Dunlap is an internationally-recognized money and career expert. After saving $100,000 at age 25, Tori quit her corporate job in marketing and founded Her First $100K to fight financial inequality by giving women actionable resources to better their money. She has helped over one million women negotiate salary, pay off debt, build savings, and invest.

Tori’s work has been featured on Good Morning America, the New York Times, BBC, TIME, PEOPLE, CNN, New York Magazine, Forbes, CNBC, BuzzFeed, and more.

With a dedicated following of almost 250,000 on Instagram and more than 1.6 million on TikTok —and multiple instances of her story going viral—Tori’s unique take on financial advice has made her the go-to voice for ambitious millennial women. CNBC called Tori “the voice of financial confidence for women.”

An honors graduate of the University of Portland, Tori currently lives in Seattle, where she enjoys eating fried chicken, going to barre classes, and attempting to naturally work John Mulaney bits into conversation.

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