There is a lot of talk these days about keeping jobs in America. Okay, our government has the most power to do something about it. But how about you?
Why, yes you can make a difference.
Shopping locally is the best way to support American businesses and strengthen your local economy. The only problem with spending locally is that local goods are sometimes a little more expensive than those made overseas by cheaper labor.
So how does a regular person without a lot of money shop local and not go broke? And frankly, why should you?
The way I like to think about shopping local is that it’s similar to social good spending. You know, like when you purchase that pair of sparkly silver TOMS shoes and then TOMS donates a pair of shoes to a person in need.
I incorporate supporting local business into my daily life by embracing some simple habits.
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First, I love to pop into my local coffee shop for a small cup of joe. A cup of coffee is around $2, as I avoid any extras that may break my budget. If my favorite local coffee shop has a membership program, I always join. These membership programs are like the ones at nationwide chains – you earn points towards a discounted or a free drink. Perfect.
Spreading the Word
Next, are you obsessed with certain local businesses? Become an unofficial ambassador for the brand. Share the love with other people and let the owner know that you’re sharing what they are doing with other customers.
At the same time, become a regular (within reason for your budget, of course). I’ve found that becoming a regular at my favorite coffee shop, dance studio, or clothing store has been the easiest way to earn free stuff, discounts, and access to special deals that you may not be privy to if you didn’t know the owner.
These businesses also appreciate you sending additional business their way. But the key is to do this selflessly. Do not use this approach as a calculated way to earn free stuff. Just share what the business is doing because you love them.
Newsletters and Social Media
I know that we all love to hate newsletters, but I’ve found newsletters to be a great place to receive special discounts and sales information. For small business people, newsletters tend to be one of the easiest ways to stay connected with customers and share the occasional treat with them online.
In addition to subscribing to your favorite local business’ newsletter, don’t forget to follow them online. I’ve noticed that many retailers share awesome deals and time-sensitive savings opportunities that you can only access via social shares.
I’m by no means encouraging you to go shopping just to support local business. But if you have to spend money, why not look at a local business first to see if it fits your budget? For me, that means budget items that I spend the most on: coffee, happy hours, and miscellaneous services.
If I need eyelash extensions, there’s a locally-owned business that does a great job and is reasonably priced. Need my car worked on? I go to a local mechanic. About to go hiking and need to pick up some snacks? I go to Whole Foods and check out the tags to pick up some great locally made snack bars.
Shopping locally may feel like extra work initially, but it’s a wonderful way to connect with cool people who are making a difference in your town. Every time you purchase an item made in your hometown or in your state, you’re actually becoming a job creator without having to pay the employment taxes.