From time to time, I've written here about shopping locally: the ways in which I try to do it, and the reasons I wish I could do it more. I like to support my local businesses because I think a town that has thriving local businesses is simply a better place to live, and I want to help keep Highland Park that kind of place.
But I've also felt torn about local shopping from an ecofrugal standpoint. It's a better choice for the environment to run errands on foot when I can, and sometimes it even saves me money—like when I patronize a local mechanic who offers both better prices and better service than the Honda dealership, or I manage to assemble a new outfit with finds from the local thrift shop. But in other cases, buying locally definitely costs me more. A cafe mocha from our local coffeehouse costs about 5 bucks, which is more than 60 percent more than the smallest size from Starbucks, for about half as much coffee—and frankly, it's not as good. Then, too, sometimes local businesses don't really offer the best service, like the local hardware store that I refuse to patronize because I don't want to be subjected to Rush Limbaugh tirades. And most often of all, the problem is that I just can't find what I want in town. It's possible, for instance, to buy clothing and books at the local thrift shop—but to find a specific book, or a specific item of clothing in my size, I nearly always have to hit a shopping center outside of town.
So my latest Money Crashers post goes into some of the ways to work around these problems. First, I talk about the various benefits of shopping local, from a stronger economy to reduced traffic. Then, I outline some ways to support your local economy, even when you're on a budget, such as visiting the local farmers' market or keeping your money at a community bank. See the full article at:
4 Ways to Shop Local and Support Small Businesses in Your Local Economy