Save Money While Shopping Locally

by Jessica Sommerfield · 0 comments

Choosing to shop at privately-owned businesses in your area is usually based on a desire to improve your local and state economy, combined with a desire for personalized and reliable service.  Income siphoned through national and international big-box chain stores doesn’t directly benefit local economies as much as income generated by private business; and, due to their size, large companies can’t usually offer individual, personalized care the way local business owners can.

In spite of these very compelling reasons to shop locally, there is also one major hang-up: expense.
Shopping locally will almost always cost more than shopping at a chain store for simple business reasons. Discount chain stores have a much higher volume of sales, receive discounts for buying wholesale in bulk, and are less impacted by operating cost, which means they can offer their products at a much lower price than mom-and-pop stores. Since our instinct as frugal shoppers is to flock to whoever has the lowest prices, it can be difficult to make the transition from discount shopping to local shopping. Here are a few tips for reducing the impact to the controllable expenses in your budget.

Focus on 2-3 Stores
Since it’s not always feasible (or affordable) to shop entirely local, you can ease your conscience while saving your money if you pick 1,2, or 3 of your favorite local businesses to support with your sales on a regular basis. Think about which stores in your community you’d be most sad about going out of business, and focus on these, at least at first. What about them do you enjoy — their small-town atmosphere, friendliness, personal service, community involvement or charity efforts, or perhaps their selection and quality of specialty products? Cater your purchases to these few favorite businesses, and you’ll not only be supporting your local economy, you’ll be increasing your personal satisfaction with your shopping experiences.

Get in on Special Sales and Deals
If you miss the buy-one-get-one sale at Kroger, it’s not a big deal — they’ll be another sale in a few weeks. On the other hand, local stores tend to make offers for limited windows of time  (to reduce their loss), especially if they’re overstocked or trying to clear out old merchandise to make space for the new. Check in regularly enough to take advantage of the deals so you’ll be able to afford the differences in price. Many small businesses have websites and Facebook pages that feature their deals, coupons, and special offers so you can stay informed conveniently.

Refer Other Customers
Local businesses appreciate loyal customers, and are usually more than willing to throw in freebies or discount deals for patrons who bring them even more business. Ask for business cards to share with your friends, talk about and showcase purchases you love, and be sure to ask stores if they offer any incentives for bringing in business.

Look for Ways to Save Them Money
Shopping locally provides income for small businesses, which increases their ability to offer products at lower prices. Looking for ways to partner with them and reduce their operating expenses takes this economic strategy one step further. It can be as simple as letting them know about a good deal on wholesale products, small business discounts from a service provider, or declining to use their bags in favor of bringing your own from home. Every little thing you do to save them money will eventually translate into savings for yourself, as well.

Hopefully this has given you a few more incentives to shop locally while still endeavoring to be a frugal shopper.

Bonus Tip:

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