I’m a consumer, I’m an avid shopper, I’m a bargain hunter, I’m a luxury lover. These are things I’ve never tried to hide about myself (although I’ve never broadcasted them, either). I’ve recently decided to change my lifestyle drastically and have cut down on a lot of little luxuries. No more lunches out (I have plenty of food at home!), no more bits of shopping here and there, no more lattes.
So what does this have to do with shopping locally? With less money to spend I have to think hard about where I want to spend it. I always eat and drink coffee locally and always give tips (here’s an interesting article on why it’s so important to tip well) but I often shop where I can get the nicest items for the best prices. This usually takes me online or to my favorite stomping grounds, Neiman Marcus Last Call. As I’ve become more conscious about where I spend my dough I realize how important it is to support others trying to make a living in my area. It comes down to common sense. Why wouldn’t you want to help maintain and create jobs in your city?
The Austin Independent Business Alliance says that shopping locally puts 3 times as much money back into the local economy. Of every $100 you spend locally, $45 stays in the community. Every $100 you spend at a chain gives only $13 back to the local economy. Wow.
Yes, local stores are often more expensive. They can’t give the huge discounts that the big boxes do. And while I don’t think it’s practical to always buy everything locally, the writing is on the walls. This season I’m buying less and shopping more consciously, and hopefully supporting my community along the way.
What about you — how much do you shop locally during the holidays? Would you consider doing it more?
Here are some Austin stores I’ll be checking out this holiday season:
- Nannie Inez
- Mana Culture
- Tesoros *Fair Trade
- Book People
- Noah Marion Quality Goods *made in Austin (full disclosure: I’m an apprentice to Noah!)
- Hoiden Supply Company
- Maya Star
- HELM Boots *made in USA
- Noonday Collection *Fair Trade
- Raven + Lily *Fair Trade
- Mockingbird Domestics