I can't stress enough how important it is to try and buy local when we can. It's great to be able to support your local economy and small business owners. But let's face it, buying local isn't always the cheapest option. Here are a few ways I use to save money while trying to shop local.
1. Follow local companies Facebook pages and sign up for their newsletters. Many post special deals right on Facebook or send out coupon codes for products if you are signed up for their email newsletters.
2. Check around before you "pick" a farmer's market. Just because there is a pretty farmer's market on main street each week doesn't mean they are the only one or will have the best prices. I'm all about searching for a farmer's market in an offbeat place for a better chance of a deal. For more info on how to pick a farmer's market make sure you check out my article on Making the Most of Farmer's Markets.
3. Know your local stores well. If you don't ever shop local you won't know if they actually have good deals! Make sure you check into your local stores often and ask the employees or owners to show you around their store. Generally during my first "tour" of a store I take time to scope out a sale or discount section.
4. Don't be too picky about where you shop and don't be hung up on one store. I know we all like the "convenience idea" behind Walmart or another large retailer but in order to get the best deal shopping local you will probably have to shop at several different stores. It helps if you can also keep a price book of various items you buy at certain stores so you will know when you find a better deal.
5. Don't beat yourself up if you can't go local or all the way local. If you really want to try and buy at least some things local maybe you can find other areas in your life where you can slash the budget and save a little more so you are able to maybe spend a little more at a local business or on local products.
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