5 Ways to Save Money Going Local

by Merissa on June 7, 2012

in Frugal Living Tips, Thrifty Living

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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.

What are some tips you have for shopping locally?
Linked to Frugal Days and Tiny Tip Tuesday.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 JM June 12, 2012 at 11:38 pm

Great tips! You do really have to get to know your local retailers to save the most money; the deals are there if you look for them! I have a CSA subscription, which saves me both time and money with a big box of produce delivered right to my office. We’ll also buy up older discounted produce at the nearby local fruit stand – it’s not always great to eat raw, but we’ll freeze it for smoothies or cook it into a sauce or cobbler.

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2 The Provision Room June 12, 2012 at 11:49 pm

Great tips!

One way to save money is to simply barter and you’ll have better luck striking a deal with a local business person than a chain. Trading time and skills is a great way to build community, save money, provide others with a valuable service at the same time getting the services you need as well!

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3 Angie June 17, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Sometimes our local farm stands have discounted boxes of produce because they are “seconds” – they’re just not as uniform & pretty, or they might be really ripe & won’t last as long…I bought several discounted boxes of peaches & tomatoes a couple of years ago & used them for pies, cobblers, sauces, etc.

I also prefer to buy local even if it means I can’t always get organic, and the non-organic local produce is cheaper than even the Costco price for organics (most of which were picked green, were picked a long time ago, & have little or no flavor…).

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4 The Old-Fashioned Housewife June 20, 2012 at 7:18 am

Well I just LOVE this post. Very well done. We got into really eating locally last year, and for a while we got almost stupid religious about it (I really appreciate your last point about not beating yourself up… food should not become a guilt-trip, we should follow our food ethics out of joy and a desire to do better, not be perfect) but over the winter I came to what I believe is a happy medium. For us, we try to buy anything and everything we CAN locally and seasonally, with the exception of a few food staples I just dont want to do without, mostly for health reasons (I need salad veg all year round, so I buy non-local lettuce, cukes, peppers, etc, in the winter), and dont sweat it if we have to buy other things that we cant get locally from a more distant source

So practically what this looks like is we only eat local berries when they are in season. None of those golf balls they call strawberries at the grocery store. :) We pick and buy local, freeze, make jam, etc, to last us through the winter, and that way its a total joy when Strawberry season comes around again. But, in the winter, when the summer stores wind down and we want something fresh, I tend to buy my citrus and exotic fruits. We dont have many oranges or bananas in the house during the summer when there is a local abundance of fresh fruit, but over the winter they are a nice treat to keep us going.

So thanks for this post. Its funny… I posted on picking strawberries to save money and made it clear that I meant saving money on LOCAL strawberries, and i had a few commenters point out that you could buy them more cheaply at the grocery store. i dont think many people stop to think about the local/imported dynamic, because we just arent taught that anymore. But Im trying to do the best I can. Thanks for the tips, God bless!

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5 Merissa June 20, 2012 at 7:23 am

Yes! I think we’ve gotten so spoiled that we can have pretty much any kind of produce year round we forget how we really should be eating!

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6 Shelly @ Coupon Teacher June 21, 2012 at 9:48 am

Thanks for stopping by Thrifty Thursday. I LOVE my local farmer’s market. I am making a weekly trip there this summer, for sure.

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7 Merissa June 21, 2012 at 9:50 am

Thanks for hosting the link up!

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8 Sarah @ Nature's Nurture June 30, 2012 at 10:26 am

Thank you for this awesome list of tips! Especially the last one about not beating yourself up! I’ve been guilty of this in the past and have since realized that we can only do what we can, and most of the time, that’s enough! Thank you so much for linking up at Tiny Tip Tuesday! I’m sharing this on my FB page! :)

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