Buying local means more than just saving money

Buying local means more than just saving money

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Gas is $3.95 down per gallon right down the road from you but it’s only $3.75 in the next town over. That’s a decent savings and worth the drive right? It might seem so, but by time you drive there, sit in line for 10 minutes and drive back it’s been 45 minutes and you’ve saved a total of $2.00. All of a sudden it doesn’t seem to make that much sense anymore.

All too often we forget to look at the big picture and how buying locally relates to our daily life. This gas scenario is only one example of fooling ourselves into feeling like we’ve received a bargain.

Of course there are the obvious reasons for supporting the local economy. The fact that we are supporting our neighbor when we purchase goods or services locally. That we are keeping tax dollars in our local communities. We are also helping to keep our friends and neighbors employed when we spend money using local stores and services. These are all certainly great and important reasons to support local businesses, however, one of the biggest personal gains from using local businesses is that it usually makes financial sense too! You might assume that the bigger stores have the better prices but this is quite often not the case.
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I am reminded of when I owned a small beach store and was selling my beach chairs at $49.99 per chair. I thought this was a lot of money, but it kept my margins reasonable and I was able to sell quite a few chairs over the years. Late one season I happened to take a trip down the road to a big-box store and was astonished to see them selling a very similar chair (of lesser quality) for $10.00 more per chair! They obviously were paying a lot less for their chairs than I was, and customers certainly weren’t receiving the same level of service when they shopped there. I’m sure most people would have thought they would pay more at my store being that it was right on the beach, and after all, the big-boxes are always supposed to have the best prices right?… Wrong! Most times we are lured into these large stores with a couple of “specials” that are priced very low, but by the time you’ve bought many other items in the store you can throw your savings out the window.

Take the time to sit and analyize your monthly purchases. Factor in the time and effort you spent buying these items. You will quickly realize how much sense it makes for you in so many ways to buy locally no matter what you are purchasing. You will feel great about supporting your neighbors business, and gaining valuable extra time for yourself during the day.

Mike Urgo Consulting LLC

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