Feb 26, 2009

The 10% Shift

I read this today in one of our local papers - "Buying local is not an act of charity—it’s a starting point." The article discusses Seacoast Local’s initiative to encourage local consumers to start small - by shifting at least 10% of their purchases to local businesses.

So where do you buy your next hamburger? Gallon of paint? Birthday cards? Milk? Light bulbs? Buy local like your town depends on it. Because it does, and it always has.

I started to think about what I buy local and how often. I

I am fortunate to live in an area with many small businesses and this makes it more than convenient to shop. Sure, I might have to park my car down the street and walk to the store instead of parking in a mondo-gigantic lot and walking into a superstore, but I like the charm and character of the local merchants, of their goods, of knowing I'm keeping money in the local economy.

I never buy clothes locally, using cost as my excuse. But I could certainly buy from thrift stores which I rarely do. I seem to be caught in the instant gratification trap. Sometimes I just want a new black shirt, and I want it now! Because, of course, the one thing I need is another black shirt to put in with the rest of my 32 black shirts. No wonder I can't fit my clothes in my apartment!

One thing I would like to try to focus on is changing is my grocery shopping habits. I go to the grocery store/small grocer at least 4-5 times per week and I often go to the big stores - Hannaford, Shaws, etc. If I don't pre-plan, they're the only stores open later in the evening when I'm free.

I would like to start shopping more at the farmer's markets and local produce shops and really planning out my meals. It makes more sense financially to buy for the week and make do with what I have in the house. I think this will save me money and also have me be a little more thoughtful about what I'm buying and what I'm wasting.

I think I probably spend 10% locally now, but I'd like to increase that and really focus on food.

How often to you buy local? How easy is it for you to avoid the big box stores?

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