How to Buy CO Local…Without Going Broke

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I’m currently writing this post from a local coffee shop named Dixon’s. It’s super cute, has a ton of people, and it’s Colorado local. I’ve had the good fortune to travel to 44 states (Alaska, Washington State, Oregon, Vermont, West Virginia, and Alabama) are on my list! And, besides being amazed by how awesome the United State is, I’m  left with some really interesting takeaways. Not every state is as crazy about itself as Colorado is. Notable exceptions: Texas, California, Oregon, New York, and possibly the Carolinas. There are places that absolutely geek out about themselves and Colorado is definitely one of those states. And, the people in these states love to shop local.

One of the most interesting phenomena that I’ve observed in Colorado is a very passionate focus on buying local whenever possible. But people get nervous about buying locally because it can also mean spending more but I have a very specific process that helps me buy local without going broke.

I also believe passionately in the power of my spending.

Why Shop Local?

Quite simply, every time I spend my dollar at a local coffee shop, on a local product, at a local farm, venue, or in support of a local person my spending power is tripled. The American Independent Business Alliance reported the following, ““independent retailers return more than three times as much money per dollar of sales than chain competitors.” Basically, every time I spend my dollar at Dixon’s, or buy a Noosa yogurt, a jar of Winking Girl Salsa, my money stays in my community longer keeping Colorado people employed.

I love that.

I love knowing who is producing what in my town and in my state. So, I make a point of getting to know who I’m buying from and use my dollar to communicate my pleasure or displeasure (by not spending on a good or service).

But, buying local can be expensive if you don’t have a good process for it. Here’s my process.

Here’s my process.

  • Happy Hour-I enjoy going to local restaurants during happy hour during weeks where I’m trying to economize but would like to be social. It’s easier on my wallet and I prefer going to a happy hour at a local restaurant vs. going to a national chain.
  • Get to know the owner-Sometimes you get the occasional discount because you know the owner of a business. I don’t take this for granted and always send more people to their business whenever possible.
  • Check out their website before going! I take a quick peek at restaurant/venue websites before I pop in. I do this so that I’m prepared and don’t overspend when I visit.
  • Groceries-When buying groceries use iBotta or other grocery apps so that you can save on your favorite items. If you sign up as a new customer using my link you will receive $10 when you redeem your first items. Nice!
  • Treat Yourself! For those of you new to me I also write a personal finance blog so I’m a little frugal. But sometimes I just have to go to a nice restaurant and just enjoy a lovely meal out. I don’t do this weekly, but once every 6 weeks I just go for a great meal and just enjoy myself.
  • Subscribe-Some of your favorite services/products/or places will share savings opportunities via their newsletter. I know newsletters can drive you crazy sometimes. but most businesses share savings coupons, ideas, or special events in their newsletters.
  • Follow On Social Media-You may experience the same types of savings when following your favorite brands on social media. I find that social media is a lot less intrusive (depending on how you use it).
  • Reach Out-In some cases, emailing your favorite company and asking for a discount may land you some unexpected savings.
  • Shop Seasonally-I try to shop in season because it’s almost always cheaper.
  • Small Business Saturday, November 26, 2016-Participate in this movement buy making a list of your favorite local business and purchasing your holiday gifts on SBS. Many participating retailers will have sales, or seasonal deals because of the holidays.
  • Mindful Substitutions-I shop locally by making some mindful switches. Instead of Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups I eat Justin’s, instead of Twinnings Mint Tea I drink Celestial Seasonings Mint Tea (the tea room is cool if you go on the factory tour). I do love Starbucks but I make a point of going to local coffee or tea shops such as: Platform T, Little Owl Coffee, Purple Door Cafe, Black Eye Coffee, Pablo’s (on a no internet day), Boxcar Coffee or Alpine Modern in Boulder.

Shopping local isn’t anti-national chains. It’s pro your state and pro your neighborhood. I am always excited to hear about how businesses thought of and developed in Colorado burst onto the national scene.

Businesses such as:

  • Silk Soy and Almond Milks (White Wave Foods)
  • Smashburger
  • Chipotle-I am NOT afraid to eat there!
  • Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups
  • Noosa Yogurt

Are businesses that I know and love and in the case of some of them I remember when they were being peddled at local farmer’s markets. Buying locally for me is a commitment to the community that I live in. When people make the misinformed assumption that Colorado has a lot of money because of pot I “clap back” and mention the fact that we spend locally and that THAT is a huge part of why the state is so financially healthy.

Do You Shop Locally in Your State?

What is Your Favorite Local Product/Service/Or Place to Visit?