Before I share of how I plan to shop in the future, I wanted to post about something I'm doing next week (thanks to Emiko).
I've decided to try the No-Grocery-Shopping-For-The-Week Challenge beginning on Monday. Now, many of you may remember the Food Project posts (see sidebar), and while this is shorter, it's a good way to keep myself in check.
I plan to shop (but not vend) at this Saturday's Farmer's Market for more vegetables and strawberries then meal plan on Sunday. I have plenty of staples, so I think I'll be good. Mark will be gone all week as per usual, so it will be easy to make what I want and need. I'll keep you posted.
I've been watching money closely for almost two years now and we shop so much less than we used to it's sad. Or really, it's not sad since we want to consume less, but it's sad in the sense that there are so many new businesses locally that I'd love to support in a big way, but can't.
We tend to plan our purchases these days and even small ones like books or music are mentioned to one another whereas before, we had an unspoken deal that only purchases over a couple of hundred dollars warranted a spousal notification (Not permission, just a heads-up). That's all changed and in truth I think it's a good thing...consuming less, enjoying what we have, finding deals etc... However, we still have to shop for basics and thanks to another gem from Emiko, I have some decisions to make.
I like shopping locally and keeping our money in the community, but I tend to spread it around several businesses. Thanks to the 3/50 Project, I've realized that concentrating my spending and choosing a few businesses to consistently support can make a real difference. Yes, a certain natural foods grocery store may not have everything I'm used to, but perhaps with consistent support they could invest in more produce or fresh breads.
I think it will be hard at first because I do like supporting everyone when I can, but I can see the value of concentrating my dollars. I did decide that from this point forward, I won't be buying any fruits and vegetables that don't come from Farmer's Markets here in town. Now, that isn't one vendor, but it is keeping the money local and if I buy more than normal and freeze it, we'll be in great shape for berries and vegetables all winter long. This will also help me to eat in season...no watermelon until it shows up at the market (blinking back tears). :)
If you feel this is too restrictive (and it might be), please consider shopping local at least. For every $100.00 you spend in local stores, $68.00 goes back to the community in the form of taxes and payroll. This is especially staggering if you think of it this way:
For every $100.00 you spend in your local store, only $32.00 stays in the store.
This is why it's so hard for small businesses to stay alive.
I'll keep you posted on how I think I'm doing with this, I admit it will be a challenge at first and I may have to bend the rules...ahem...Mark's Coke (cola) habit and my penchant for watermelon all year round, but we shall see. I think our best bet is to pick a place for groceries and be as loyal as we can to it, but since we do not buy a lot of gifts/misc, we may have to settle for local, since it really varies.
Note: If you are a small business, check out 3/50 to sign up for free window clings and flyers to let your customers know about it.