Personal Resource Center
With the holiday season right around the corner, here are five reasons to shop small this year:
1. Local businesses can spice up your shopping.
Are you tired of always buying fuzzy pink slippers for Grandma and another plaid shirt for Uncle Bob? One downside of big box stores is that all other shoppers are choosing from the same items. At a local business, the owner or manager has spent months curating a line of creative products. For example, boutique owners attend markets, network with brands, and regularly hunt for cool merchandise.3 This makes your job easy: just choose the items that catch your eye — and buy.
2. Shopping small can help you save big.
If you don't manage to snag free shipping, this hidden cost of online shopping can really add up. If you have to pay for return shipping, costs can go even higher. By shopping locally, you avoid shipping costs and get to thoroughly look over a gift before you buy. And since local businesses want to compete with the big box stores, you can bet they'll offer holiday deals.4 Many small businesses use social media and mobile to send special holiday offers to customers.
3. Most small shops take credit cards.
You no longer have to hit the ATM to shop locally because about 95 percent of small businesses accept payment cards.5 To avoid going into debt this holiday season, use your debit card for small purchases like stocking stuffers, a cheese ball for your office holiday party, and gas for the road trip home. Save your credit card for larger purchases to take advantage of the added consumer protections. For example, all Visa cards offer Zero Liability for unauthorized use, and some cards come with added perks such as purchase security and extended warranty protection. If you are worried about safety and security issues with your credit card, many banks allow you to set up real-time alerts so you are notified when transactions are made. You can also use technology to turn your card off, if you've accidently misplaced your credit card.
4. Shopping small keeps money local.
Shopping in your area benefits your local community. When you buy local, you're handing over your hard earned cash to a business owner who may live in your neighborhood and employ local residents. This benefit is then magnified due to the "multiplier effect" where the money you spend locally stays in the community. In fact, 48 percent of the amount of a local purchase gets recirculated nearby compared to 14 percent of the purchase price of an item bought in a chain store.6
5. Shopping local can be more fun.
Shopping close to home might offer a more enjoyable experience. This year, skip fighting for a parking space at the mall and instead browse local boutiques, enjoy the twinkling lights, and savor a mug of peppermint hot cocoa from the corner cafe before heading home to put on some carols and wrap your presents.