So you want to help our economy…

Everywhere we look it seems that our economy, while we’re told is better than it has been, is still not as strong as it was in the past.  Granted, a lot that drives the economy is “consumer confidence” (confident consumers buy more while less confident consumers tend to spend less), very little can be done to change the public perception of the economy (as a whole).  People who are in well paid, full time employment are more likely to spend more (not just things that are needed but also luxury items) and are also able to save better for tough times that might come ahead, thus softening the blow when the economy does start to shake.

There are many little things we can do to help out our economy as well as keeping jobs in the USA.  Sadly, many people choose to go the “cheap” route which is one of the killers of our economy and job market.  Sadly, most of these do involve us spending more money but over the long run it will help our economy.

Shop small.  I find it interesting that people would rather drive 45 minutes to an hour to shop at a store with slightly lower prices.  Sure, you may save 25 cents on a gallon of milk (and yes, it can add up) but you’ve already spent the gas on the trip as well as the time.  While shopping at local grocery stores may raise your grocery bill a little, when you factor in time and money it saves you (and most working adults need more time!).

While I am on the subject of groceries, local farms and farmer’s markets are a great way to get good and healthy food (and quite often competitively prices with grocery stores).  Here your money goes straight to local farmers (and their workers).  Many local farmer’s markets also have people selling many other goods you may want or need (soups, meats, jams, as well as home crafted items).

Many small businesses in your neighborhood may also provide you with other goods and services that you need.  I found out that a local store sells refills for my Soda Stream and sells the refills at the same price as mass-retailers.  Again, same price and I don’t need to drive out of my way (wasting time and gas).  Plus, I get to know local shop owners.  Look for local music stores as opposed to downloading songs.

You can also go out of your way to look for products that were made in the USA.  Again, while they may cost more, you are helping jobs stay in the USA and not sending money to overseas labor (which are also commonly in poor working conditions).  While it may not be easy to find products completely (or mostly) made in the USA some good searches on Google can easily yield some great results.

Sometimes shopping at small and local businesses isn’t going to get you everything you need but you can also research larger companies and see which ones pay their employees well (as opposed to others who take advantage of minimum wage laws).

It will take a lot of work and sacrifice from us to help turn things around but it is not impossible.  Changes like this come from the bottom up and it is up to us in which direction we want to go in.

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