I’ve noticed a lot of blog posts and a growing movement on Twitter and the blogosphere about the topic: “move your money.” (See the site: MoveYourMoney.info). Full disclosure: I work for a local credit union in my area, and I prefer the credit union not-for-profit business model. I typically try to avoid any direct reference to where I work because that’s not what my journey is about, its about my personal finances. However, I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the concept of “going local” with anything you buy, including where you choose to bank. To me, going local is an important part of making conscious decisions and choosing where and how to spend your money. Choosing to shop local has many benefits which I will explain in a moment.
This particular movement is coming from consumer’s anger at the big banks for being bailed out and spending OUR tax dollars for often times wasteful and frivolous purposes. Many people, including big names such as Bill Maher (watch a video from Maher), and Suze Orman are endorsing and making public statements about going local and moving your money. They believe that if enough people actually do this, it would mean that we are actually doing something big to INFLUENCE change, one individual at a time.
I have not always been a large proponent of ‘spending local’. I admit that I still (shamefully) have a BofA credit card. I don’t always remember to shop at the farmer’s market. However, the more I start to learn and educate myself about the current financial system in America, the more that I learn about the awful things that are put into my child’s toys that are from China, and the more that I truly understand the impact of shipping my hard-earned dollars out of my local community, the more I realize that choosing to spend your money local is one of the most useful things you can do for YOUR local economy and the stability of those around you.
So, if you are already choosing to shop local, or if you are considering taking it one step further, start to think of other places that you can make the choice to spend local and invest in your own community instead of communities outside of your influence.
Here’s a few suggestions for spending & keeping your money local:
- Go to your old town, specialty shops, or craft fairs for buying gifts, these stores need your support
- Stock up at the farmer’s market from local growers
- Look for local produce at your regular grocery store
- Choose a local bank or credit union (find a credit union) to save and borrow money from
- Consider going thrifty – to thrift stores and garage sales to buy things that you don’t need brand new (Better yet, swap! Check out SwapMamas.com for local swap options)
- Consider a Staycation this summer – there are many uncharted territories in your state to be discovered, its often less expensive to stay in town on your time off, and you spend local
- Eat at locally owned restaurants instead of big chains
You don’t have to give up things that you love to go local. And you don’t have to do all of the items on my list. Mainly, all that I plan to do and suggest you try, is to think twice about the options for where to spend your money, and consider making a more conscious choice when you do decide to spend.