I Want To Shop Local – But How?

I hope this email finds you well. I’ve been an avid reader of your column, and I really appreciate the practical advice you provide to help people make smart financial and lifestyle choices.

So, here’s the thing: I’ve recently been inspired by a movement in my community that emphasizes the importance of shopping locally. I believe that it’s essential for me to contribute to my community’s economic well-being, especially after the roller coaster we’ve been through these past few years. However, I must confess that I am a bit overwhelmed and don’t really know where to begin.

It’s not just about finding local shops, but also knowing which ones might offer the products or services I need, and how I can make a habit of turning to them instead of immediately jumping onto an online retail giant.

Anika, do you have any recommendations on how I can start this transition to primarily supporting local businesses? Any apps, websites or practical tips on finding and evaluating them would be immensely appreciated! Additionally, if you have any advice on how to encourage others in my circle to do the same, that would be fantastic!

Looking forward to your wisdom on this matter.

Alyssa M

Dear Alyssa,

Thank you for your wonderful letter and for being such a dedicated reader! It warms my heart to hear that you’re looking to support local businesses. Shopping local is not just about economic support; it’s about building and sustaining communities. I applaud your initiative!

Firstly, let’s address finding local businesses. Farmers’ Markets are a fantastic place to start. You’ll find local produce, and often times crafts and other products from local artisans. It’s a double win, as you’re not only shopping local but also getting fresh and often more sustainable products.

Another option is to check if your community has a Local Business Directory. Many towns and cities have directories available online or in print, which can be incredibly helpful. If you’re a fan of technology, apps like Nextdoor or Yelp can be customized to show you local businesses in your area. Nextdoor is especially community-focused, and often people share experiences and recommendations.

Now, for the habit-building part. One thing I found useful is setting a monthly budget specifically for local shopping. It can be a small portion of your overall budget, but allocate it strictly for purchases at local establishments. It not only helps in building the habit but also makes you more mindful of where your money is going.

As for encouraging others, sharing is caring! Whenever you find a great local product or have a positive experience, don’t hesitate to share it with friends and family. Social media is a powerful tool – a simple post can go a long way. Also, gifting locally sourced items during holidays or special occasions is a subtle and effective way to spread the word.

Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself. Transitioning takes time and it’s okay to take baby steps. Maybe start with getting your weekly vegetables from a local vendor, or your coffee from the independent café instead of the chain down the street.

Alyssa, I wish you all the best on your local shopping journey. Your community will be better for it, and I suspect, so will you.


  • Anika Patel

    Anika Patel boasts an extensive understanding of financial markets from her tenure at Goldman Sachs and roles such as Portfolio Manager and Financial Advisor. With degrees from Stanford and Wharton, she's also an author and adjunct professor, advocating for financial literacy among marginalized communities. Anika's work, praised for breaking down complex concepts into digestible steps, centers on personal finance, investment strategies, and wealth management, with a keen interest in ESG investments.

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