I hope you are enjoying the waning days of summer. Whether you are using them to squeeze in the last ounce of summer fun or preparing your home and family for the fall changes just ahead, the upcoming weeks generally involve new purchases. With back-to-school shopping underway, the Severna Park Voice devoted a full page urging locals to shop within their community and for readers to “put away their Amazon Prime account”. Author Larry Sales admitted his sometimes use of Amazon Prime, re-committed to shopping locally, and asked his readers to do the same. Here, here, Larry! I am with you! Both admitting my use of Amazon Prime and committing to shopping local. But there is no all-or-nothing for me. Shopping on-line can allow for more time and money to use in local restaurants, local health and wellness services, and local luxury salon services. We want to support and enjoy these services and take advantage of helpful technology (without the guilt Mr Sales suggested), as well as support our community businesses.
Mr.Sales very strong case for shopping locally inspires me to find greater balance in my shopping efforts. But just wanting to do better isn’t really a plan. A How-to is in order to follow through on turning a good idea into a successful change in habit. Change is best achieved with thoughtful consideration and diligent action. I have laid out some get-started ideas for those of you that wish to improve local shopping habits, but are overwhelmed at how to begin:
Commit Realistically – Mission statements work. Create a well-motivated, achievable goal statement. Here is a starter: In order to be a good neighbor and citizen of my community, I will support local businesses by strategizing the best use of time and money, incorporating a local shopping system into my week and my home, limiting my on-line shopping to:________________(fill-in the blank), and encouraging others to do likewise.
Plan Locally – Success begins with a to-do list. Rather than waiting two days before you need something, plan your purchases around your daily activities. Keep on-going shopping lists by store, then pick up everything at one trip after work, exercise routine, church, etc. Tip: Corner pharmacies have an abundant variety of products at very reasonable prices.
Shop Efficiently – Learn where stuff is. Select a few favorite stores on your regular routes for your most frequently purchased items. Also, choose your favorite specialty shops. Getting to know your local toy or gift sellers is fun, as well as efficient. They know their on-line competition and are prepared to take good care of you.
House Abundantly – Stocking up has lots of advantages. Carve out some space in your basement for drygoods, soaps and paper goods, and buy lots when they are on sale. Also stock up (realistically) on gifts and gift wrap, office supplies, etc. It’s faster to go down the basement to get what you need, than to order online, open and recycle the box, and then return what wasn’t right.
Proceed Cautiously – Start with the easiest and most enjoyable of your new plans, add on another, if/when you are able. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES stock up on items you would, could, should, or might use someday. This can over-fill your home, make life more difficult, rob you of time, and start the cycle of on-line shopping all over again. DON’T DO IT!
Forgive Repeatedly – Starting new habits is hard. And since we are all so attached to our devices, literally having shopping at our finger tips, adding a few extra trips a week may be a challenge. Start simply, incorporate what you can, then forgive yourself what you cannot make a priority. Then try again when you are feeling more in charge.
Inspire Loudly – Mr Sales inspired me and hopefully this has inspired you. Now pass it on! Chat on your favorite social media about what great products and deals you found locally, Comment to keep positive conversation going, and be sure to Sharewhen you see something great.