[Disclosure: While the the following blog post is my honest opinion, it also contains some affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no additional cost to you. ]
Small Business Saturday
Today is Small Business Saturday, and that’s great. However, if we really want local businesses to thrive, we need to maintain this shopping attitude all year long!
Here are some quick tips for easy ways to support small businesses and use your dollars to make the world a little better – not just during the holiday season, but all year long:
Shopping local at home and on the road
Whether I’m at home or on a road trip, I love supporting locally owned businesses. As a former brick and mortar business owner, I truly understand how hard it is to run your own shop.
Mindful shopping epiphany
In fact, it was quite an epiphany when I realized that every time someone chose to buy from my shop, they were essentially voting for me with their dollars. This was long before online shopping was a ‘thing.’ Even so, owning a small business changed my attitude towards shopping forever.
Now when I shop, whether it’s online or in person, I think of it as voting for a particular business. If I like what they are doing and I want them to stick around, then I vote for them by purchasing things from them.
Eventbrite can be helpful
Today, for instance, my hubby and I spent the afternoon chatting with local artists and crafts people at an outdoor Arts Fair in Delray Beach, Florida. I found out about this event, a.k.a. the 18th Annual Downtown Delray Beach Thanksgiving Weekend Art Festival through Eventbrite.
It was a lot of fun!
Use Yelp to find cool independent businesses to support
Eventbrite is helpful, but one of my absolute favorite ways to find cool local businesses wherever I am is to do some research with Yelp. While Yelp’s iPhone app is great for spontaneous finds while traveling, I lean heavily on the Yelp website for advance trip planning.
I have found so many great places through Yelp! (In fact, thanks to Yelp’s help during a West Texas road trip, I learned about the Santa Claus Bank Robber – and ended up writing a whole book about it!)
Tools for mindful online shopping
I’m big on shopping local, but some things can only be found online. So how can you make your dollars meaningful while buying from a retail giant like Amazon?
Amazon Smile lets you support charities
Fortunately, Amazon makes it easy for us. When I buy through amazon, I use Amazon Smile instead of the regular Amazon.com site. Everything costs the same amount on Amazon Smile as it does on the regular Amazon. The big difference is that a portion of your purchases go towards the charity of your choice. I currently support the clean water charity, for example. (For more info, visit: Amazon Smile.)
Check out your friends’ online shops
Another way to support mindful shopping is to support people you know. You may be surprised at how of your Facebook friends have online shops. Do they have an Etsy shop? Do they have an Amazon Author Page? How can you find out? Just ask them!
Today, I asked my Facebook followers who has an Etsy shop or otherwise sells things online and the response was overwhelming! Not only do I plan to do the bulk of my gift shopping throughout the year through my friends, but I plan to give them a shout out on my blog in upcoming posts.
Check out my Amazon Author Page
Speaking of authors, check out my Amazon Author Page. For some reason, that page doesn’t list all of my books, so click here to see the rest. Also, by next week, I will also have an Amazon Influencers Page featuring a selection of my favorite quirky but practical items.
Charitable Online Retailers
When I’m shopping for something I need but can’t find at a local business, I look for online shops with a mom and pop feel and merchants who donate part of their proceeds to charity.
MAHI Leather supports a water charity
For instance, I really need a new laptop bag. So when the time comes, I plan to order one from MAHI Leather. MAHI Leather bags are sturdy, classy, and made to order. To top it off, they donate $1.50 from each bag to Frank Water, a charity which helps folks in India and Nepal obtain access to clean water. Pretty cool, huh?
How do you make your dollars matter?
How about you? How do you think we can support mindful shopping all year long? Do you feel better buying from a company that makes charitable contributions? What are your tips for using your money to make a positive impact on the world?
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Tui Snider is an author, speaker, and photographer who specializes in North Texas travel, cemetery symbols, and haunted lore. As she puts it, “I used to write fiction – but then, I moved to Texas!”
Snider’s best-selling books include Paranormal Texas , Understanding Cemetery Symbols, and 100 Things to Do in Dallas - Fort Worth Before You Die.