If you're like me, you're stuck in a position of "Gee, I'd like to help the economy by going shopping" and "Yikes! Did you see the BGE bill? How are we gonna pay that?!"
In other words, we're all watching our pennies these days. But it's important to see where our pennies are going as well as watching them leave our hands. Not to name any one specific big box store that I refuse to shop in (but it has a really creepy smiley face logo), but any time you can go local you help individuals directly -- rather than trying to rationalize that "well, big box store pays employees and perhaps they get a fair wage -- although they can't possibly afford health insurance" -- any time you can go local it's a good thing.
In fact, it helps the neighbors. It helps the neighborhood. It helps you.
Pick 3 local merchants and spend $50. More of that will stay in the neighborhood than if you shop big box. From The 3/50 Project:
For every $100 spent in locally owned independent stores, $68 returns to the community through taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. If you spend that in a national chain, only $43 stays here. Spend it online, and nothing comes home.
We are so lucky to have vibrant small businesses in our area. Let's help keep them alive this holiday season by shopping local. If you need some ideas of what's in the neighborhood, we've got a short list on the right side bar, but the Hamilton-Lauraville Main Street blog has a comprehensive list (on the left hand side).
In fact, the most exciting news of the week for me so far is that we're getting a bakery!