This week is Money Smart Week, an American initiative that is an educational program designed to empower people with the knowledge and skills to make better-informed personal financial decisions around the key financial pillars of saving, spending, borrowing and planning.
If the arrival of Covid-19 has taught us anything, it has taught us that nothing is certain. Once thriving industries are struggling, many of us are facing an uncertain financial future due to issues such as lack of job security.
However, it’s not all doom and gloom. There are many of us that have spent the past year adapting to working from home and now realise that not only does this arrangement save them hours in terms of commuting, it also saves them money in terms of travel expenses (and possibly refreshments).
For better or worse, there will be very few that haven’t been financially impacted over the past year.
So today, as some of the lockdown restrictions are being lifted and we start to see our high streets re-opening, it’s more important than ever that we think about where we will spend our money. By shopping with local independent retailers you are helping your local economy, providing jobs, improving standards of living, improving facilities and generally ensuring your area is a nicer place to live.
Shopping local doesn’t have to be expensive. Often you’ll be surprised by the savings you can make compared to chains and supermarkets, plus you’ll save on fuel/transport costs by not having to drive out of town.
If you think that your local businesses cannot cater for your requirements please ask around, you’ll be amazed at what you can pick up from local suppliers. Many businesses will order in what you need, and perhaps deliver it direct to your door.
And if you cannot support your local traders locally by shopping with them, there are several ways that you can support local without spending a penny. These include:
- Engaging with businesses on social media either by liking, commenting or sharing their posts.
- Subscribing to their email newsletter to learn about their latest offers and news.
- Write a review – Independent traders rely on reviews to demonstrate to potential customers what kind of experience they can expect. Even if you have had a negative experience, it is worth leaving a honest review as business owners can use this to improve.
- Word of mouth. Talk to people about local businesses you love. Whilst reviews are great, you cannot beat having a personal recommendation from someone you trust.
Perhaps Money Smart Week was designed to help people make more informed choices regarding their financial planning, however this year, given that many businesses are re-opening for the first time this year, money smart week should be used to think about how and where we spend our money instead.