Get Rewarded For Eating, Shopping and Playing Local



Kristen Vails Gilpin

Last summer, my husband seriously began to consider closing his retail store. While we were having conversations about what to do, I began thinking more about our own habits as consumers. We thought of ourselves as local supporters, but did our actions really reflect that?

We had been keeping a serious budget so I tracked our spending really close, and in looking where we were spending I saw some room for improvement. So, last summer I set out to #keepitlocaler. I didn’t set any specific goal other than to try and shop local as much as possible. I researched new places to shop, asked for recommendations, tried out different stores, ran into snags and made some delightful discoveries. Overall, what I learned most was that shopping local requires intention and planning. This isn’t unlike any lifestyle that pushes against the mainstream culture. To eat healthier takes intention and planning, to get out of debt takes intention and planning, to make green choices takes intention and planning, and so on.

I want to shop local. I want to live healthier. I want to create less impact on the environment. I want to use my time for meaningful experiences and investing in others, but in the hustle of day to day life how can there be room for planning and intentionality in all of those areas? 

Further, how can I afford to do it all? It feels like lifestyle choices like these come at a price, but with the limited funds in my bank account how can there be room to afford all it all?

My husband ultimately decided to close the doors of his brick and mortar shop in February of this year after 11 years in business.

When approached about writing for this blog, this is where I was. The shop had just closed and there was this longing to just fall into the stream of easy. We were tired. Then, I read the economic study and the impact that shifting 10% can have for local businesses and economy. Perhaps this is the answer? We can’t have it all, but maybe that shift in shopping local, and applying that shift to other areas of my life...maybe that is the balance? Maybe that is the compromise?

I think most people know why it’s important to shop local. It’s the how that trips us up when time and money is tight. Over the next few months, I’ll be documenting my aim to make this shift as I go through categories in our budget:

  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Transportation
  • Household
  • Services
  • Gifts
  • Pets
  • ...and more

Sprinkled in this shift, I’ll be exploring some thoughts, questions and ideas.

What does shopping more local mean for a millenial(ish) couple who are striving to have a more minimal lifestyle when it comes to material things?

What is the feasibility of a commitment to shop local for those that do not have much flexibility or resources? For the single mom, the family living paycheck to paycheck, the person without access to reliable transportation?

I hope you’ll keep up and offer any recommendations, tips, tricks and questions along the way. Hopefully this time next year, twelve months of intention and planning will have resulted in a natural discipline with all the benefits of shopping more locally.

Tweet your reccomendations, tips, tricks or questions for Kristen to @kristenvails with hashtag #keepitlocalok!