By Arthur Zaczkiewicz
As we continue to slog through this recession (we’re in a double-dip one, according to some experts), there are a lot of actions citizens like you and me can do to help weather this downturn. As consumers (two thirds of our GDP is driven by consumer spending), we have a lot of power to change the economy – especially on a local level.
Here are five things you can do starting today to improve your household cash flow, bolster the local economy and save money too:
1. Shop local. Sure, you’ve heard this one before. But it’s true. Supporting local businesses instead of chain stores can change the local economy. According to the 3/50 Project, “For every $100 spent in a local, independent, brick and mortar business, more than $68 returns to your community. Spend it with a big box or chain and only $43 returns. Spend it online, and unless you live in the *same* community as the e-tailer, zero comes home.”
So instead of shopping at CVS and Walgreen (we now have two of each in the City of Kingston proper), for example, support the local, independent pharmacy, Neko’s. Instead of buying stuff at Wal-Mart, shop the stores uptown, midtown and downtown. Fleischer’s has great meat. Kingston Natural Foods sells local and organic foods. Uptown, there are several shops that sell women’s apparel and accessories. If you have to drive somewhere to shop, make the trip to Adam’s Fairacre Farms or Davenport’s, which now has local, summer corn.
2. Grow your own. This is a no brainer. A vegetable garden needs good soil, sun, seeds, and water. The time it takes you to go shopping is better spent enjoying the tending of your garden. Plus, nothing tastes as good as home grown tomatoes, kale and lettuce. One four-by-four foot square garden can produce enough food during the growing season for one person. If you don’t have the space to garden, there are several community gardens where you can grow food. Email me at zaczkiewiczATyahoo.com and I’ll connect you to the garden stewards.
3. Buy in season and in bulk. As just mentioned, summer corn is now available. Consider buying a sack of corn and spending an afternoon with your family blanching and freezing it. This can also be done with other veggies and fruits, and sustain you and your family through the winter. Learn more here.
4. Hold a DVD and book swap with your neighbors. Instead of doling out money on movies and books, consider having a swap with friends and neighbors. It’s fun to see what they have in their collection, and it’s a nice way to socialize too.
5. Leave the car home. Before you get in the car to drive anywhere, consider walking or biking where you have to go. This is not only a brilliant way to save money on gas, but it’s good for your health and the environment too.
Can you think of any of your own? Please share by commenting below!