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Top Ten Reasons to Shop at Your Local Stores

shoppingIt may seem like those days are gone forever, lost in a sea of big box stores and faceless cashiers, but the local movement has been making a comeback in recent years From concerns about suburban sprawl to worries about the environment, there are many reasons why shoppers have been taking a step away from the big box mentality and giving their local shops another look. If you doubt the value of acting locally, just take a look at the top 10 ways shopping local helps the community, the economy, and the environment.

1) Local stores give back to the community. Local merchants give back to the community in a variety of different ways, from buying those Little League uniforms to serving as mentors for youths who might otherwise turn to a life of crime. No matter how good their intentions, big box stores simply cannot match the level of commitment and community involvement local stores can provide.

2) Local communities help to support the local tax base. When the tax base suffers, everyone in the community suffers, so supporting local merchants is good for everyone in the community. Many communities that have seen their downtowns decimated have also experienced a spike in local taxes, so patronizing your local stores can be good for your bottom line.

3) Local stores carry unique merchandise not handled by the big box stores. Big box stores by their very nature can only carry so much merchandise, and that means you may not be able to find the unique items you need there. Local stores know the needs of their customers, and they are able to order accordingly.

4) Local stores give character to the community. We have all had the experience of driving across the state or across the country, only to experience a disconcerting sameness. The downtown communities used to offer a relief from that generic look, and downtowns can thrive again if each of us does our part.

5) Buying from local merchants provides personal interaction that big box stores simply cannot match. Personal interaction is a big part of the buying experience, and local merchants can provide that personal interaction. The entire purchasing process can be much more satisfying when you actually know the store owner and his or her family.

6) Local stores employ your friends and neighbors. When you buy from local merchants you are helping to keep members of your community, from your friends in the church to your colleagues on the Chamber of Commerce.

7) Local stores can lessen the environmental impact of retailing. We have all seen the big box stores move into town and buy up the local farms and other open land. Local merchants tend to have less of an impact on the environment, so buying local can be good for the Earth as well.

8) Local stores provide better choices for consumers. While every big box store stocks the same merchandise, local merchants can afford to be a little more creative. If there is a product you have to have, chances are your local store owners will be able to find just what you need.

9) Store owners plow money back into the community. The owners of local businesses have a vested interest in the long term health of their communities, and they know that when their communities thrive they thrive as well. Local store owners have a commitment to their communities that no big box retailer can match.

10) Local stores provide peace of mind. When you buy from a local merchant you know where your merchandise is coming from, and that can provide real peace of mind. This can be particularly important when it comes to grocery stores – being able to talk to the owner about where the meat and produce came from can give you real peace of mind.

Some Ways to Save Money at the Grocery Store

bag-groceryWith grocery prices on the rise it has never been more important for families to save money where they can. The prices of many basic staples have risen sharply in recent years, and that has left many people struggling to serve their families the nutritious meals they need.

Fortunately there are some relatively easy and painless steps families can take to trim their food budgets significantly without sacrificing either quality or nutrition. By changing the ways they plan and shop, smart consumers can save hundreds of dollars a month while still preparing tasty meals for those they love.

Build Your Recipes Around the Weekly Sales

One of the most effective cost savings strategies is to build the weekly recipes around what is on special at the store. This strategy allows shoppers to stock u p on products at a great price while significantly shrinking the cost of each meal.

Just about every grocery store features weekly specials, and stores frequently compete with one another to offer the lowest possible prices on the products shoppers buy most often.. In some cases stores use these weekly bargains as loss leaders – luring shoppers through the doors in hopes that they will purchase more expensive products with higher margins In other cases stores use these discounts to reward loyal shoppers who participate in the store’s loyalty card programs No matter what the reason for the sale, savvy shoppers can use these specials to create some great recipes.

Just consider one example to illustrate the point. Imagine the local grocery store is running a killer special on pasta, pasta sauce and fresh sausage. The smart shopper can use these great prices to build a week’s worth of delicious meals. The week may start with a great meal of fresh spaghetti and pasta sauce garnished with some delicious sausage. That leftover spaghetti can then be paired with a great sausage casserole or a delicious rice and pasta creation. Sausage sandwiches topped with a delicious homemade sauce can provide some great snacks, weekend meals or meals on the run. No matter what the combination those weekly store specials can be used to create some great meals for a very affordable price. Cooking extra meals and freezing them for later can make the savings stretch even further.

Consider Off-Price Grocery Stores

While store specials are a great way to build some delicious meals and save some serious dough, those specials don’t always come when they are needed. Many traditional grocery stores have started marking up their shelf prices to make their sales look better, and that means that the items not on sale can be quite costly. To combat these types of practices many smart shoppers are looking to off-price grocery stores and generic items to fill the gap.

3 Ways to Have a Romantic Valentine’s Day Without Breaking the Bank

flowers-heartValentine’s Day is a day that women love and men dread. Women look forward to being spoiled with romantic gifts and gestures, and men ruefully wonder how much Valentine’s Day will cost this year. Although big presents and expensive dinners can be fun, they aren’t the only way to woo your woman. Here are five great ways to score big points with your lady—without spending big money.

1 – Make Her Dinner

Money isn’t the only thing that counts as romantic for women. Thought and time are at least as important. Lovingly making a Valentine’s Day dinner for your wife is a wonderful way to show that you care for her. See if you can make one of her favorite foods If possible, make a recipe that means something special to her. Did she have a special pasta dish on the night of your first date? Rnd the recipe online, and make it. Even if your dinner doesn’t come out especially well, she’ll appreciate your effort, and she’ll still think. it’s romantic.

2 – Create an Ambiance

Presentation is a key part of romance, and it’s a must on Valentine’s Day. There might be just as much chocolate in a king-sized Crunch bar as in a heart-shaped box of carefully arranged sweets, but one of them is going to wow your wife, and the other one isn’t. So, whatever you do, make it special.

Make an extra effort to get dressed up. If you know where the good tablecloth is, use it. Put silky sheets on the bed. Buy a couple of candles—they’re cheap, and they automatically create a romantic setting. If you really want to go the extra mile, buy rose petals at a local flower store and spread them around the dining room or bedroom. These simple touches can make all the difference in the world for a woman. They can change a normal dinner into an elegant Valentine’s Day celebration, and they can change everyday sex into breathtaking, romantic lovemaking.

3 – Write Her Something

valentine’s Day is-the perfect day to write something for your wife. It doesn’t matter if you’re good at it or not—she’ll appreciate it anyway. Women appreciate it when their men are willing to bare their souls, when they’re willing to take a risk. Writing something for your wife shows that you care for her and that you trust her enough to let yourself be vulnerable.

If the words are beautiful, your wife will appreciate them. If they’re not, she’ll appreciate the sentiment behind them. Your writing will be romantic whether it’s good or not. You can’t lose, as long as you’re sincere. Love letters are always in style on Valentine’s Day, and love poems are too. If you want, you can also write down some memories of when you met, or of some other important moment from your past.

In your writing, try to be as specific as possible. Your woman would probably enjoy hearing that she looks nice, but she’d love it if you told her that you’re crazy about the way her hair cuds when it reaches her shoulders, or how sexy the soft skin at the small other back is In general, the more specific details you include, the more romantic it will be.