Did you know the Saturday after Thanksgiving is designated by the Federal Government, Small Business Saturday? This movement, originally founded by American Express in 2010, has impacted many in just 6 years.  On that day in 2014, it is estimated that $14.3B was spent at independantly-owned businesses and in 2015 95M Americans shopped small! 

So why is this such a big deal? Well, it has been estimated by several different studies, that shopping locally returns 3x as much money back into a local community than big box retailers. And ultimately that is why my partner, Rachel founded Styleshack. To support all of the really cool, local retailers who add flavor to our cities. That is why we have both dedicated our lives to building our company and promoting our clients. 

Now, I know many people are on a tight budget and think shopping locally or supporting small businesses means you will spend more money. Believe me, I know what it's like to be on a tight budget. My husband is a 3rd year ER resident and we have two little kids in daycare – to say I'm on a budget is an understatement. So here are 5 easy ways to support local businesses and independent retailers more often, while not breaking the bank!

1. Buy Coffee from an Independent Once/Week
If you buy your coffee from Starbucks, just take that $4.50 (what I spend on my Grande Coconut Milk Latte) and make a point to buy from an independent coffee shop just once a week. That $4.50 adds up to $234 a year – now imagine if just 50 other people did the same thing – thats almost $12k in additional revenue the independent coffee shop is getting. That's huge for a small business. 

2. Buy Produce from your Farmers Market
You will actually save money buying direct from a farmer AND its healthier! Even in winter, there are Farmers Markets around – find one near you at Local Harvest

3. Embrace Vintage & Resale Shops
This is a big way to not only support a local area shop, but just to save money in general. I have a go-to kids re-sale shop in my downtown, The Funky Frog, that has the best stuff for a fraction of what I would pay at a big-box. Its name-brand, gently used (some even still have tags) and I leave feeling good that I'm supporting a real person, as well as the environment. The money I save can fund my expensive coffee drinking habit. 

4. Shop Small for Dresses
The next time you need a great dress for an event, make a point of getting one from a local boutique instead of big box – that way, you can be sure you will stand out from the crowd and nobody will be wearing the same dress!

5. Buy Specialty Items from Specialty Shops (Bikes, Snow/Ski equipment, etc)
The expertise will be far superior than those at a big box, and the price won't be much different either – for brand name items, you typically won't find a huge difference in pricing from one store to another, so save your gas money and head to the local retailer. 

Pretty easy, right?

And for those of you who are not interested in heading out for Black Friday Shopping or Small Business Saturday, preferring to stay in – Styleshack has you covered. We put together a Holiday Gift Guide with items from independent stores that you can shop from online OR in-store. So go ahead, relax in your food coma with your computer and #ShopSmall!