On Black Friday, you can make a difference locally

Black Friday is coming.

All week my plan was to write about the International Buy Nothing Day: A 24 hour moratorium on consumer spending.

It’s called Black Friday, because it is the day stores move from red to black in their sales margin.  The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is the highest spending month in the entire year.

Fueled by a culture of over-consumption millions of Americans will participate.  Although I am encouraging you to do something different, I do think this idea is worth a laugh, which I found on the Buy Nothing Day website.


This activity has the advantage of being most likely to piss off security personnel. You and nine of your closest friends silently drive your shopping carts around in a long, inexplicable conga line without ever actually buying anything.

(Anyway, it made me laugh out loud.  I would never be able to do it, but I can see my daughter Molly and nine of her friends involved in this kind of social protest.  Oh yeah!)

I found a better idea for those of us who are slightly middle aged and have $50-100 we plan to spend over the weekend of Black Friday. Well, I wish I had thought of it, really do.  But I console myself that there’s no new idea under the sun, even if you copyright it like this woman did.  I can sure support it, because it makes so much sense.  It is called the 3/50 Project.  But I explain it all here:

Spend at least $50 in three local businesses to show your support of local, independent businesses.

Ask yourself what local, independently owned businesses would you really miss if they disappeared?

Get into those stores and buy something.

For every $100 you spend locally, $68 stays in the local community.  If you shop or eat at national chains, only $43 stays in your community.  If you shop on-line nothing stays local, did you hear that? Nothing.

So I’m thinking  about that this week.

  • Frugal Muse is a local bookstore alternative.  Did you know if they don’t have the book you’re looking for, they’ll order it and give you 20% off. It’s so easy to just pop over to Amazon and 1-click.  But just think the difference it would make to call up Frugal Muse and place an order?  Remember, if you purchase on-line NOTHING stays local with your purchase.

Ask yourself where you shop often and could you make some changes to support local businesses not chains?

  • I give lots of money to Walgreens. (Yuck!)  One thing I want to do is research local pharmacies and find one to that I can put my dollars into a local business.  Why not.  I fill prescriptions every month.  I want as much of my money to stay local.
  • Ancora Coffee. Is the best coffee around in my opinion.  Can be purchased at local grocery stores like Sentry.  Ancora Coffee can also be purchased in local coffee shops, though I’m not sure which ones.  I bet I could find out! Friday, rather than get revved at Starbucks (I love me some Starbucks) try a local place like EVP.  No there’s no drive-thru, but that’s okay.
  • Speaking of Sentry Foods, they have a local campaign telling you everything in their store made within 100 miles of their store.  You can walk through the store and make decisions about purchasing based on local businesses you want to support.  I think that’s awesome.  Of course Woodman’s is local and owned by the people.  And cheap, nice and cheap.
  • The Camera Company.  Rather than make my purchases online, which I like to for ease of shopping in my pajamas, pop down there or get on their website.

Ask yourself where you eat out?

Rather than choosing a chain, consider one of the amazing local cuisines.  There are so many.  What are your favorite local eateries?  I’d like to know!! I’ll make a list and post it later.

Almost $70 of every $100 spent is a pretty daunting number!

Shopping local, independent shops might take a little research.  But think how good you you feel!!!  Rather than suck up to the giant conglomerates you’ll drink from the fountain of pure and  local.

  1. Choose three local independent shops and/or restaurants.
  2. Spend at least $50 (or more) and rest in the knowledge that almost 70% of each dollar you spend will go back into your community.

What are the top things you spend money on?  CDs?  Books.  Medication.  Food.  Gas.  Guitars (okay that’s just Tom.)

If we make smart local choices this about the different we’ll make in our local economy.  It may not always be the cheapest choice, but in the long run it may just be the tipping point to keep our local economy alive.

I chose Black Friday for this wonderful investment, but it could be any day in the shopping season.

Please let me know the three businesses you choose!!!

Yeah, boycott big chains this Friday!!!!!!!!!!

P.S.  Last year I wrote about spending $100 locally. (So okay, maybe I did have this idea first.) But seriously, it’s pretty good.  Read it.

P.P.S.  Obviously, this is geared toward Madison, but the same applies to any local economy.  Just do it!  Let me know your three choices whether you are here locally in Madison or elsewhere!

6 thoughts on “On Black Friday, you can make a difference locally

  1. Himal Chuli! It’s still there? Last time I visited Madison 3 of the places we loved were gone. Pasta per Tutti, Saigon (oh. my. word. Spring Rolls (uncooked kind) to die for, squid stuffed with pork. Gah.) and ?? can’t think of the other place. Still, it’s good to know that Himal Chuli is still there.


  2. For restaurants I’d put Jolly Bob’s, Doug’s Soul Food (OMG the hushpuppies are incredible there) and Monty’s Blue Plate down as local favorites.
    If you got someone who likes to bake send them to Vanilla Bean, they always seem to have what I’m looking for baking/candy making.
    Orange Tree Imports is also a great place to send any foodie in your life.


    1. These are great ideas. I love Jolly Bob’s as well. Their coconut shrimp appetizer is worth the trip alone. I’ve never been into Vanilla Bean. I’ve have to check it out.


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