Flowers at the Portland farmers market

Support Your Community and Save Big

Giving back can end up saving you thousands of dollars.

Flowers at the Portland farmers market

Visiting a local farmers' market can save you money.

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About two and a half years ago, my fiancé and I took a vacation to Oregon. We loved it so much that we moved here after being home for less than a month. When we made that move, we had no idea how much our lives would change. We found ourselves hiking more and going downtown more. In short, we fell in love with where we lived. 

Our new community soon rubbed off on us in other ways, too. In the past, we didn’t think too much about where the items we purchased came from. But after about a year of living in Oregon, we started noticing how important local community is to people here. Even fast food restaurants in our local area have pictures of the local farmers who they buy supplies from hanging on the wall. Soon enough, I got curious and decided to walk into a local meat market.

I was shocked. Great cuts of steak were on sale for two-thirds of the price I would usually pay for them. What made it better was the fact that they were fresh, so they tasted better. I thought to myself, “I’ve got to do this more!” Next thing I knew, local goods started to become a way of life. Shopping locally, I’ve saved tons of money, but that’s because of what I buy and how I buy it. 

Below are a few tips to help you support your local community while saving at least one thousand dollars a year. (The savings numbers are based on averages for a family of three in my area.)

As I mentioned above, local meat markets often have better, fresher cuts of meat for a much lower cost. I’m pretty sure that the lower cost has a lot to do with lower shipping expenses as it all comes from local sources. You can save $30 to $50 per month by taking advantages of specials at the local market, depending on how much meat you eat.

2. Take advantage of flea and farmers’ markets. 

When I was a kid, my dad would take me to the Lake Worth Flea Market in Florida almost every weekend. Although we often think of flea markets as places to buy used goods, there are often farmers selling fresh fruits and veggies

When I moved to Oregon, my idea of a flea market was blown out of the water. In Portland, we have the Saturday Market. It’s an outdoor flea market type structure, but it’s got everything you can imagine. The best farmers come there to sell their fruits and veggies. There are also many amazing artists selling their work for incredible prices. I soon found that flea markets and farmers’ markets were a common thing. Just by buying veggies there, you can save $20 to $30 per month. 

3. Spend a little time on Facebook. 

Facebook has become much more than a social network. It’s become a dating site, shopping catalog and more. It’s also become a way to save money while supporting your community. To do this, all you need to do is follow local stores on Facebook. Why? Many local stores are incredibly active on Facebook. By following them, you’ll be able to catch deals that aren’t published anywhere else. I even use Facebook to find great deals at local restaurants. Overall, I’d say that Facebook saves me about $100 per month.

As human beings, we are creatures of habit. We go to Walmart because that’s where we always go. However, stepping outside of the box and taking a look at what your local community can provide may surprise you. I know I was shocked when I added things up and noticed that I’m saving almost $200 a month just by shopping locally. Take a trip to your local farmers’ market, and you probably can, too.