Saving money to attain the goal of early retirement was a big goal for me, one that I achieved in 2012. My mentors were Amy Dacyczyn , author of The Tightwad Gazette Newsletter and Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin, authors of Your Money or Your Life. Commuting 90 minutes a day to a stressful job and coming home to my second shift was draining away the joy of life.
Trying to accomplish a goal of cutting family income by more than half, may call for drastic measures. I have no problem shopping in thrift stores. It’s a great way to keep items out of the landfill while providing useful items at a lower price. Making meals at home and eating out less is another way to eat healthier foods and save money. Cooking is back in style during Covid. My husband and I enjoy simple foods so this is not a big loss.
The technique of shopping for the lowest price is where a huge problem can develop. I definitely believe in price shopping for groceries, clothes, electronics, everything! We pay less for computers and electronics than we did 10 years ago. Some of this is due to improved technology, but primarily to outsourced manufacturing to countries with cheap (slave) labor. This is not new news, but we’ve started feeling the real cost when items needed during Covid, prescription drugs and personal protection equipment were no longer available. Our government realized bad economic and trade policy encouraged manufacturers to leave the U.S.A. for cheaper labor.
After WW2, our parents and grandparents answered the call from the U.S. government to plant Victory Gardens due to a transportation shortage. Over 20 million answered that call. Our problem today? We (me) have an addiction to cheap goods made in foreign countries on the backs of slaves. We cry out rightly of the injustice of slavery in America, but we turn a blind eye to the nameless invisible slaves who work 15 to 17 hours a day with little food or income to support our addiction. 1
My challenge is to purchase every item, as much as possible, produced and manufactured in America. This takes research, planning and in some cases, deciding not to buy at all. During Covid, supporting the local neighborhood business is critical to it’s survival.
To research purchases, the following internet sites are a good start:
Walmart appears to be making an attempt to go back to it’s Made in America roots started by it’s founder, Sam Walton. It has pledged to purchase 250 billion in American made products by 2023. 2 Walmart appears to have made human rights a priority in their buying of foreign goods and this is encouraging. 3
Local thrift shops that support churches or missions are good alternatives.
As a Christian, I still want to support the poor in other countries. One of the ways I can do this is help free them of sweat shop slavery. Opportunity International is a Christian organization that provides education and micro loans for small business and agriculture. https://opportunity.org/ According to Charity Navigator their program expense ratio is 92.11% which is very good. I’m sure there are other organizations that do the same.
Shopping with good stewardship will be a little more time consuming than find best price, click and buy method, but I will be voting with my dollars saying “No” to worker abuse and “Yes” to supporting our local economy.