Buy USA Plan Update – How’s it working for me?

I recently made a commitment to buy products made in the USA I’ve Accepted The Challenge – Will you? Having the internet has made it easier to research, but more time consuming than just going to Walmart or Amazon, finding the best price and reviews, press the button and done, package on it’s way!

I haven’t been successful in every case. In a recent emergency, I just made the purchase because it was a serious health issue. The current Covid pandemic brought the seriousness of lack of USA medical personal protection devices to light. This also extends to thermometers and oxygen meters.

Another problem is–Coffee. I have a serious coffee addiction. To support my habit I buy large 30 ounce cans of whatever is on sale and stock up. Brazil, Vietnam, Columbia and Indonesia are the top 4 coffee producers. There is no “Made in the USA” when it comes to coffee. Fair Trade Coffee is an option that I’m currently researching. Fair Trade Coffee helps support farmers from wildly fluctuating coffee prices to provide a stable price to provide a living wage for the farmer and his family. https://www.fairtradecertified.org/ gives a good explanation of the details. Even my local Walmart has a good collection of Fair Trade Coffees including Newman’s Own, Ethical Bean and Seattle’s Best. Yes, the price is higher than my discount brands but I can drink less and also waste less.

Success

I am thrilled that Dollar Tree has Gossner’s Boxed Milk back in stock. I’m not a fan of powdered milk so this has been my go to prepper’s milk for the last few years. It has a real milk taste and has a year shelf life. Gossner Foods is a family owned business with locations in Utah and Idaho. The boxes come in quart sizes. I can order a case of 12 for $12 online thru Dollar Tree and have it shipped to their store location for free. My order came just in time before our recent snow storm hit. Prepping for Polar Express 2021 What a relief to have on hand when the roads are bad!

These Keen soft toe work shoes are made in the U.S.A. They are more expensive but are very sturdy and well made. John is very hard on shoes working on the ranch, welding, and chopping cedar trees.

Can a Buy USA plan be done? Yes and No. Some purchases, such as parts for John’s Mahindra tractor (bought used) requires foreign parts. Should we give up? No. If I can achieve a 90% buy USA, and buy used when options are not available or out of our price limit or buy from a country that does not use slavery for the remaining 10%, then I have come a long ways to stop my family’s support of slave labor.

I would like to hear about your successes and failures to Buy Made in the USA.

I’ve Accepted The Challenge – Will you?

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:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Food_manufacturers_of_the_United_States

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.