'Tis is the season where the consumers go a little crazy, buying holiday gifts for all sorts of people.
Here are some guidelines that will help keep you out of financial trouble, while making sure your purchases are good for your community and the planet.
Live within your means.
It's easy this time of year to be swept up in the sales and buy expensive things to demonstrate how you feel about other people. This often leads to buying on credit and the inevitable christmas hangover: the credit card bill.
Spending with credit cards feels less like spending real money, and subtly encourages you to spend more. Keep your spending under control this Christmas. The misery that comes from overspending isn't worth it.
Now that we've taken care of you, let's take care of your community.
Here's how: Shop locally. Whenever possible, keep your money in the community by shopping at locally owned, locally operated stores.
It's easy to shop at huge big box stores and major online retailers, but most of that money heads straight out of town.
Obviously, local shopping helps keep those independent local stores in business. That's good for you too.
Local businesses are the engine of the local economy. They employ local people and they buy lots of their goods and services locally as well. That keeps the money you spent on gifts in the community, helping your community thrive.
Those particular dollars might not come directly back to you, but the more money that bounces around in your community, the more of it will find its way back to you.
Now that we've taken care of the community, think about the planet.
Recognize where your purchases come from, and where they're going. Consider basing your decisions on things like excess packaging, fair-trade, recyclability, and the long term usefulness of what you're giving. Avoid things that are likely to hit the garbage soon or have negative social or environmental impacts.
Keep these guidelines in mind as you complete your christmas shopping and you, your community, and your planet will have a Merry Christmas.
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