The day after Thanksgiving kicks off the biggest shopping days of the entire year, but Small Business Saturday gets far less attention than the days it’s sandwiched between. Enticed by some of the lowest prices of the year, shoppers flock to big box stores on Black Friday and shop online deals all day Cyber Monday.
But there are plenty of deals to be snagged if you shop Small Business Saturday as well. And, for reasons described below, every dollar you spend at small businesses does far more good than your dollars spent with other retailers.
What is Small Business Saturday?
Small Business Saturday is an annual tradition introduced by American Express in 2010. As part of its Shop Small movement, the intent is to strengthen local communities by supporting small businesses within them.
Small Business Saturday falls on the Saturday immediately following Thanksgiving. As more people become aware of the tradition, more small businesses participate by offering special deals that day.
How Do I Find the Best Small Business Saturday Deals?
Many local businesses promote their special offers in social media posts. If you aren’t already following your favorite local shops on your favorite platforms (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter), it’s a good idea to do so before Small Business Saturday.
If you don’t want to follow several pages, look for a community Facebook group in your area where small business owners and local residents share information. Also, pick up your local paper or check the online version for Small Business Saturday events in your area.
Preparing to Shop Small Business Saturday
Once you know how to find all the best Small Business Saturday deals, make sure you’ve prepared financially so that you aren’t stressing about money throughout the holiday season.
If you haven’t already, start stashing a little extra away in a short-term savings account each payday. Look for one like this Basic Savings account from Navy Federal Credit Union that has a low minimum deposit and no monthly service charge.
If you’re a servicemember, veteran, Department of Defense employee or contractor, or the family member of any of the aforementioned individuals, you’re eligible to become a Member of Navy Federal. I encourage you to sign up since they have some of the best rates on both savings and loans!
Choose the Right Credit Card
It’s never a good idea to go into debt to fund your holiday shopping. That being said, since so many credit cards provide great rewards, if you choose and use them wisely, you can actually save money with them.
Some credit cards, like the More Rewards Card from Navy Federal, even let you earn free merchandise and gift cards which you can then use as stocking stuffers or gifts!
Check out all of the different credit card options available from your credit union or bank to find the one that provides the best rewards for the way you spend. Sign up ahead of the holiday season and make sure you pay off the balance each month so you can earn rewards and improve your credit score but avoid finance charges.
Why Shop Small?
If you’ve traditionally done most of your holiday shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you may be wondering what you have to gain from shopping Small Business Saturday. After all, you’re not likely to beat the deals you get from major retailers who can afford to slash prices when they’re selling high volume.
Thinking about how much you save on a given day is a short-sighted view though. Shopping small can actually reward you over and over in the long run.
There are several reasons to shop at your local small businesses and all of them return long-term benefits for you and the people you care about the most. Here’s how:
More Money Stays in Your Community
When you shop at local businesses, your city and state collect those sales taxes. The businesses where you spend the money can afford to employ local residents.
Also, local small businesses always focus their philanthropy in their local communities since that is where they are located and where they operate. The money spent in local small businesses comes back to you over and over since it stays in your community.
Better Customer Service
When you shop at a small business, you are often dealing directly with the owner, who also happens to live in your community. That individual has a deep desire to make sure your experience in their store is a positive one.
That isn’t true in most big box stores. And have you ever tried to chat with a real-life person at Amazon?
Humans NEED social interaction. When you shop at a local business, you forge a meaningful connection with someone else. That business owner values you for providing them with an opportunity to pursue their livelihood and in turn, treats you with respect, care, and attention as a valued customer.
Sets a Good Example for Your Children
That engagement I just mentioned? THAT’S the example we want our kids to see when it comes to interacting with other people.
As a military family, I’ve always been sensitive to the fact that my children have grown up without other loved ones nearby. I’ve come to deeply appreciate the people in our lives who take the time to know our names, interests, and activities.
Frequently, these are the shop owners of the small businesses we frequent! I love that my kids get to experience warmth and acceptance from people outside our family and in turn, they learn the power of a smile and kind words to make a big difference in a person’s day.
Fosters Creativity and Diversity
How many times have you seen your exact same serving bowl, kitchen towel, or patio furniture at someone else’s house? Or shown up with your child to another child’s birthday party bearing the same gift that one (or more) other people also purchased?
Chances are this has happened more than once if you do most of your shopping in large department stores or online.
The reason prices are so low on products from those retailers is due to volume. Yes, they sell more so their average costs are lower, but they have more because those items are mass produced.
I don’t need every single item I own to make a personal statement about who I am as a person. However, I also don’t want to be a clone of every other person I know.
Local retailers often carry one-of-a-kind items from local artisans. When I buy those items, I not only add something unique to my own life, I support a creative individual who can then continue to innovate and create new and unique items.
I hope you’re as excited about supporting your community businesses as I am! If you are, spread the word to your family, friends, and neighbors to celebrate small businesses on Small Business Saturday and throughout the year!