Buying made in USA is not too expensive, and in fact you can save money by buying American made. When I share the news that I have saved money over the past two years since I undertook my challenge to find and buy products made in USA, people are initially shocked. Sure, quality products made in America are going to cost more than products made with cheap labor overseas. But with a little planning and a lot of priority setting, buying made in USA on a budget can be easy to do. Here’s how I save money buying made in USA while on a tight budget.
Buy less stuff, only what is needed.
The biggest reason I save money overall is because the sheer amount of stuff I purchase has decreased dramatically. When you take the time to check a label and consider everything that goes into a product, you become much more particular about what you purchase. The division between need and want become greater, and it becomes easier to put an unnecessary near-impulse purchase back on the shelf.
Invest in quality over quantity.
Buying American made is an investment in my hard earned dollar and spending it in a way that is aligned with my values. A product made in USA that is more expensive is often of superior quality and may last decades, if not generations. According to Elizabeth Kline’s book “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion,” the average American buys 64 pieces of new clothing every year! The majority of these purchases are on cheap imports featuring fast fashion – disposable pieces of clothing that are worn for a mere season or two. It can be fun to buy a few new pieces of clothing now and then to spice up your wardrobe, but I choose pieces that won’t go out of fashion and will stand the test of time.
Buy local foods at the farmers market.
If you find it difficult to afford organic foods at the local health foods store, you might be surprised to find the deals you can score on safe, healthy, locally grown foods at your local farmers market. The beauty of the farmers market is that it puts you face-to-face with the grower. Some farmers can not afford to become certified but can explain to you first hand the organic practices they employ in the growing of your produce. We have personally saved a good amount of money shopping at the farmers market instead of the grocery store, especially in the Spring and Summer months. You are also supporting independent family farmers in your own community when you shop at the farmers market.
When I can not find something made in USA, I often visit the Goodwill and other retailers selling used goods in my area. I have been surprised how often I have found American made products for sale in the midst of other junk. Often these gems appear when older residents clear out their storage revealing items from a time gone by when most products were made in America. If you aren’t able to find what you need made in USA, buying used will at least prevent you from directly supporting the manufacturer with your purchase. And whether you buy made in USA or imported, buying used will save you a ton of money.
Online “daily deals.”
Some believe that purchasing such goods at discounted rates through daily deal sites does not help the manufacturer or encourage conscious consuming. However, I have found a few sites that highlight ethical and locally made goods as a way to introduce new companies and products to consumers who in-turn may become loyal to the brand. My favorite daily deal site is Pure Citizen. They feature brands making ethical fashion, organic beauty products, cruelty free bath products and locally made goods of all kinds, 30-90% off. All products made in USA have the map icon displayed. Next is Zulily, which features goods especially for Mom, kids and baby. Unlike many traditional daily deal sites, Zulily states specifically for each item they carry whether the product was made in USA or imported. They have featured made in USA brands like K’Nex and Green Toys.
Make it yourself.
Another simple way to save money is to buy American made ingredients for products you can make yourself. I have been making my own cleaning products, soaps and other body products for years. Inexpensive ingredients like vinegar and baking soda are easy to find made in USA and are effective cleansers. A quick Google search or trip to the library will reveal tons of easy recipes for making these common products inexpensively at home. Another way to save money is to repair or re-purpose old products instead of replacing them with new ones.
There are many ways that buying made in USA and being a conscious consumer can save you money in the short-term and in the long-run. Are you also buying made in USA on a budget? What other money saving tips do you have to share? Have you noticed that you are spending less since buying more products made in USA? What ways is buying American made saving you money?