I’m Saving Money and Supporting My Neighbors on Small Business Saturday

How are you supporting local businesses?

If sweet deals on expensive electronics and pushing your way through a crowded department store at 4 a.m. is your idea of fun, then Black Friday is probably already on your list of planned holiday activities. If, however, you’re more interested in sleeping in and having an, ahem,¬†slower type of morning, then you, my friend, should learn the joys of and reasons for supporting Small Business Saturday.

While supporting small, local businesses seems like a no-brainer, I’ll admit that it’s easy to feel a little skeptical of Small Business Saturday if you’re trying to save money. After all, doesn’t “locally made” almost always go with “more expensive”? While that is sometimes true, there is an excellent place you can support local businesses even on a budget: your local farmers market.

Read More: Thanks to Trump, Farmers Are Out $800M

Yes, farmers markets can be more expensive than your standard discount grocery store (though the quality of goods tends to be much higher) but with a little bit of planning and smart shopping, they can be a source for amazing deals. Here’s how I do it — and you can, too.

I Show Up Late

I realize this might seem like a counterintuitive move, since on Black Friday, shoppers show up before dawn, but at the farmers market, tardiness can serve you well. Vendors, especially those selling produce, often start lowering their prices, attempting to sell off as much of their stock as possible before the market ends. Just ask the four pounds of heirloom tomatoes I got last week for $6.

I Walk the Whole Market Before I Start Spending

It’s so tempting to start dropping cash on gorgeous kale and winter squash at the first stall you see. But, by doing a walk-through first, I’m able to compare the prices and quality of each stand, and then I decide where I’ll shop and spend accordingly. It’s a great way to avoid overbuying.

More on Supporting Local Businesses: How to Invest in the Business Down the Street

I Bring the Exact Amount of Cash I Am Willing to Spend

This is a trick I’ve been employing since before most farmers markets started accepting credit cards, and not only is it a great way to keep my budget in check and quit making impulse buys, it’s also a fun challenge.

Hint: This is also a great way to teach kids about budgeting. Give them a set amount of cash and ask them to select the best fruits and veggies they can buy for the amount you give them.

I Stick (Mostly) to Produce

In general, the fruits and vegetables at the farmers market are going to be the most affordable, so that’s usually where I spend my money. But, every now and then, a small piece of amazing, locally caught fish, or half dozen orange-yolked hen eggs can be a worthy and affordable treat.

Related: How I’m Saving $75 a Week Going Vegetarian on Weekdays

Strolling the farmers market with my family is always fun, and it feels so good to support my community’s agriculture and economy. These easy tricks help to make it a sustainable part of my budget. I hope they do the same for you.

Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Budget-Friendly Fall Festivities

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