Shop Local This Holiday Season

Use online banking to manage money while you shop at favorite local businesses

Shopping locally is a great way to support independent business owners and boost your region's economy. According to the National Retail Federation, most small businesses do between 20 and 40 percent of their sales in November and December, making the holidays a crucial time for entrepreneurs. By helping a local business succeed, you can help create jobs, promote investment and make your area more dynamic and diverse.

Learn more about how shopping locally can boost an entire community, as well as fun ways to explore what your city has to offer. While you're budgeting throughout the year, you can use Citizens Bank online banking to transfer funds to a designated shopping fund. Then, when it's time to shop at local businesses, use the mobile banking app to manage your funds, monitor spending, pay bills and make transfers on the go. It's a fast, easy way to avoid overdraft fees and stay on budget while you shop.

Help support your community by shopping locally

Shopping locally helps your community in two distinct ways. The first is that it increases seasonal jobs for retail, service businesses and their suppliers. Retail shops may sell handmade goods from local artists. Restaurants and shops employ workers for extended hours, and locally-sourced restaurants increase the demand on farms. When local business increases, a 'ripple effect' takes place, and farms and other producers need to hire more people to meet seasonal demand. This means even more jobs are created throughout the community.

Secondly, shopping at a local business helps more money stay in your community. According to the West Michigan advocacy group Local First, for every $100 spent at a local business, an average of $68 stays in the community. In contrast, only $43 stays when that same $100 is spent at a national chain. Shopping locally also helps to build culture and diversify the economy - small businesses tend to specialize in a particular service and offer items that can't be found at big box stores. This means you're more likely to find a truly unique gift when you shop at a small gallery, jewelry store or other local business.

Seek out fun ways to shop local this holiday season

It's beneficial to shop locally whenever possible throughout the year, but the holiday season may give you additional opportunities to explore new stores or discover different artisans. If you decide to make local shopping a priority this year, you may wish to consider the following options:

  • Visit festivals and holiday markets: During the holiday season, many cities hold festivals or Christmas markets where local businesses and artisans can display and sell their wares. These gatherings can be a great way to shop locally and find unique gifts while making new holiday memories.

  • Ask friends and family about their favorite businesses: People you know and trust may be able to point you in the right direction if you're looking for a new place to shop or eat. While large businesses rely on advertising to grow, small shops depend heavily on their reputation and word of mouth. Because of this, many will work hard to provide superior customer service and respond quickly to feedback.

  • Use local coupons or discount websites: Not sure where to start? Consider looking for sales flyers, ads or coupons for local businesses in your community's newspaper or chamber of commerce website. If you live in a larger city, you may be able to find information about small businesses in a weekly arts and entertainment publication. Also, don't forget to check social media, apps and websites - many local stores offer exclusive discounts to their customers through these avenues.

  • Take a tour of Main Street: If you live or work near local businesses, take some time to familiarize yourself with what the shops have to offer and the people who work there. If you develop a relationship with the businesses, you may learn about sales in advance, receive discounts and help build their positive word-of-mouth advertising by referring them to friends and family.

  • Give gift cards: Many local businesses sell gift cards or certificates. By giving these to family and friends, you're encouraging them to visit a new store, and they may become frequent customers themselves.

Avoid overdraft fees while shopping locally using online banking from Citizens Bank

No matter where you shop, it's important to make sure you watch your budget and don't overspend. One way to avoid overspending and overdraft fees is by using mobile and online banking to track your spending throughout the season. You can also opt for overdraft protection just in case. To learn more about online banking or overdraft protection options, speak with a Citizens Bank customer service representative today.


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