How We’re Trying To Support Local Business

As more and more stores close, one thing is clear.  It’s important to support local business.  During our last recession, Michigan was hit very hard.  The recession here started a couple of years before it hit the rest of the country.  Unemployment was worse than most other states.  That’s what happens when the economy is based on one industry that was hit very hard.  As it was, a lot of local business didn’t make it through.  Those that did can often find it tough to make it through.

Still, it’s important to support local business.  Here are some ways we have.

Shopping At Local Hardware Stores

I wrote an article about this a few months ago.  Local hardware stores, simply put, are a treasure.  You get helpful and knowledgeable people.  There are times to shop at the big box store, that’s true.  But I think paying a little extra now and then is well worth it at the mom-and-pop hardware.  There’s hardly any better way to support local business.

Support Local Grocery Chains

Meijer is based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and we do most of our shopping here. We have been doing so for a few years now, but we’ve made it a point to buy whatever we can at Meijer before reverting to Kroger or Wal-Mart.

Buying Products Made Here

If something is manufactured locally, consider supporting it.  We have Better Made potato chips that have been made locally for decades.  It’s an institution.  Also, many craft beer makers are popping up everywhere.  Support this local business and enjoy some good refreshments!

Driving American Made Cars

For many, American made autos are synonymous with poor quality.  This line of thinking is way out of date. Quality is pretty much the same across all brands.  Even though lines are blurred since so much stuff is made in other countries these days, purchasing American made cars keeps profits in the country.  Plus, here in Michigan, it helps even more!

I know that there are other ways to support the local economy and that these things may be mere drops in the bucket, but one thing I’ve learned is that those drops can add up.

Readers, what are you doing to support your local economy?  Is this important to you?  Please discuss in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.

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What’s On Your Amazon Subscribe And Save List

Amazon.  It’s not just for impulse buying, is it?  Nope, they’ve taken it one step further.  With a subscribe and save list, you can have things delivered regularly.  Convenient for you, and a guaranteed income stream for Amazon.  We have a subscribe and save list.  Here are some of the things we currently have, as well as what we’ve used in the past.


This is a great item to put on a subscribe and save list.  You get an automatic 15% off, which is great.  On top of that, diapers are pretty cheap on Amazon to begin with.  Back when we bought diapers regularly, this was our place.  The drawback is that sometimes you can’t predict exactly how many you need.  Also, you can sometimes get caught with too many if sizes change.  Though slightly risky for these reasons, they’re still a great deal.

Batteries – Every 6 months

We use Amazon Basics batteries around our house.  With kids toys, remote controls, smoke alarms and other gadgets, we go through them regularly.  If we don’t need them when our interval comes up, we just postpone the delivery.

Razor Cartridges – Every 6 months

I think Amazon has the best deals on razor cartridge refills.  There have been some reports of counterfeit cartridges being sold on Amazon. We only buy them with Amazon as the seller.  No third party razors in our house!

Hand Lotion – Every 3 months

I suffer from skin eczema.  As such, I have a specific hand lotion that I use.  The cheapest place I’ve found it is on Amazon.  Since I buy it anyway, why not save a few extra percent?

Shoe Inserts – Every 4 months

I have had plantar fasciitis in the past.  Ever since then, I put inserts in my shoes for extra support.  They wear out after awhile, so I automatically get a new supply every few months.  Not only does it save money, but I don’t have to be reminded to change them.

Pantry Items – Occasionally

Once in a while, Amazon has a great deal on food items.  Some examples are cups of macaroni and cheese or bagged candy.  If you find a great deal, you can sometimes make it better by adding to your subscribe and save list.  This typically works only when your monthly ship date is coming due.  Otherwise, if they run out or return the price to normal, you can miss out.  Typically, with these deals, I subscribe and then cancel immediately after shipment.

This is a pretty boring list, but that’s OK.  A big subscribe and save list means you’re spending money regularly.  One big risk with a subscribe and save list is that you might forget to cancel items.  Amazon sends a reminder e-mail, and if you don’t cancel the items, they process the order.  There was one time I forgot to modify my subscriptions.  Luckily I remembered the morning after the cutoff, and was able to cancel most of the items.

I’m guessing that Amazon probably counts on some of their sales from people forgetting.

Readers, what is on your Amazon subscribe and save list?  Do you use this feature or is it too much trouble?  Please let me know in the comments below.  Thanks for reading.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Prime Day 2018: We Spent More At Target Than Amazon

Prime Day 2018 is in the books.  Hopefully you scored any deals that you might have been looking for.  At our house, we had no plans, so it was pretty low key.  As mentioned in the title, Target actually won in terms of spending!

Two Items Purchased At Amazon

  • Tablet – We actually had no plans to do any shopping.  Then, as luck would have it, one of our kids Fire Tablets broke on Monday evening.  It was dropped, and although it gets dropped often, this one cracked the screen.  As luck would have it, the warranty had run out, so we couldn’t get a free replacement.  We were able to purchase a basic tablet for $29.99, saving us $15.  Good timing for bad luck, I suppose!
  • Gift Card – I saw on Slickdeals that you could get a $5 credit after purchasing a $25 gift card.  I knew we’d spend $25 at some point, so I nabbed it.

That was it for Prime Day at Amazon

A Bunch Of Items At Target

As would be expected, many stores offered their own deals on Prime Day.  One of these was Target.  They offered 25% off basically all bath and body products.  This also included sunscreen.  So, we stocked up!  We bought things from toothpaste to shampoo.  It was all stuff that we would buy in the next couple of months, anyway.  It saved a bundle.

We also bought a new set of sheets for one of the beds in our camper.  The current set is old, scratchy, and pilly.  Again, with 25% off bedding, it was the perfect time.

It was interesting how Amazon goes for the gadgets as their sell.  It seemed tablets, fitness trackers, household management, and such were there items.  Target went totally opposite.  They went for the everyday items.  I didn’t see much crossover.

For us, since we had no desire to purchase anything, Amazon really didn’t have much to offer.  Even though they had good deals, the best deal for us was buying nothing.  Or, as close as we could realistically come to it.

Readers, how did Prime Day work out for you? Did you buy anything extra that day?  What about at other stores looking to compete?  


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Build-A-Bear Did Literally Everything Wrong

By now, any parent has likely heard about the Build-A-Bear fiasco that unfolded earlier today. They were offering a Pay Your Age day where any kid up to the age of 14 could build a bear and would only pay their age.  Pretty cool!   Except the whole thing went belly up before it even started.

My wife told me about it because she went.  As did, it seems, half the entire world.  My kids didn’t get bears.  As was the case for a majority of the people that showed up.  You had a lot of angry parents, disappointed kids, and overwhelmed workers.  It’s all over the news.  Social media coverage is everywhere, and most is very negative.

So, what went wrong? Well, it was really everything, but here’s a few highlights.

Too Good Of A Deal

Build-A-Bear is pretty expensive.  You can pay upwards of $100 for a fully outfitted customized bear.  So, the Pay Your Age is a fantastic deal.  You’re getting probably anywhere between 50-95% off the base price.  It’s a fantastic deal.

But that’s the problem, it was too fantastic of a deal.  When you offer that great of a deal, everyone wants to come.  My wife talked to people that had driven 90 minutes from their home.  The deal was that good.

Way Overpublicized

I’ve been seeing this deal all over the place for the last few days.  I saw it on Facebook.  News articles promoted it.  The deal was on the local news.  It was literally everywhere.

Normally, getting the word out is a great move except when it cause chaos.  Like what happened at every mall that has a Build-A-Bear location hours ago.

Misunderstanding Their Own Product

Here’s the thing.  These promos can sometimes work.  Deals like this come up on Black Friday at every store everywhere.  And, rarely do they lead to the chaos that you had today.  But this deal was doomed from the start at Build-A-Bear.  Why?  Because the product itself can’t support it.

Have you ever gone in and built one of these bears?  They take time.  It’s not like when a customer wants a TV that’s half off and can just grab one, pay for it, and leave, even if they have to wait in line.  This promo involved kids having to stay there and build the bear.  This process can take a long time.

Now, they did seem to anticipate this and offered that people could buy an unstuffed bear, and come back and do the rest later.  But, this was not a well thought out alternative.  Kids want things now.  It’s just how kids are.  So, I’m sure most kids wanted to build their bears today.  Plus, remember all those people that drove 90 minutes.  Do you think they wanted to trek out another time to stuff the bear?  Probably not.

The head honchos that planned this seemed to ignore the intricacies of their own product.

Big miss.

Long Term Fallout

It’ll be interesting to see what happens with Build-A-Bear.  When promotions with good intentions go wrong, it can hurt a company long term.  This promotion looks like it was an utter fiasco.  Their Public Relations staff will likely be putting in some long hours over the next few days.  It’ll be interesting to see what they come up with.

Readers, did you stand in line for the Build-A-Bear promo?  What was your experience?  Do you think that Build-A-Bear can just shrug it off? Or will they have to deal with long term fallout?  Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.