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  • Writer's pictureGina M. Oakley

put down that Stanley: choose your friends instead!

And choose your friends instead!

Okay, maybe it's not an expensive cup you're currently obsessed with, maybe it's fancy coffee, trendy kicks or something else. The question is, can you do without it to choose something more meaningful instead?

Before we start, I should say I have nothing against this brand or the people loving their cups. It is just a great example to use for the purpose of this blog post. Carry on.

Let's be clear, if that cup makes you so unbelievably happy in a moment when you are teetering on a breakdown, then by all means buy the thing. This article isn't about cups or whether or not to treat yourself, and it isn't about obnoxious (you know I'm right) trends. What it is truly about is compromising those things on occasion to support the humans around you.

Please answer a quick poll (don't worry, it's anonymous and strictly for research purposes). How often do you purchase something just to treat yourself (not because you need that item)?

How Often do you Purchase Wants (not needs)

  • Once a week or more

  • Once per month

  • Once per pay check

  • Every few months

You can vote for more than one answer.

For a lifetime, small business owners and patrons have fought a losing battle against mega-retailers. That struggle is obviously not going away anytime soon, especially with online multi-million conglomerates ruling the world of retail. There is still hope for the little guy, the local shop, the start-ups, however. There has to be! That includes those things you don't really need that your bestie sells on the side, the handmade items your neighbor makes and sells as craft shows on the weekends, and you guessed it- books! That is what inspired this article, after all. Those things may go unnoticed by you, but they are unbelievably important to the people making, creating, and earning income from them.

The Logic

Yes, giant corporations provide thousands upon thousands of jobs for people, and that's great. They have the power to help grow communities, give back in large numbers, and so on. But the small shops are important too.

Many full-time employees pick up a "side hustle" to make ends meet. The fact is, many middle-class, hard-working people don't make enough for the rapidly increasing cost of, well, everything. Others start small businesses with dreams of being entrepreneurs and and have great concepts, products, or services to offer. One sold item, one new client or customer, one new social media follow directly supports the livelihood of these people. Large companies may have started small, but it took popularity for them to grow. You clearing that cart of your expensive trendy, large-market item and buying small instead makes a truly magical impact on a person's life. That person is usually a friend or family member or someone in your community.

I am not suggesting you do this every single time you have the means or desire to treat yourself. All I'm asking is that more people become more aware and intentional about supporting small. If you treat yourself twice per month, maybe every few months you can choose to support a friend, instead.

This isn't all about me, but I will use my paperback novels as an example. You could essentially still buy whatever that popular, expensive thing is but then maybe next time you compromise and spend that cash on something from a local business or friends' side gig. The purpose is to remind you of the impact a small purchase can make.

Make meaningful purchases
Reasons to support authors

But I Don't Read Books

I hear you. I don't need more wax melts, fancy face moisturizer, or more handcrafted tumblers or shirts either, but the fact is that it is important to me to support my friends that make and/or sell those things. If I'm going to spend money on something I don't need in efforts to feel good and treat myself, I might as well make it a meaningful purchase. Plus, you can gift it!

Honestly, I will never know if you never read my book, but I will always remember that you bought it. Your friends don't care if you don't use their products or if you give them to someone else who does want or need them. They are just thankful you thought of them when you were ready to buy.

So, the next time you add something you don't really need to your cart, consider removing it and supporting small instead. I like to schedule a few times throughout the year where I will intentionally support my friends' side hustles.

It's an easy way to be kind and help someone else's dreams come true. And hey, your friends (and karma) have a way of coming back around. So, you can count on those same people to support you when the time comes.

Happy Small Shopping!

Warning: Shameless plug for books by Gina M. Oakley below

Seven Evils Series & other works by Gina M. Oakley

Gina M. Oakley's books are available anywhere books are sold!

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