Shop small, spend less, and be happy

Share this

“Shop small,” they say, “It’s the right thing to do.” But can doing the right thing also be cost effective? With a careful approach, it can be. But perhaps more importantly, it could make you happier.

In a year like 2020, where 24% of small businesses were forced to temporarily close by April —many of which have yet to reopen — shopping small could make a really big difference for your community. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, millions of everyday heroes sprang into action to keep our world spinning. We were inspired. And we joined the effort.

Since March, Truist Cares* has donated over $12 million to help small businesses survive the impacts of the pandemic in our communities. Like Felecia Chavez, beekeeper and owner of La Bee da Loca, a small storefront in downtown Culpeper, Virginia, selling local honey and other handmade wares. Or  , owner of Organically Bath & Beauty in San Antonio, Texas. Both of these women worried the pandemic would be the end of their businesses — but their local communities stepped in and helped.

Here are ways shopping small this holiday season can help you give back, improve your financial confidence, and build better communities all at once. 

Shop small — from anywhere

Since the pandemic, many small businesses have pivoted to e-commerce, making shopping small more accessible than ever. For example, you can order small-batch, Bigleaf Maple Tree syrup from a family farm in Washington state and have it delivered to your door. Are there small businesses you used to shop at that you haven’t been to since the pandemic started? Check out their websites and see if shopping small online is an option.

Restaurants are among the hardest hit businesses this year — but many have since added nationwide shipping. Show them some love: Services like Goldbelly let you shower your loved ones with what New York Magazine called “The Holy Grail of Classic New York–Style Pizza” from Di Fara Pizza or Nashville’s famous hot chicken from Hattie B’s — shipped across the country overnight. You can always order in from your favorite local places, too.

Artists are helping us cope and process the uncertainty of the world. Many of them now have excellent online shops. Help them spread creativity and keep local artistry alive by gifting their work. 

The pandemic may keep you from friends and family this holiday season. Sending your love in floral form from a flower shop in their area is another way to give a gift while shopping small.

Fewer middlemen means more equity

In many cases, shopping small can mean fewer steps between you and whoever created the product, which in turn allows the maker or shop owner to retain a bigger portion of the profits. So when you shop small, you can feel more assured that your money is making a difference on a local level.

A great example of a company making waves on this front is a direct-to-consumer spice market that offers higher quality products and pays farmers a fair price. 

Thoughtful shopping can be better for your budget

Approaching shopping more mindfully this season is one way to stay within budget — and shopping small can help. In previous years, you may have rushed through a list, spending for the season without as much intention. But this year is different.

So take your time — and shop with purpose. It could give you a better sense of control in a year when so much seems out of control. Consider buying fewer things this year but making the gifts you do buy meaningful. In many cases, shopping small can mean higher quality, so run the numbers against your holiday budget and assess whether buying fewer, better things can help you feel good and stay on top of your spending.

How you spend can shape a better world

In the end, the future we want is in our own hands. Like with the concept of “voting with your dollars,” we can help determine what’s next by making more conscious decisions with our money. Take stock of the experience of shopping small this holiday season — the relationships you build with makers, the support you give to small businesses, the love you share with your gifts. Could you find more joy by building more of this into your budget year-round? 



Shop small and shop smart by creating a budget with the help of our Holiday Calculator.

*About Truist Cares: Truist Cares is a cooperative effort between Truist Financial Corporation, Truist Foundation, Inc., and Truist Charitable Fund to provide communities, organizations, and individuals with disaster relief and assistance during the COVID-19 crisis. 

This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.