Making business cents
by Jennifer Cohron
Dec 04, 2011 | 1578 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jennifer Cohron
Jennifer Cohron
slideshow
Zac thanks me occasionally for not being a high maintenance woman. I cause him quite a headache when it comes to special occasions, though.

I am not impressed by expensive jewelry, gourmet candy or fancy flowers. Nearly all frou-frou gifts fall under a category I like to call “a waste of money.”

Zac was proud of his choices for Christmas this year — a 14 carat gold chain for my locket and Wii Zumba Fitness.

Unfortunately, I know him so well that I guessed what he bought based on some offhand remarks he made one too many times and the amount he wrote down in our checkbook.

Once he confirmed my suspicions, I gently explained to him why I couldn’t accept a $70 chain for a three-year-old tarnished locket when a $10 one would do. Also, I was never going to use the video game because a) I don’t have time and b) I have never had the overwhelming urge to Zumba.

I know it was rude to ask him to return presents more than a month before he had planned to give them to me. However, he thanked me for being so practical and saving our hard-earned money.

Well, actually he gave me his famous puppy dog face and said I don’t appreciate his love. He’s forgiven me for a lot worse.

To add insult to injury, I have already found two of his replacement gifts. Curiosity got the best of me on one. The baby accidentally led me to the other.

Poor Zac. I really feel bad for him sometimes.

My presents for him are already wrapped and placed beneath our Christmas tree in the kitchen.

Almost all of them were either bought online or in a certain supercenter we all claim to hate but still flock to like moths to a flame.

I have always supported “buy local” campaigns in theory only.

Online stores were made for people like me who hate to shop. However, I will gladly load the stuff I want into a virtual cart from the comfort of my chair and have it shipped to my door in exchange for five minutes of my time and some highly personal information.

I came across a website recently that made me reconsider where my loyalties lie.

According to the homepage of The 3/50 Project, $68 of every $100 I spend in locally-owned independent stores returns to the community through taxes, payroll and other expenditures.

Only $43 remains local when spent in national chains and little or no revenue results from online purchases.

The challenge of The 3/50 Project is to choose three local businesses that you would miss if they closed their doors tomorrow and pledge to spend $50 with them each month.

The creator claims that if half the employed population participates, it would generate more than $42.6 billion of annual revenue.

I can’t find any reason why I shouldn’t support this initiative, which has the tagline “Saving the bricks and mortars our nation is built on.”

Most “buy local” campaigns make me feel like it is my duty as a citizen to save every mom-and-pop I pass.

The 3/50 Project just asks me to divide $50 from my budget between three businesses I care about most.

This initiative also takes into account that families shop in big boxes and chain stores because some goods are cheaper there and that some things are not available locally, like the Chicago Cubs merchandise I buy for Zac every birthday.

However, the little guys need love too and not just when we’re hitting them up for yearbook ads, donations for a family in need or free stuff for our charity event or kid’s Little League game.

I should certainly be supporting small businesses because one kept a roof over my head and food on the table while I was growing up and another does so today.

Yes, a newspaper is a business.

We get paid when people renew their subscriptions or take out ads, not because they like our stories.

So excuse the shameless plug, but support the Daily Mountain Eagle however you can in the future if you think what we do is worthy.

I’ll gladly support you too as both a reporter and a consumer.