My personal pledge: I'll keep as much of my December spending LOCAL as I can. Locally owned businesses are the backbone of 'Main Street' and I'm going to once again be even more diligent than normal spending my money at these establishments.

Shop Small Saturday is a great concept and also a friendly reminder that HOW and WHERE we spend our dollars is important.

Many people already spend a good portion of their budgets with locally owned businesses, but it's ANOTHER thing to actively track your spending and make it your mission to keep every dollar you can, local.

The Bozeman area is packed with a diverse pool of locally owned joints. Spending money with your friends and neighbors is not only good for them, but good for you too.

From groceries and gifts to groceries and beer, we're lucky to at least have the OPTION to always "shop small". (Instead of a six-pack of a global beer brand, consider a locally brewed option or a growler from a local brewery.)

Bacon? We've got some of the BEST farms in the northwest right in our backyard.

(You get my point. Every purchase can be a choice.)

Do it cost more? Sometimes, but more often than not...no. My trick is to perhaps spend a little LESS, but keep it all LOCAL. In my mind, that's certainly better than NOT spending the dollars locally at all.

Each of my December transactions will be made with some care. Coffee, restaurants, cocktails, holiday gifts, whatever...I will ask myself where I can purchase what I want LOCALLY.

You've heard the stats:

I'll keep track of every dollar of discretionary money I spend in December. Next month I'll break it down and share with you how much I spent and where it went. Hope you'll try this exercise with me.

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