This week my house was two dollars over in our budget for groceries. It was the dish soap that did it.
Though this might seem like nothing special, it sparked quite a bit of discussion among myself and the nine other people I live with. The conversation was started by those who were upset, who wanted to be under budget constantly in order to get some money back at the end of the year. Thankfully, this was quickly side stepped by those of us who felt the budget was to be met because, after all, the budget was what we were willing to spent. Besides, we've been under budget pretty much every other week. Therefore the discussion became about what to do with our surplus: would we buy fancier food, or would be buy organic food. I ended up siding on the organic side of things, but that was a gut reaction, I hadn't really thought it through at the time.
When thinking about my reaction, it really wasn't about organic food at all. Though I appreciate fresh produce; organic, non-bleached flour just doesn't mean much to me. In the end my decision was about where we would be buying the organic food: the local Co-Op. I've been a member of this place since moving to Goshen and was a regular member during the first two years of college, however buying for one is a lot cheaper than buying for ten and this year I've been using Kroger as my sole source of groceries. It was one of those changes I hadn't even noticed until I thought about it.
It all comes down to wanting to support a local business. It helps that I like food, and I like the store's style... and I know most of the employees. Since supporting the Co-Op more was such a no-brainer. I quickly started thinking about the other business I should frequent more. Spending time on this was quite mind opening because I realized how many great small businesses there are in Goshen: Better World Books, The County Seat, Universal Tamal, Il Forno, Southside Soda Shop... Ok, so I mostly just came up with food, but I can't help it, I buy what I like. Though I'm not sure if my more miserly housemates will join in with me or not, this thought process/experiment has really renewed my zest for supporting local businesses, because this place has such a special community, why wouldn't I want to support that?