New members and credit card usage
New businesses now accepting Bay Bucks include Brilliant Books, Cherry Capital Foods and Hearth Meals. It is wonderful to explore the Bay Bucks directory and find new business listed. There are now over 100 businesses accepting Bay Bucks… and it is still growing.
I tried to use only or mostly Bay Bucks for 30 days. This opened my awareness to what I spend money on, at which businesses, and how I could save money. Then I started to think about credit cards, how much I still use them and if there was a way to avoid them. The credit card companies take money out of local economy through the fees charged to merchants. Each time we use one a credit card, the company takes up to three or four per cent of the vendor’s money. Our credit card bills are due monthly, so the credit card company is getting three or four per cent monthly interest on the purchase amount. That is an annual interest rate of 36 to 48 per cent … outrageous! And then the credit card company charges us even more interest if we don’t pay the bill on time. That sure sounds like usury to me.
Paying with Bay Bucks obviously avoids this, but what if there is something I need or want and I can’t get it locally? I'm an avid reader and now I can buy books with Bay Bucks at Brilliant Books. Even if I couldn't use Bay Bucks for books, I would still buy them locally, using Amazon only to read reviews. But what if I am shopping for say an area rug? I have looked online for one, mostly as an educational process. I will go out tomorrow and see what is available in the price I want here, locally. I realize many of the places I will be going do not accept Bay Bucks, but if I can support stores that are employing my neighbors and friends, that is important, too. It has gotten too easy to order online.
Also, it makes me use the yellow pages to find a local dealer rather than the large box stores. Sometimes we can’t find a locally made product, so we go a locally owned store, then if we can’t find it we go to a national business because still about 40% of the sales stays in the local economy. If I get the product online, maybe the local shipping company benefits, but I am not sure who else.
I realize that Bay Bucks has helped me rethink my spending habits with my credit card. I don’t think I will get rid of my one plastic card, but I will try to use it for emergencies only. When I use cash, I am much more thoughtful about my expenditures. I know the credit card companies supply a lot of information and help us keep track of our bills, but it can be done with Bay Buck, checks and FRN’s too. Often I have a piece of paper or an envelope that I use to write down where I spend my money. When I add more money to my wallet, I start a new box, column or envelope with the new total at the top. It helps me see how much is going out and where. Check books are an easy way to do this.
So, in order to support our local economy as much as I can, and in order to support credit card usury as little as I can, I am going to seek to spend my money first with local businesses that accept Bay Bucks; second, with locally owned businesses that do not accept Bay Bucks; and then with local businesses that are not locally owned. Only as a last resort will I use businesses located outside of our region, and even then only using a credit card when I really have to.