We try hard to buy as much as we can from local sources, including local businesses. We have a fabulous, family-owned hardware store that's been in our neighborhood for decades and carries a little bit of everything. There are a few things they don’t have and every now and then we have a desperate need for something when they’re not open. Otherwise, we try to get what we can there.
Here’s my dilemma right now. Big box stores can often carry products at lower prices because they buy so much and have homogeneity among their stores. A lot of the time, items at the hardware store are much more convenient and are fairly similar in price. We want to drylok our basement walls, to keep moisture out and keep all the minerals from being pulled out of the bricks. We’re going to need 7 to 10 gallons to do the whole basement. Lowe’s sells it for $22 a gallon. At the hardware store, it’s $26. That’s a difference of $30-$40! If I hadn’t seen it at Lowe’s before looking at the hardware store, I would have bought it there and never known the difference. On the other hand, if I hadn’t thought to check the hardware store, I would have gotten it at Lowe’s and not felt guilty. But since I do have all the information, I don’t know what to do. I’m torn between my frugal self and my socially responsible, wanting to support local businesses self. I don’t know which will win out in this case.
Any thoughts on how to decide when to buy locally versus when to take advantage of the cheaper option?