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Swiss chocolate is a common cheat item for those who buy American. If you have a few imported items that you just can't do without, don't even worry about it. Continue to buy those items. What's important is that you buy American whenever you can as a general rule.

It’s time for a little more discussion about the guidelines of the Buy American Challenge.  I am going to make a strong case to buy American for a lot of people that have previously thought buying made in U.S.A. isn’t for them.  Let my highlight what is perhaps the most important guidelines of the Buy American Challenge program – you get cheat items!

This actually blows a lot of people’s minds when I tell them that.  When most people think about buying American, they picture buying nothing but goods made in the U.S.A. under any circumstances.  But that is not the program that I recommend because truly buying nothing but American-made items is near impossible without a great deal of deprivation.  Going cold turkey doesn’t work because it is too difficult to stick with it.

That is precisely why cheat items are built into the Buy American Challenge program.  It’s like building a few sweets into your diet so you don’t fall off the wagon and eat two pints of Ben and Jerry’s. Cheat items are actually very important because they make a program that could otherwise be difficult quite palatable, and actually fun.

Recently, a friend of mine who seemed interested in buying American wrote me and asked:  “But what about my French wine and Irish whiskey? More seriously… This could be almost impossible, given how many things are made overseas these days.”

For her, French wine and Irish whiskey are two items she has an existing attachment to that she is not willing to do without.  Even though she might like to buy American in lots of cases, she isn’t willing to go on a no-exceptions program because of these items.  As a result, she might give up on buying American altogether.

That is why the Buy American Challenge program allows for cheat items.  On the Buy American Challenge program, one is allowed as many as five “cheat items” (or more if you really need more).  If you simply can’t live without a specific foreign-made good, you can continue to purchase it.  My friend loves French wine and Irish whiskey, so she can continue to buy these products on her buy American program. 

The key is to get people buying American as a general rule.  That in itself is enough to make a big difference.  If they want to keep buying a few select imported goods, that’s fine.  It is still a big step in the right direction overall.

I also want to touch on another one of the Buy American Challenge guidelines very briefly.  One may buy a specific foreign-made product if the item is simply not made, grown, or raised in the United States.  My friend was concerned that a buy American program would be impossible because of how many products are now made overseas.  It’s true, some things simply aren’t made in the U.S.A. anymore.  That is why the Buy American Challenge program allows you to buy foreign-made goods if an American-made version is unavailable.  You don’t have to go without cell phones or bananas.  They aren’t made or grown in the U.S., so you should buy them as you please and not worry about it. There are plenty of other American-made items you will be able to buy.

The Buy American Challenge is about supporting American businesses and creating American jobs whenever we can.  It’s not about depriving ourselves of modern necessities.

Finally, I want to remind you that these are just guidelines.  They are a place to start for those looking for a buy American program.  But each person ultimately chooses thier own program.

Maybe, after reading this, you are realizing that buying American is easier than you thought.  Believe me, it really isn’t all that hard, especially after you get passed the first couple weeks.

I challenge you to take the Buy American Challenge for one week and see how it goes. 

I promise you three things.  First, you will spend less money than before because you will not be making nearly as many impulse decisions.  Second, the things you do buy will generally be of higher quality because American-made goods tend to be very well-made. Third, you will feel great about knowing you are helping create jobs for Americans every time you make a purchase.

I started buying American, and now I love it.  I will be doing this the rest of my life.

Until next time, here’s to doing what we can to support our country by buying American.

Randy

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