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Archive for the ‘Simple Choices’ Category

lady shoppingI was recently having a discussion about unemployment in the U.S. and how it relates to the $500 billion annual U.S. trade deficit. That got me thinking: just how much do Americans spend per month on imported goods and services?  Well I did a few calculations, and what I found was shocking.

I divided the total value of imports in the U.S.A. for 2013 ($2.74 trillion) by the number of adults in the U.S.A. (240 million), then I divided that by 12 (for 12 months in a year).  On average, each U.S. adult is responsible for over $950 in imported goods and services per month!

That is much more than I thought was even possible.  Can you imagine that?  Every month, every U.S. adult is responsible for nearly $1,000 in imported goods and services.  We have really let ourselves go!

But here is something equally amazing.  If we could get the average U.S. adult down to just $790 of imported goods and services per month (that should be doable, right?), we would have no trade deficit at all.  The trade deficit may seem insurmountable, but when you consider how much we are currently importing, we really don’t have that far to go.

In fact, if we could simply replace 17% of the imports we consume each year with U.S.-made goods and services, we would have zero trade deficit, and that would pump enough money into the economy (nearly $500 billion per year) that everyone in the U.S. who wanted to work would be able to find a job.

If more Americans will start to just consider where products are made in their purchasing decisions, we may really start to see improvements.  Please consider taking the Buy American Challenge today.

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

Randy

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Take a quick minute to watch this really amazing video from the Million American Jobs Project explaining where all the American jobs have gone and what you can do today to help bring them back.

Do what the video asks and share it with just two people. Just a small change in our consumer behavior can create millions on new American jobs.

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

Randy

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American-made flip flopsI just saw that there is a Groupon for Okabashi sandals going on right now and I wanted to share it with you.  The deal is for $30 worth of Okabashi merchandise for just $15.  This bargain is too good to pass up.  I already got mine, and I’d jump on this deal too if I were you.

If you aren’t familiar with Okabashi, I hope you will be soon.  They make very comfortable and high quality flip flops.  Since I first tried them a couple years back, I have purchased three different pairs in different styles and colors.  They are by far my favorite brand of sandals.

What I like best about Okabashi is the quality construction of their flip flops.  Unlike most sandals, Okabashis are made from a single piece of stamped rubber, as opposed to different pieces of rubber that get joined together or uppers made of different materials sewn to rubber bottoms.

In my experience, Okabashis hold their shape perfectly and never flatten out like most sandals.  They also have true arch support.  I found I can walk around much further in these sandals than others I have owned in the past because of the support they provide.

My wife loves Okabashis, too.  She really likes to have sandals that match her outfits in the summertime, so she just loves how this brand comes in practically every color of the rainbow.  Some of their sandals for ladies also come with a 1” heal, which is pretty rare in a flip flop.

Okabashi is a family owned business that has been around for more than 25 years. Besides being made in the USA, Okabashi shoes are 100% recyclable, designed with superior foot support and a massaging insole, anti-microbial, dishwasher safe, and backed by a 2-year guarantee.  And at less than $20 per pair, Okabashi sandals are a really great value.

This Groupon for Okabashi ends in just three days.  Don’t miss this chance for a really good deal on some of the highest quality American-made sandals money can buy.  Not only will you love these flip flops, but you will be creating jobs for American workers when you buy them.

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

Randy

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What I LearnedFor the last three years I have been fully committed to buying American. That means barring certain circumstances when buying American is simply not possible, I have purchased nothing but goods made in the USA.

I started buying American as New Year’s resolution in 2010 and have been doing it ever since.  After doing a bit of research, here is the buy American program I chose to follow.

I must say, this experience has been extremely rewarding because I know every time I make a purchase I am doing my part to create jobs in America at a time so many are in need of work.

Here are three surprising things I learned in my experience buying American:

  1. Buying American Saves Money – I never would have believed it before I started buying American, but faithfully buying made in USA absolutely saves money.  Mind you, not every item is less expensive, because sometimes you do have to pay a bit of a premium, but on the whole I have saved money by buying American.  There are two main reasons for this.  First, buying American cuts down considerably on the purchases you make of things you don’t need.  You save money because you make fewer impulse purchases.  Second, buying American forces you to do more research on the things you do buy.  Once you’ve taken the time to research where to find a certain good that is American made, it’s a natural next step to find that same good for the best price possible.  I find better deals now than I ever did before I started buying American.
  2. Buying American Does Not Require Deprivation – I never would have believed this before either, but buying American does not leave you feeling deprived all the time.  Practically everything I buy is American made, and my experience has been so good that I have no plans to change that.  But the key to avoiding the feeling of deprivation is to allow for the purchase of a few imported goods when the right circumstances call for it.  The whole point of buying American is to use your buying power to support jobs here in America, but there is no need to refuse necessities – like cell phones for example – that simply cannot be found made in the USA.  The buy American program I follow allows for several key exceptions to the buy American rule.  Those exceptions make staying on a buy American program possible.  Going cold turkey won’t work.
  3. Buying American Becomes Easy to Do – In the first couple days of a strict buy American program, it can be difficult.  It’s similar to cutting out carbs or gluten from your diet for the first time (if you’ve ever tried that).  At first, it is a real shock.  But after a while, you get the hang of it.  At first, you go to stores and it seems like everything you plan on putting into your cart is imported and off-limits.  But after a little while, you cycle through all the regular items you have to buy frequently, and you just know which brands are made in USA and which aren’t.  I didn’t know at first, but I now know I buy certain batteries, sponges, socks, etc., all that are American made.  Once you’ve done the research the first time, which often requires nothing more than looking at the fine print on packages, buying American becomes simple.  Buying American doesn’t start out easy, but it definitely becomes easy before long.

Please consider joining our growing Buy American Movement.

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

Randy

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Christmas Wish: Find WorkWhen shopping this holiday season, don’t forget that for millions of unemployed Americans, the most important gift you can give is a job.  And you can make a real difference for people struggling to find work in this country by simply making an effort to buy American during the holidays (and beyond).

Most people don’t really consider themselves job creators, but the truth is every time we spend our hard-earned money, we are creating jobs – somewhere.

Decades ago the vast majority of goods consumed in this country were made in the USA, so pretty much however one spent his money, there was a good chance most of it was going toward American job creation.

But over the years, the percentage of goods found in stores that are made in America has decreased dramatically.  When we buy goods from overseas, that’s where the money goes, and that’s where the jobs are created.

So nowadays, we can’t just buy things with no regard for where they are made.  Unemployment is too high for that.  We need to pay a little more attention and make an effort to buy things that are made in USA whenever we can, especially when we can find items of equal or better value comparably priced.

Little by little those made in USA purchases add up, and they turn into jobs for Americans who need work.

It saddens me to think of all the parents out there this time of year, who want nothing more than to provide a joyous Christmas (or other holiday) for their children, but don’t have the means to provide it because of joblessness.

Even if it’s only for a few weeks around the holidays, try to make an extra effort to buy American.

If enough of us will do it, we’ll have more work to go around in this country, and a few more smiling children on Christmas morning.

Take the Buy American Challenge today.

Happy Holidays!

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

Randy

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Recently, I decided it was time to buy some new suits.  When I made that decision, I had a feeling that these were going to be costly purchases.  You see, I am committed to buying American, and I thought I might have to pay a substantial premium to get quality suits that are made in the U.S.A.

But I am glad to say that my preconceived notion about the cost of buying quality American-made suits was completely wrong.

After a brief internet search I came across an American-made brand of suit called Hardwick, an extremely high-quality suit that, get this, can be had for under $300.  Reviews online for Hardwick suits were great, so I bought one immediately.

It just goes to show you that American workers can still compete in industries that many have long given up on.  Let’s not continue to make that mistake.

Let there be no mistake about this: Hardwick suits are extremely well-made.  They are easily the full equivalent (if not the superior) of imported suits I have purchased in years past from fine department stores and men’s clothiers – suits for which I’ve typically paid as much as $400-$500.

The Hardwick suit I purchased is beautiful charcoal grey made of 100% worsted wool, and you can just see and feel the quality of the suit when you put it on.  I’ve worn it just a few times, and I get positive comments every time I wear it.

Hardwick’s quality comes from over a century of experience in the industry and superior craftsmanship of their suit-makers.  Founded in 1880, Hardwick is proud to be the oldest private-held apparel manufacturer in the United States.  They make all of their fine men and women’s clothing in Cleveland, Tennessee. The company performs all cutting, sewing, and distribution from this location where they employ about 400 people (seen below).

Kudos to Hardwick for remaining loyal to their workers in Tennessee.  Their product is of better quality due to the fact that it is American-made.

So where did I actually buy my Hardwick suit?  I got it from an online retailer called MensSuitSeparates.com.  This retailer had the best deals I could find anywhere for Hardwick suits.  They’ve also got good deals on American-made Neil M shoes and American-made Gitman Brothers shirts.  MensSuitSeparates.com is one-stop shopping for a professional man’s wardrobe needs.

After I found MensSuitSeparates.com online, I called them up with a few questions and got all the information I needed with quick and friendly customer service (Thanks again, Carl!).  I placed my order, and had my suit delivered to my front door in just a few days. There was no charge for shipping, and the online retailer offered me 100% money back for returns in case there was any problems (there weren’t any).

I really like Hardwick suits because in addition to being really well-made and sharp looking, they offer suits sold as separates – which means you can get the specific size of jacket and pants that fit you best, instead of getting the right sized jacket with pants that are way too big.  the suit I ordered fit so well when it arrived, the only tailoring I needed to have done was to hem the pants.  I’ve found buying suits as separates will save you a lot of money in tailoring.

This was the first suit I have ever purchased online, and I have to say, it was a great experience. In the past, I always bought suits in stores because I thought it was necessary to try suits on before I bought them.  But then I realized this really is not necessary.  I buy the same size suit every time anyway, then I take the new suit in to my local tailor for small alterations.   When you buy suits this way, there is literally no difference between buying a suit in a store and buying them online.

No wait.  Actually, there is one difference.  You can get better deals online.

My experience was so good with MensSuitSeparates.com and Hardwick that I have just put an order in for two more suits.  I can’t wait until they show up.  For the first time in my life, I am going to have a rotation of American-made suits.

Maybe it’s just me, but that makes me proud.

If you are in the market for a new suit, consider buying a Hardwick, and give MensSuitSeparates.com a try.  You can find the link to MensSuitSeparates.com on this site at all times under “Good Vendors.”

Hardwick suits are simply a cut above the competition.  You could not find a better suit for a better price anywhere.  And when you buy a Hardwick, you will be putting Americans to work at a time our country needs jobs the most.

Let’s spread the word about Hardwick suits and see if we can double their business.  With 10.1% unemployment in Bradley County – the county in which Cleveland, Tennessee is located – the people living in this area of the country could sure use 400 new jobs.

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

Randy

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Two years ago I made a New Year’s resolution.  I had been thinking about the high rate of unemployment in this country and how our economic troubles are made so much worse by the enormous number of goods we import each year.  We would be so much better off if we created jobs by making those goods here in America.  We just need more Americans to demand goods made in the USA.

So I said to myself, I might not be able to change the way Americans shop, but I can certainly change the way I shop, and I refuse to continue to contribute to a problem that is causing so much economic pain for so many. From now on I’m buying American!

That was the New Year’s resolution I made to myself two years ago.  I originally set out to do it for one year, but once I completed the first year, I didn’t even consider stopping there. I found out that once you buy American for a few months it becomes second nature.

While this experience hasn’t been easy, it has been very rewarding.  I feel good knowing I am doing my part to create jobs when I buy the things I need.  From shoes, to clothes, to furniture, to cars, practically everything I buy is made in USA.  Those purchases are creating jobs in Virginia where I live and in places across the country.  Looking back, deciding to buy American is one of the best decisions I have made.  I do not regret it at all.

My New Year’s resolution this year is to make a concerted effort to get more people to commit to buying American.  I know there are millions of Americans that are willing to do it.  We just need to find those people and ask them to join our growing buy American movement.  If we get enough people to do it, we can make a real difference by creating jobs at a time that so many Americans need work.

I may have already asked you in the past, but if you are reading this I am asking you again right now.

Please consider taking the buy American challenge.  Buying American is the one thing you can do every day to help create jobs for Americans.  What better time to begin than at the start of a new year?

If you will do it, you will be doing your part to get our country back on the right track.

Commit to buying American this New Year.  It is a resolution you won’t regret making.

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

Randy

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