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This website - http://www.AmericansWorking.com - is a great place to find American-made versions of practically anything you are looking to buy.

It came to my attention recently that I have spent a little too much time talking about the importance of buying American and not enough about how to actually do it.  Well, let me rectify that.  Here’s how I find and buy the things I need American-made.

The first thing you need is a website that you can use to find American-made versions of the things you will be buying.  The website I use for this purpose is: www.AmericansWorking.com.

I really can’t express how useful this website has been to me.  It has hundreds of products all organized by product category.  In my experience, I have been able to find the vast majority of things I have been looking to buy through this website.  I recommend saving it as a favorite location in your web browser, and going there whenever you are considering making a purchase.  A link to this website is also featured on the Buy American Challenge homepage, so you can find a link to this website by coming to this blog.

Once you know you are looking to buy a certain item (a pair of jeans for example), you go to www.AmericansWorking.com and find what you are looking for on the product directory located on the main page.  Under a link called “Apparel Made in the USA,” you can select from specific categories of American-made clothing including: women’s clothes, men’s clothes, children’s clothes, jackets, jeans, leather wear, motorcycle clothes, and work wear and uniforms.  Select one of these, and you will be led to a list of American-made brands and online vendors that sell American-made brands of clothes.  You can either use the online vendors to buy what you are looking for right then, or you can make a note of the brands that are made in the U.S.A. and look for those products at stores in your area or elsewhere online.

I think you will find that buying American is actually very easy, and it actually doesn’t cost more than it would to go to your local mall or department store. In fact, I have saved money since I started buying American because I always find good deals and I rarely make wasteful impulse purchases anymore.

To continue my example of buying a pair of blue jeans, once I selected “Apparel Made in the USA,” I selected “Men’s Clothes Made in USA.” I then chose a vendor called All USA Clothing.  This company is based in West Bloomfield, Michigan and has been in business since 1970 and they specialize in clothing made in the U.S.A. I was able to find a really nice pair of jeans for $34.99.  Shipping at this website is free.  That’s a pretty good deal.

This is the way I make a lot of my purchases, especially for items that I know will be difficult to find made in the U.S.A.

I have chronicled a lot of my American-made purchases on this blog over the last several months, but the following are just a sample of the things I have bought this year which are made in the U.S.A.:  Clothes, shoes, ties, a baseball cap, winter accessories, furniture, all my groceries (with a few exceptions for things simply not grown in the U.S.A., like bananas), GNC supplements, coffee beans (Kona coffee), beer, wine, cigars (rolled in Miami), home goods, bottled water, a shower-head, razor, tools, flashlight, batteries, office supplies, candles, etc.  The list goes on and on.  All of it has been American-made.

I hope this little explanation of how I buy American will be useful to you.  Please let me know if you have any difficulty locating American-made versions of the products you are looking for.  I’ll be happy to help you locate them. 

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

Randy

P.S. If you are looking for a great American made clothing brand, check out Made in USA Threads!

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Before you begin reading this post, please take a look at this graph which represents America’s trade deficit as a percentage of GDP since 1960.  In the ‘60s and early-‘70s, we had a small trade surplus, usually at or below 1 percent of GDP.  We also had lots of good-paying jobs back then.  Remember when one breadwinner could support a family? Over time, that surplus turned into a deficit that reached about 3 percent of our nation’s total income by the late ‘80s.  Our trade deficit contracted for a few years, nearly disappearing by 1991.  But from that point on, our trade deficit as a percentage of GDP has simply ballooned.  Since 2004, the U.S. has consistently had trade deficits of 5-6 percent of GDP.

All of the red on the graph is just that, “red ink.”  That represents wealth that is leaving the country above what is coming into the country through trade.  If we ever want to restore our economic prosperity in this country, we have to get this trade deficit under control.  We cannot expect to prosper when we have $40 billion or more leaving the country every month.  There simply is not enough wealth being circulated into our own communities to create the number of jobs we need that way. 

Here is the answer: We can get our trade deficit under control simply by buying American-made goods more often.  Each American adult is responsible for $700 worth of imported goods per month.  If we cut that down to $517 per month, our trade deficit will be gone.  When you look at it that way, we really don’t have that far to go.

Let me ask you, could you cut your consumption of imported goods 27% by replacing foreign goods you buy with American-made goods?  I think you could do it very easily.  And if you will do it, you will have done your part to close the enormous trade deficit that is killing our economic recovery and the long-term prosperity and security of our country.

How easy is it to cut your consumption of imports 27%?  You could do it simply by considering where things are made before you buy them, and showing some patriotic favoritism to American-made goods, which tend to be higher in quality.  Think about how much money you spend on groceries, clothing, home goods, etc.  Making sure you buy made in U.S.A. for lots of the little things you buy will get your consumption of imports down 27%.

Or you can focus on the big-ticket items.  Let’s say you bought a $30,000 American-made car over a comparable European-manufactured import.  In that one decision, you would have done your part to eliminate the trade deficit for the next 14 years.  Wasn’t that easy?

We have to start making progress on cutting this deficit immediately.  Please commit to doing your part, take 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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Here are the top 10 reason why you should consider buying American: 

10. Foreign labor standards allow unsafe worker conditions in many countries. When you buy American you support not only American manufacturers but also American workers, safe working conditions, and child labor laws.

9. Jobs shipped abroad almost never return. When you buy goods made in the USA, you help keep the American economy growing.

8. US manufacturing processes are much cleaner for the environment than many other countries; many brands sold here are produced in countries using dangerous, heavily polluting processes. When you purchase American-made product, you know that you’re helping to keep the world a little cleaner for your children.

7. Many countries have no minimum wage restrictions, or the minimum wage is outrageously low. When you choose products made in the USA, you contribute to the payment of an honest day’s wages for an honest day’s work.

6. The growing lack of USA ability to manufacture many products is strategically unsound. When you seek out American-made goods, you foster American independence.

5. The huge US trade deficit leads to massive, unsustainable borrowing from other countries. Debt isn’t good for you and it isn’t good for America.

4. Foreign product safety standards are low. For example, poisonous levels of lead are in tens of millions of toys shipped to the USA. When you buy toys and other goods made in the USA, you can be confident that American consumer protection laws and safety standards are in place to protect your family.

3. Lack of minimum wage, worker safety, or environmental pollution controls in many countries undermines the concept of “fair and free trade”. No Western nation can ultimately compete on price with a country willing to massively exploit and pollute its own people. When you buy only American-made products, you insist on a higher standard.

2. Factories and money are shifting to countries not friendly to the USA or democracy. When you avoid imported goods in favor of American-made items, you help ensure that the United States doesn’t find its access to vital goods impacted by political conflict.

1. As the US manufacturing ability fades, future generations of US citizens will be unable to find relevant jobs. Buy American and help keep your friends and neighbors-and even yourself-earning a living wage.

This top-10 list was created by Todd Lipscomb.  Lipscomb is the founder of www.MadeinUSAForever.com, an online retailer that sells nothing but goods made in the U.S.A.  He also writes a blog which can be found at http://blog.madeinusaforever.com.

Check out his store.  he has some really great American-made goods for sale.

If you agree with Lipscomb, challenge yourself to buy American whenever possible; take 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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The M5 Magnum razor is made in the U.S.A. and sells for much less. It was also rated best razor of the year by Men's Health.

I’ve been saying for a long time that buying goods made in the U.S.A. does not cost more than buying imported goods (as most people assume it will), and nothing proves this point better than the razor.

Razors have gotten pretty fancy over the years.  They’ve gone from two blades all the way up to five blades on a single cartridge (or are they up to six already?).  And as the number of blades has gone up, so has the cost of those blades.  They often want $20 or more for a pack of 8 cartridges at the pharmacy. 

But recently, I came across an American-made brand of razor that is the best shave I have ever had, and it costs about half of what you would pay for a leading brand of razor like Gillette or Schick.  Now these brands make good razors too, but they are mostly imported, and boy are they expensive.  If they are saving money by manufacturing blades overseas, very little of that savings has been passed on to the consumer.

The razor I now use is the M5 Magnum  made by The Personna American Safety Razor Company.  This razor is every bit as fancy as the other brands.  It has five blades for regular shaving and an inverted safety blade on the edge for precision trimming.  It’s got vitamin E and aloe for a smooth glide.  It’s got a pivoting head that adjusts to the contour of your face.  It even comes in plastic case that closes up and is very handy for traveling.  What the M5 Magnum doesn’t offer is sticker shock. 

The M5 Magnum consistently costs far less than the competition.  You can buy an M5 Magnum with 20 cartridges on Amazon for $23.99.  That comes out to just about $1.20 per cartridge. 

Here’s the competition.  Wallgreens Pharmacy is currently selling an 8-pack of Gillette Fusion Power cartridges, which are almost exactly the same products, for $23.99.  That comes out to just about $3.00 per cartridge. 

I’m not the only one who thinks the M5 Magnum is a great razor.  Even though this razor costs significantly less than the competition, the M5 Magnum was the brand ranked best razor by Men’s Health magazine in 2010. 

People just assume that American-made goods have to cost more because they are made by American workers, but that is simply is not the truth, and the M5 Magnum razor proves it.   There are lots of great American products that are made in the U.S.A. and beat the competition on price.  Sometimes they beat the competition soundly.

So, before you assume that buying American-made brands will cost more, give it a try for yourself.  When you start buying American, you will find many high-quality American products that are at the price you would pay for an import or even below it.

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

Randy

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I wanted to share this very misleading report put out by Cars.com recently called The Cars.com American-Made Index.

Cars.com has created what they are calling an “American-Made Index,” where it lists the Toyota Camry of all cars as the #1 most American car.  Don’t get me wrong; I am extremely pleased that Toyota chooses to produce many of their automobiles in the U.S., thereby creating American jobs.  But I’m sorry, putting the Camry on top of a rating called the “American-Made Index,” is a stretch.

The website used some very “clever” methodology to reach their conclusion. The three factors considered were: country of final assembly, American-made parts content, and volume of sales.

Wait a minute! What does volume of sales have to do with anything?  If I’m going to use the “American-Made Index,” I am going to use it to buy a car that is going to be the most American-made per car. The Toyota doesn’t move ahead of other cars with higher American-made parts content, like many cars produced by Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury, because more Toyotas are sold.

I don’t know what this website’s motivation is in creating this misleading index, but it is very counterproductive to our efforts to increase consumer patriotism in this country.  Stories like these create consumer confusion, which causes people to just give up on buying American altogether.

Does anyone have any ideas about what can be done to respond to this bogus “American-Made Index?”  Anyone looking for a pro bono project?

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

Randy

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Guideline #1 of the Buy American Challenge states that one should aim to buy only goods finished in the U.S., but why is this the basic criteria we should use?

There are other worthwhile criteria to consider when buying American, such as whether the company producing a good is American owned, whether the good has parts that are foreign made, and whether the company has a history of creating American jobs.  But where the finished item is produced is the best single criteria to use in my opinion for a couple reasons. First, it is the easiest to identify at the point of purchase.  Second, creating finished goods in the United States directly and unequivocally creates American jobs.

Being able to identify where a good was finished is critical to a person who is trying to buy American made.  For many purchases we make, all the information we have is where the finished good was made.  If that’s all the information we have access to, then that’s the information we should be using to make our purchasing decision.

There is also no doubt that buying items where the finished good is made in the U.S. will create more American jobs than buying items where no parts were built or assembly was done in U.S. 

For example, a refrigerator may be assembled in the U.S. with a mix of imported parts and parts made in America.  It’s better to buy that fridge than one made entirely in Mexico.  Plus, we can open up the refrigerator door at the point of purchase and see where the fridge was assembled; it says it on a label on the inner wall of the refrigerator.  However, good luck figuring out where all the parts came from.  Someone with great research skills might be able to find this information, but most people either can’t or won’t take the time.  So we should stick to the information we have most readily available to make decisions.

For some big ticket items, like cars, we can get information on what percentage of the parts content is American made relatively easily.  For these high priced items we should certainly consider parts content.  But for the numerous purchases we make where the information is unavailable or just too difficult to find, we should stick to items that are finished in America whenever possible.

Learning to buy American is like riding a bike – it takes a little practice before you get the hang of it.  Buying American finished products to start your buy American journey let’s you learn the buy American basics.  Then, after a little while, you can start adding other buy American criteria to your decisions to really maximize the positive impact of your purchases.

The most important thing is not to give up on trying to buy American.  Setting the bar too high initially will cause many to become frustrated.  I recommend those just starting out try to stick to buying finished American goods.  Once that becomes easy – and it does become easy – then start considering the other criteria.

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

Randy

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The 4th of July is getting close and everyone is getting excited.  Independence Day is sure to bring BBQs, fireworks, and general fun in the sun. As you get ready for the big weekend, don’t forget to stock up on H2O, as temperatures are sure to get up into 80s or 90s, and you are going to want to stay well-hydrated. 

When you stock up, be sure buy American.  Bottled water is one of those items where the American-version and the foreign-bottled version are virtually identical.  So, why not buy American and do your part to create American jobs? 

Two of my favorite brands of bottled water are Aquafina and Dasani.  These brands can be found anywhere, they are both bottled in the USA, and they are also owned by American companies.  That means buying these brands gives you the most American-job-creating bang for your buck. 

These are two of the most popular brands, but there are more than a hundred American bottled water brands out there.  Be sure to reach for one of them when you crave that high quality H2O (yes, that is a Waterboy reference).

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

Randy

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