First of all, we have high hopes for Obama's stimulus plan, which really needs to hurry up and get working. If anything, maybe it will give us hope enough to loosen our wallets a touch. But despite the tough times, we still need to buy the basics, right? And where we buy those basics can make a difference to our local economy. Lowcountry Local First, a chapter of BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies), quotes recent studies that show if people shift just 10 percent of their expenditures to locally-owned businesses, it can have a dramatic impact on the local economy. Now, this might not do much to save the banks and the mortgage companies, but it could do a lot to help your neighbor who runs that shoe store down on King Street.