Although it may cost more money up front, shopping at local stores and spending your money locally will actually pay off for you in the long run. When you shop locally as opposed to at larger retail chains, more of the money you spend returns to pay the wages of those in your community and to fund public schools and other programs and services that depend on taxes. Every day in the U.S, 53.6% of all people make one purchase at a local business and 51% spend $19 or less at a local business. Comparing regions, New Englanders are most likely to shop locally, with 78.95% shopping at locally owned businesses at least half the time and 47.37% usually or always shopping at locally owned businesses. At the same time, people in Mountain States are least likely to shop local, with 37.84% shopping at locally owned businesses at least half the time and only 8.1% usually or always shopping at locally owned businesses.
Here is a comparison of how much of your money is funneled back into your community when you shop at chains vs. local stores:
- Shopping: If you shop locally, $68 of every $100 you spend remains in your neighborhood, compared to only $43 if you shop at chains
- Coffee shops: If you buy a $5 cup of coffee at a local shop, $3.40 will return to your community compared to $2.15 if you buy from a national chain
- Wine: When you buy a $57 bottle from a local winery, $38.76 returns to your neighborhood. On the other hand, buying a $12.99 bottle from a chain store will funnel just $3.18 back to your community
- Pizza: $9.52 of the $14 you spend at a local pizzeria will return to your neighborhood, while just $3.53 will return to you if you spend $14.40 at a national pizza chain. That's right, if you spend less at a local place, your community earns more!
- Books: Spend $19.57 at a local bookstore and $13.31 will return to your neighborhood. Spend $16.77 at Amazon, on the other hand, and $7.21 will make its way to your community
- Letterpress shop: Spend $5 on a card from a local letterpress and see $3.40 return to your community. Buy a card for $3.49 from a chain store, however, and see only $1.50 come back to your neighborhood
- Eggs: Spend $4.45 at a farmers market and $3.03 will return to your neighborhood. Buy $4.84 worth of eggs at a chain store, however, and only $1.19 will come back to your community
These are just a few examples of ways paying more (and sometimes less!) to shop locally actually brings more money back to you in the long run. So what's it going to be: local or chain?