In today’s poor economic climate, you may be asking yourself, “What can I do, I’m just one person?” There are many things you can do, and it all starts at home! If every community would support and encourage their own local economies, the larger national economy would begin to really recover, and in the meantime, your community would be strengthened and improved, helping your friends and neighbors!
Shop at Small Local Businesses
First and foremost, you can shop local. Shopping at local small businesses year round (and not just on small business Saturday!) is a great way to jumpstart your local economy. Local small businesses are owned, operated, and staffed by the people in your community. When you shop, eat, or use the services of the small business rather than the large chain store, you are contributing to the success of that business and keeping your friends and neighbors businesses viable and growing. When these businesses stay strong, and the people who own and work at these types of businesses spend their money at other local businesses, it keeps the community vibrant and thriving. There are many types of local merchants who need your business. When you want fresh fruits and vegetables there are farmer’s markets, local farmers, and even pick your own produce. When you pick your own produce or purchase from local farmers either at their farms or at farmer’s markets, you are getting the freshest produce your money can buy! This isn’t produce that’s been treated, waxed, and artificially kept looking nice while tasting bland and uninspired; it is garden-fresh produce that is delicious, naturally ripe, and at its best. Not only are you helping your local economy, but your meals just got tastier!
Keep Your Tax Dollars Local
Another benefit of shopping locally is that your tax dollars stay in your community. Instead of paying taxes to an online company or in the big city miles away, your taxes go to fixing roads, supporting local schools, local charities, and more. By spending in your community, you are helping improve your community, not just the businesses, which are important, but also your community infrastructure and social services.
Get Involved in Local Government
Getting involved in local politics may seem scary, stressful, or just plain boring, but it is an important way you can help your local economy grow and improve. You can have a voice in deciding how local tax dollars are used, including your own! Running for city or town council, a seat on the school board, or just attending council meetings gives you the chance to use your intelligence, experience, and knowledge to make a difference for your local economy.
Don’t Send Your Money Away
Banking locally is a huge way you can help your local economy grow. If you have a local credit union, becoming a member is an easy and beneficial way to literally keep your money local. Credit unions often have more favorable interest rates on CD’s, loans, and other financial products. They also usually pay dividends to their members at the end of every year. This keeps your money in the community and the credit union uses your money to help others in your community, as well.
Work in Your Community
When you work locally, you help the local economy. This may not seem like a big deal, but, if you think about it, when you work locally, you are saving money on gas and saving time, which gives you more time and money to spend in your community. You will buy your lunch and gas locally. It will make it more convenient to use local services like dry cleaning, day care, and others. By working in your community, you are putting your money to work in your community.
These are just a few ways you can start today to help your local economy improve and grow. Get started today!