When you make a purchase at a store, do you ever stop to think about where your money goes? When you look at the receipt, are you ever curious to find out where and how your tax dollars are spent, or do you chalk it up to the government using your funds on agendas you have no control over?
While it’s easy to become frustrated when seeing a portion of your money go into taxes, shopping locally ensures that your contribution stays in the community. That’s why it’s so important to show your support to local business by being a consistent customer for them. Rather than buying online and having items delivered, get some fresh air by personally visiting the store and making your money work toward your neighborhood’s growth. Check out how your area’s tax flow is positively enhanced simply by buying from locally owned businesses.
BUILD LOCAL COMMUNITIES
In most cases, areas that charge sales taxes divide the earnings between the state and local communities. Regions that are positively impacted include counties, cities, and special districts. According to the Tax County Policy, sales taxes account for about 10% of all gained revenue. Most of the expendable income is used toward improving roadways by repairing potholes or other defects. Citizens also gain safety and recreational benefits due to the development of bicycle paths and public park maintenance.
Many of your local institutions rely on your dollars being spent in the area. Collected taxes are often used to fund state education for grades K-12 and higher education. The revenue collects supplies for classes, making building upgrades, and training programs to increase teacher awareness. Some emergency services also benefit from local sales tax collections like police and fire departments. They receive funding to purchase new safety equipment, K-9 units, and updated vehicles.
HELP A NEIGHBOR
One of the most significant contributions from collecting sales taxes is programs that benefit community members who struggle financially. With the support of the federal government, states often fund health insurance for families. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, tax-driven programs aid about 74 million low-income children, parents, older adults, and those with disabilities every month.
Business and the Community
Through hiring employees to giving back to their communities, local business owners play a formative role in shaping the region around them. Many local small businesses are operated by people who grew up in the community and decided to open their shop or service in their hometown. This instantly gives residents a personal connection with the owner and employees and creates a trusting relationship when offering knowledge about their product. When you spend your money within their doors, think of it as neighbors helping neighbors.
Small businesses are often considered the backbones of their communities. According to the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, when $100 is spent locally, $58 remains in the area to boost the economy. In contrast, if the same amount of money is paid at a chain store, the local area typically only keeps about $33. Find out other ways that local business owners help the region in which they operate.
Since many small business owners live and work in the community, they are likely to volunteer during local events, sponsor youth’s sports teams, and mentor other entrepreneurs. A recent report from Small Business Trends also shows that about 52% of operation owners donate to charity, with 90% of their contributions benefiting local causes.
In many areas, locally owned businesses set up shop in the downtown area of their community. Owners cause less impact on the environment by revitalizing historic landscapes, updating to energy efficient appliances, and upgrading lighting systems rather than building new structures. The Environmental Protection Agency suggests that clusters of small businesses in a walkable area can reduce car usage while encouraging green transportation modes like walking or bicycling. Buying local also cuts down on demand for industrial production, which is responsible for about 50% of the pollution in the United States.
CREATES LOCAL COMPETITION
When businesses strive to compete with other companies and solve problems with innovative solutions, the entire community wins. Prices must remain competitive to stay relevant to consumers, and owner-operators will continue to reinvent their current products or services and push the envelope to create a more enjoyable experience. When you’re in the doors of a locally owned business, you can ensure that you’ll be treated to top-tier customer service. The experts in charge of the shop must be well-versed in their product to remain competitive against other retailers, and their professionalism shows. If you want to feel respected and have all your questions answered, shopping locally is a safe bet.
Especially if you’re new to the area, the local knowledge can be a significant contributor to finding your way around. As you shop, start a conversation about your recent move and ask about the community. Someone excited about your visit will be more willing to make personal time and share hidden gems around the neighborhood that are also locally owned.
Here are some other excellent ways to familiarize yourself with small business owners and contribute to their operation by committing to shop locally.
MEET UNIQUE CHARACTERS
As you navigate a locally owned store or restaurant, you will begin trusting the owners and employees with their expertise. You may also notice that a relationship with other regulars will build over your like-minded views. Try to be open to new experiences and rubbing shoulders with others who frequent the businesses. Having a vast network of unique characters in your life can open the door to unexpected opportunities.
ORDER CUSTOM GOODS
When you can’t find what you’re looking for locally, ask an employee if they can special order the item. Many vendors can pull inventory from partners across the country or custom create the product that fits your needs. If you’re not in a hurry, avoid ordering from a big-box e-commerce website to keep your money at home and support your local businesses.