On a rainy evening, the distance between you and your favorite takeout place can seem massive. Yet, the journey most food makes to you is far longer. It’s estimated that the average meal in the United States travels 1,500 miles to get to your plate and costs about $1.46 per mile — an expense that’s then passed on to you.
When we think about getting the most bang for our buck, many of us think of global giants like Amazon that offer millions of products at unbeatable prices. However, there are a number of ways that your dollar can work for you aside from getting more for less.
The movement towards more thoughtful and responsible product consumption is growing: 93 percent of the world’s largest 250 companies are now reporting on their sustainability. More often, consumers want companies that engage in resource-conserving practices, source their goods using fair trade practices, and pay workers livable wages. Making wise purchasing choices involves more than just spending the least — it’s now about doing the most good. One of the best options for doing good with your money is by spending at local small businesses. A company doesn’t need to be large-scale to make a big difference.
When you support a local small business owner, 67 cents for every dollar stays in the community. Funds are circulated through the local economy, stimulating growth and allowing new business owners to create products and open job opportunities. Spending money on local goods enables artists to do the work they love, enrich community culture, and make your town a more desirable place to live. They can also help raise home values.
While local businesses may not always be able to keep their prices competitive with big-box retailers, there are still plenty of savings to be had. Farmers’ markets can sell fresher produce with less overhead for transportation and storage. Local businesses that sell handmade goods like furniture or art can afford to sell at a much lower rate without the added cost of a middle man. On top of all these savings, local businesses are also more likely to negotiate prices and offer perks for loyal customers.
Supporting local businesses is a win-win for both you and the local economy. Check out our infographic for more on the impact of spending locally, and how you can incorporate it into your spending habits.