Do you recycle your money?

We are all aware that recycling as many types of materials as possible is beneficial to the future of our planet, but there is one type of recycling that is absolutely critical to the future of our community. We all need to be recycling our money! This doesn’t mean that we should shred it up and turn it into environmentally conscientious paper products. It means that we need to be shopping local.

Much of the money you spend at local businesses tends to be recycled or re-spent within the community on payroll, supplies, and other business expenses. When those employees and suppliers subsequently spend their paychecks or receipts locally, all of the benefits of shopping local begin all over again. This is called the Local Multiplier Effect, and it tracks how many times a dollar is recirculated in the community before it leaves the local economy.

When we shop local, we enjoy increased property values, create local jobs, and generate sales tax revenue to fund the services provided by our county and our municipalities. By supporting local businesses, we also help the community develop its own unique personality, encourage new entrepreneurs to establish their own businesses, and tap into local expertise. Additional profits for local businesses translate into more money and materials donated to local non-profits as well. And yes, shopping local is good for the environment since you consume less gas as you run your errands.

All kinds of great things happen when we shop local, but the real magic starts when the Local Multiplier Effect kicks in. All that good stuff starts happening again and again and again… This is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of shopping local. Although the actual percentage varies, small business owners typically tend to re-spend somewhere between 50 percent and 65 percent of their earnings within the community. Those dollars just keep happily cycling around locally until they leak out of Blount County on an Amazon order.

The success of Blount County’s economy depends on the strength of our Local Multiplier Effect. If we could increase the number of times each dollar is re-spent locally, it would have an enormous impact on the economic health of Blount County. This is the easiest and quickest way possible to improve the quality of life for everyone in our community.

It may not be possible to find everything that you need locally, but this is not an all-or-nothing issue. Before heading out to go shopping, ask yourself if what you need is something that could be found locally. Even a modest increase in the number of local purchases you make will make a big difference; and once you see how easy it is to do, it may become more of a habit. Remember, recycling is a good thing… especially if you are recycling your money!