Buy Local! Why?
Every time you shop in a small, locally owned, business the money goes into the pocket of the owner, who lives in the area. Statistically, what they will do with that extra money is buy their kids shoes, get haircuts, and spend a little in their community. Helping small businesses thrive in their local community is tantamount to funding a Levy. When we spend our money locally we are pouring money into the local economy, which stays in the local economy.
Contrast that to spending money at any business (no matter how cool or efficient) that has a corporate headquarters outside your community… then the money goes to the corporate headquarters and is spent from there. Your money will go wherever it is needed most by that corporation.
So your $5 latte at the local drive up will put more back into your economy than going to a Starbucks (unless you live in Seattle). Eat at a local restaurant instead of a chain (although most franchises are owned by local people they also send a lot of their money to the corporate HQ); Get your oil changed or new tires from a local store… just the normal stuff you do from day to day can change the life of a small business and pours money into your community. You are spending the money anyway; where you spend it can change the world.
When you buy on-line you are primarily sending your money out of state even though you have not left your desk, unless you are ordering from a local company. Same principle applies. Search out the local vendors… most have websites and sell on-line.
Try it! Change one thing you buy from a big box store to a local vendor. I am not suggesting you compromise quality or service, just vendors. Find what you need at a local vendor. Food is the easiest, local foods are going to be fresher and travelled a lot less to get there (better for the environment) and better for you. If you shop at Safeway (as an example) unless you live in CA you are sending your money out of state.
Simple economics: If you want more jobs in your area, spend your money locally. If you want more money for schools, spend your money locally. If you want folks in your community to have more money to spend at your place of business, spend your money locally. It really matters. Every dollar, every customer makes a difference.
Suggested Reading: The Soul of Money, by Lynne Twist.