Spend locally; the 3/50 Project

By Hannah Gilman

I think it’s safe to say that everyone is fully aware that our current economy isn’t doing so hot. People in all walks of life are affected by these hard times and I’m pretty confident I’m speaking for more than myself when I say that I’d like to see a turnaround. For a while, I didn’t really think there was anything which I, a small speck with no voice in the middle of Iowa, could do to contribute to the boosting. Turns out I was wrong.

There’s a movement that has been around since March 2009 called The 3/50 Project founded by retail consultant and professional speaker Cinda Baxter, whose mission is to “strengthen independent brick and mortar businesses.” That’s code for saving the economy by buying locally, which is what the 3/50 Project helps the everyday citizen do.

I know fractions and money and “brick and mortar businesses” sound scary but really, it’s an easy idea to get the hang of. The 3/50 Project is a super simple way to help turn the economy around and if I can partake in it, you can too.

The first step is to choose your three local favorite businesses. Maybe you love a skim latte from Café Milo. Kil’n Time Studio could very well be your favorite way to “kill” a Sunday afternoon. Perhaps Aunt Maude’s is your favorite dinner date destination. Whatever works.

Now think of those three favorite local businesses and imagine what life would be like without them. Kinda sucks, huh? That barista at Starbucks doesn’t know your usual order by heart, right? And that cereal bowl you bought from Walmart doesn’t have quite the charm your hand painted one has, does it? Plus, did you really want your boyfriend to take you to Red Lobster for your one-year anniversary? Didn’t think so.

The 3/50 Project states for every $100 spent in locally owned businesses $68 returns to the community, whereas only $43 stays if the money is spent in a national chain. Spend your money online and your community has nothing to gain. Spending locally saves those local businesses you love which generates revenue and therefore boosts the economy.

The 3/50 Project encourages people to swing by their 3 favorite businesses and spend $50 a month among them. Once again, that’s taking $50 you’d spend at various national chains per month and spending it on those 3 local businesses you’d hate to see go. Got it? Good. And while you’re at it; think locally when you do things you already have to do, like finally buying that new couch or sucking it up and getting that sweater dry-cleaned. Easy – right? For more information, check out www.the350project.net.

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