Good morning. While teaching Personal Finance for more than 35 years, I always tried to impress on my students the economic reasons for shopping locally. Economists say the multiplier effect of shopping is four times. This means that the profit multiplies four times in a community (it used to be 7 -- thanks, internet). A lot of people think that might be correct, but how does it really affect me? It almost always does, but would be very difficult to prove.

The other reason for shopping locally is the real cost of driving someplace to shop. AAA calculates that it costs 60 cents per mile to drive your vehicle. This is figured by the cost to run your vehicle: depreciation (the biggest one), gas, oil, insurance, maintenance, etc. So, if you drive to Rapid City and back -- approximately 345 miles -- it costs you $207. To drive to Sioux Falls and back -- approximately 447 miles -- the cost is $268. You have to save a lot on your purchases to make up for the cost of driving.

I feel this is something we should all think about when planning our shopping. Just think of all the businesses that have closed or changed hands lately. Thanks for reading and have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Charlie Sizer


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