10 Reasons to Buy and Bank Locally

In recent years, there’s been a big push to buy local. There are ad campaigns, community organizations, online challenges and even dedicated days or weeks of the year encouraging local shopping. But do the benefits of keeping your money here extend to banking and other business services?

“Buy Local” isn’t just a trendy movement. When you purchase from a local retailer or use a local service, you’re essentially putting your dollars to work for your family, your neighbors and your community. Same goes for banking. You might not think joining a local credit union is an altruistic move, but your money can actually do more good there!

Here are ten smart reasons to bank and buy local:

1. Your Money Stays Here

When you make a purchase at a local business, get a loan from a local credit union or use a local service, your dollars stay right here in Arizona. According to Local First, doing $100 of business locally keeps $63 of your money in the local economy — 20% more than if you shopped with a non-local retailer.1 If everyone shopped and banked locally, just imagine how prosperous Arizona would be!

2. Fewer Fees and More Rewards

When’s the last time a national bank gave you an annual bonus just for doing business with them? (Wait … never? We’ll pretend we’re surprised.) Banks have shareholders and credit unions are owned by their members. When they do well, banks distribute profits to those shareholders, while credit unions reward members like you! Because they’re focused on keeping their members happy, credit unions also typically have fewer fees than their big bank counterparts.

3. Show Local Pride

There are some things that only Arizonans understand, like dust storms and not changing their clocks in the fall and spring. When you bank or buy local, you’re putting your dollars and your support behind members of the community you’re a part of. We all know about #sundevils and #uofawildcats. Why not show your off local pride with locally made soap, t-shirts or an Arizona-themed debit card from @DesertFinancial?

4. Loyalty Perks for You

While some national chains offer loyalty programs (looking at you, Starbucks!), local businesses often have incentives designed to keep you coming back. Buy 10 coffees and get one free. Sign up with your email for a $10 off coupon. Fill up your punch card for a discount. Local credit unions also offer great perks such as free checking and loyalty programs. For example, you could earn loan discounts and an annual cash bonus with Desert Financial’s free Relationship Rewards program!2

5. Reduce Environmental Impacts

By shopping local, you can actually help the planet! Studies show that people with more local business in their communities drive an average of 26% fewer miles, saving money on gas and shrinking their carbon footprint. Local financial institutions also tend to keep purchases local, which translates to fewer miles traveled and more money staying in your community.

6. Support Your Community

When you buy local, your support extends beyond just helping the owners of the business. The dollars that you put into buying a product or getting a loan with your local credit union also channel back into any community outreach that the company does. Some local shops and services participate in volunteer projects or donate a portion of their profits to charity. By purchasing from a local business, you also support the causes it helps. Credit unions support the community through nonprofit grants, scholarships, financial literacy programs and more — so when you bank local, you know that your money helps your neighbors!

7. Create Local Jobs

Local businesses employ local workers, which opens more job opportunities in your community. The same goes for local credit unions: The bigger and better off they are, the more jobs they can create. Credit unions are also known for providing quality benefits for their employees such as extended parental leave and tuition reimbursement programs!

8. Get Products & Services Just for You

Did you ever wander into a big-box store and see clothing that just doesn’t make sense for your climate? (Think snow jackets in Phoenix or February swimsuits in Flagstaff.) When you bank or buy local, you’re dealing with a business that understands your needs. Products are tailored for your unique environment, just as credit union services are designed to meet your local area’s needs.

9. Work with People You Trust

We’ve all experienced the difference between customer service at a giant retailer versus a local mom-and-pop shop. Let’s just say that there’s a *big* difference in user experience. Local businesses tend to place more emphasis on building individual relationships. Similarly, local credit unions put their members first. You’re not just a number … credit union employees know their regulars by name and work to help them reach their financial goals!

10. Expand Your Knowledge

Free education? Yes, please! The folks at your local hardware shop probably know a lot more about roofing than their orange-apron-wearing box store counterparts. Take advantage of their knowledge and experience. Even if you don’t belong to a credit union yet, your local CU also has resources to help you manage your money and reach your financial goals. Check out their blog or see if they offer financial literacy webinars. This content is typically free and available to everyone.

Whether you’re buying local or banking with a local credit union, one thing is certain: you’re helping your community. It isn’t just about local pride. From keeping more dollars in your local economy to aiding organizations that give back, supporting local business can have a huge impact. So, the next time you need to shop for a gift or make a deposit, consider putting your money where your heart is — right here in Arizona!

Enter our A Better Way Cash & Kindness Sweepstakes for a chance to win $25,000 cash for you and $25,000 for a charity of your choice.3

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1https://localfirst.com/media/files/default/defaultLF0814_WhyLocalFirstGraphicNew_J3.png
2For consumer and home equity loans, subject to credit approval and applies to new money loans. May not be combined with any other rate discounts or promotional offers. Must be Rewards Member or Rewards+ Member for a minimum of six months per calendar year to be eligible for cash back. Additional restrictions apply. See Statements of Terms, Conditions and Disclosures for full details.
3See official sweepstakes rules for details.

The material presented here is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to be used as financial, investment, or legal advice.