A newspaper like The Independent is constantly beating the “shop at home” drum—and we don’t mean ordering off the internet in your jammies. We mean spending money at the businesses owned by your friends and neighbors.

Why does this matter? Your dollar has ripple effects when you spend it in the local community that are absent if you take that dollar for a ride into Albuquerque or send it through the ether to parts unknown when ordering items online.

It’s called the multiplier effect, and economists have done research on it. The basic gist is that when we spend money locally, that money travels around the community, getting spent over and over. And when a lot of us do it, that make a big difference for a small community.

Here’s how it works: James needs a haircut, so he spends his money at a hair salon owned by Judy, who lives in Edgewood. Now Judy takes the same money he just spent and buys office supplies from Karen.

Karen uses the money to take her friend out to eat at a restaurant owned by Jack. Jack then uses that money to hire a local contractor for repairs. The contractor buys lunch at the local grocery that just opened up. Frida, who owns the grocery store, makes a donation to her town’s youth sports program or music department. And round and round it goes.

In other words, whenever we make a concerted effort to spend those hard-earned dollars within our local economy, the community as a whole benefits.

This newspaper benefits because advertising from local businesses provides the income that allows us to bring you the stories and voices of the community—and we are grateful for that. We are a small and locally owned business just like the majority of our advertisers.

Shopping close to home also matters because it allows us as residents here to have a voice in the shape of our towns. You want to be able to buy frozen yogurt in Edgewood? Then pop by every now and then and buy some so that business can stay afloat.

Do you want the new grocery store in Mountainair to be open when you need a jug of milk? Make a concerted effort to go in and spend a few dollars so it can thrive.

Price can be a consideration, and sometimes the mom and pops have got higher prices than you can find in Albuquerque or on the internet. With around 70 percent of people in the area commuting to Albuquerque or Santa Fe for jobs, stopping in the city to shop may seem like a great idea. But shopping in our smaller stores even at the peak of holiday madness like Black Friday rarely means long lines, traffic jams or unpleasant clerks.

Small business owners usually realize the importance of great customer service and they are thrilled to see you—meaning shopping locally is usually a lot less stressful, too. The East Mountains and Estancia Valley are home to many, many artists and artisans eager to sell you their works of genius (and not at prices like you might see in Santa Fe or Taos, either).

And as if all of that weren’t enough, when we spend money locally, it comes back to us through our local governments in the form of tax revenue. When you buy gas in Torrance County, that puts money into the county’s roads budget. Same for the towns around the area.

Even shopping at big box stores like the Edgewood Walmart has a positive effect for the town’s budget, which relies heavily on gross receipts taxes to fund its police department, animal control, library, roads department and other services.

And if you can’t stand getting out of your jammies to make your purchases—you can still buy locally. Edgewood is home to at least three people who make and sell high-quality soaps, bath bombs and other goodies; and many artists have Etsy shops or websites, making it easier to thoughtfully spend those dollars than ever before.

Shop locally. Where you spend your money can make a real difference in how our community grows. You can make your voice heard by supporting our local economy.