How much thought do you give to where your dollars are going when you buy a new pair of shoes or go out for a meal? With small local businesses struggling to compete against big box stores and corporate chains, it’s more important than ever to try to keep your money in your community.

That’s why we’re keeping an eye on a new, interesting “buy local” movement springing out of Minneapolis. The 3/50 Project aims to save “the brick and mortars our nation is built on.”

How are they going to save it? By encouraging consumers to pick three local businesses they’d really miss if they were to close down, then having them commit to spending $50 (combined) each month at those stores.

The 3/50 Project isn’t an “all or nothing” campaign that insists consumers stop shopping in chains or franchises. Instead, our message is about balance—of the money you currently spend each month, we simply ask you to redirect an affordable $50 back to the locally owned independent businesses that have been forgotten of late.

According to the website, 68 percent of every dollar spent in a locally-owned business returns to the local economy —  in the form of taxes, payroll, and other expenditures. By comparison, when you buy at a national chain, only 43 percent of that money stays local. That’s a significant amount of money that can easily be funneled back into a community.

Enlisting business supporters, consumers, and organizations to get behind the movement, the 3/50 Project has gone national with supporters across the country holding events and community projects.

Palo Alto Software has teamed up with Rick L’Amie of Moxie Marketing in Austin, Texas, to support one such event. Moxie issued aB2B challenge to Austin business owners to help other businesses in the city. Each business that takes part in the challenge will be entered into a drawing to win one of three copies of Marketing Plan Pro we’ve donated to the cause. Winners will also receive a free 30-Day Moxie Quick Start Coaching program.

If you happen to be located in Austin, click here to enter the 3-Step Buy Local Challenge. All you have to do is name three local businesses, describe why you like them (stories will be shared on Rick’s blog), and pledge to support them.

If you don’t live in Austin, consider taking part in the 3/50 Project by making sure to spend some of your hard earned dollars in the stores and businesses owned by your neighbors. They’ll thank you, and you’ll be doing something simple to help your local economy.

Take the 3-Step Buy Local Challenge