Thank you all for adding suggestions and sharing your various circumstances in my last Real Food Grocery Budget post, Very Limited Income for Real Food Purchases. I think it’s great that we’re all helping each other think of new ideas for saving money on good food.
What I’d like to address now is that while I think it’s great to learn ways to cut down on food costs when you’re going through tough financial situations, I also feel like it is very important to make sure our families are getting the nutrition they need. Again, we are investing in our bodies when we spend money to eat whole, real food. Some foods we can cut back on, but there are some things we really, really need to be eating so that we can stay healthy.
That’s why I had such a hard time sharing what I’d cut back on or cut out of our diets. I have a hard time recommending that many people NEED to cut down their grocery budget. If you’re spending money on processed foods or splurging all the time on specialty items and buying food that isn’t in season or buying stuff to eat that will simply fill a hole but not offer any nourishment…then we need to talk about ways for you to cut your grocery budget.
But if you have $X amount in your grocery budget and you’re carefully spending that amount on real, whole foods that are nourishing your family…I think you should keep doing what you’re doing. Sure, let’s keep trying to find fair prices and good deals and shop wisely so as to be good stewards of what God has given us to take care of our families. But if you have the money for plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables or any of the high quality healthy foods you feel convicted about eating…buy them for your family. Don’t cut out necessary nutrition just so that you can say that you’ve lowered your grocery bill.
In addition – and I’m guessing that I probably don’t really need to be saying this to any of you but I’m going to say it anyway – before you talk about needing to cut your Real Foods Grocery Budget, please make sure you’ve cut every other un-necessary item out of your budget first. My family has always done without cable TV and expensive cell phone plans and frequent eating out and going to movies and expensive clothing and all kinds of other things I can’t think of because we don’t spend money (or rarely spend money) on them so I probably don’t know what I’m missing. I’m NOT saying that you shouldn’t ever have or do these things. If you have cable TV, I’m fine with that and will probably even enjoy watching the Food Network with you when I come for a visit. I’m just saying that you really shouldn’t complain about not being able to “afford” real, whole food…and then turn around and fill your grocery cart with frozen pizza, soda, twinkies and chips, 24 new pairs of high heeled shoes and a big screen TV for your bathroom. Kapeesh?
My point ultimately is that we all need to be as careful as possible with how we spend our money…but I think that spending money on good, whole food for our families is wise and even necessary. It’s an investment in our health for today and for years down the road. Good food costs money…but I think we need to caution ourselves against feeling like, “ugh, healthy food is SOOOOO expensive.” Is it…really? I don’t look at it that way anymore. I look at healthy food as…healthy. And the price that comes with it?
Well…I’d rather not pay the price of eating cheap, empty food. To me…that is what is costly.
Off and on all week I’ve said that I would share about some creative ways our family saves, earns and comes up with great sources for food. I’ve sprinkled some of that information throughout these posts, but really and truly I have a whole post devoted to sharing ways to stretch and grow your grocery budget. Other topics keep popping up this week as I’ve written this series, but I promise (probably, mostly for sure, I think) that I’ll post tomorrow about stretching the budget. And sometime soon…I’ll even post about stretching a chicken.
What are your thoughts about the “cost” of nutrition-void food?