Here at Granny’s Vital Vittles I talk a lot about how to save money on real food. It concerns me greatly that there are many people in this world that have trouble getting real food to eat due to money issues. I want to see a world where everyone gets real food to eat! Not just occasionally but all the time! It’s a work in progress ;-).
Now, in order to do that everyone needs to understand what real food is available to them and what they can afford. Most people believe that real food is too expensive for them. Not the case at all! Now, maybe the highest quality real food 100% of time isn’t affordable. I know I can’t afford that. But it’s affordable for everyone to eat some reasonable quality real food every day. And for the majority it’s possible to enjoy that same reasonable quality real food all day everyday.
I see many people making these mistakes. Heck, I’ve done them myself many times over the years to help hold the food budget together. Some are cutting out meals and increasing the quality of the remaining ones. Some are just plain cutting costs. But these are dangerous tactics, my friends. These are practices that Granny would have frowned on. You would have received a very stern lecture indeed for saving money by doing any of the following things.
Make no mistake doing these things will impact your health. Maybe not today or tomorrow but a price will eventually be paid in health in the future in order to save money today.
This is the biggie I see both young adults and older people doing. What’s the common denominator? Neither group is responsible for feeding young kids! And both groups tend to feel that it won’t hurt them one bit to skip a few calories and lose a little weight.
What would Grandma say about this practice? She’d have plenty to say I’m sure! For a moment just picture every grandmother you can remember in every movie you’ve ever seen and what stereotypical behavior is she engaged in? Usually trying to get someone to eat a meal they’ve just said they don’t want to eat :D. It was common knowledge that skipping meals undermined your health.
Think that not too many people are *really* doing this? Think again. This is a very common strategy to reduce food costs. Here’s just one example from the book The American Way of Eating:
“I find that by sleeping late, eating breakfast, taking care of laundry and such and then heading to work, I can keep my meal requirements to just two: late breakfast and then my free late-afternoon meal between the lunch and dinner rushes. I can feel apathy about my meals settling in … I find that if there’s any gnawing hunger between my meals, on workdays I can placate it with soda or a ‘dead’ food … Accordingly, my grocery bills plummet.”
With a little planning and a little time skipping meals will not be necessary anymore to keep your food bills in check. If you’re doing this I highly recommend following The Granny Plan.
Going for the Cheapest Choice
Families tend to go for this one though it’s become way more common in all groups. Students are famous for doing stuff like opting to eat Ramen to get them through the days following draining their bank account for a weekend trip with their buddies. Families commonly employ this tactic by carefully comparing prices between specific foods and deciding which to buy based entirely on cost thinking it’s the only really relevant factor.
Eating poor choices for awhile may be unavoidable from time to time, it’s true. It has happened to me and my family on occasion. But please, try to ensure that this only happens when it really must.
Don’t do it so that you can eat dinner at an expensive restaurant with a party of friends only to find that you’ve run out of food money for the week. Don’t do it so you can have the latest whiz-bang gadget first. Don’t do it to squeeze out a little extra from the budget for multiple after-school activities. Don’t do it to save for that retirement cruise you’ve always wanted to go on. These are bad trade-offs. We’re all tempted from time to time but try to resist.
These decisions are all about priorities. It’s easy to accidentally prioritize something over eating well particularly when friends and family are pressuring you. Financial decisions come at you fast and furious sometimes and we all do the best we can. Just ensure that it happens only when unavoidable … try to keep the accidental mis-prioritization to a minimum.
Relying Heavily on Low Nutrient Foods
If anyone you’re feeding has high-calorie requirements you’ll be pretty familiar with this last strategy. Sometimes it seems the only way to fill up the bottomless pit is with high calorie low nutrient food. Athletes, people with very physical jobs, very large men and teenagers come to mind. The bulk of low nutrient high calorie food is fast food or processed foods. But some of it is still real whole food that could or should be a part of your diet, just not the bulk of your diet. Instead work at increasing the nutrient density by adding foods that pack a punch nutrient-wise but are very affordable. Organ meats for instance. Broth is also pretty inexpensive. If you increase the nutrient density of their food you may find that they begin to eat less overall. Their bodies are receiving the nutrition they crave and so calorie requirements are reduced. Many people have reported just this when they go on a nutrient dense diet.
Have you tried any of these dangerous strategies to reduce your food bill? Do you feel they are dangerous? What would your mother or grandmother have to say?
Photo by FutureAtlas.com.