Is Saving Money on Food your Primary Motivator when shopping?
Many times, when we shop with the objective of saving money on food, we wind up with cheap, inferior food. Here’s one example for the next time you’re shopping: In the dairy section pick up the house brand cottage cheese and the premium brand cottage cheese. Read the ingredients for both. Chances are you’ll find ‘modified food starch’ on the cheaper house brand. And that’s how they make it cheaper. They add less expensive ingredients as fillers. So they stretch the higher priced ingredients further. It might be a good marketing plan, but health wise it’s a bad idea.
You may be asking “Why?” Why is that a bad idea? Modified food starch is a carbohydrate that breaks down to glucose (sugar) in the body. So it could be a problem if you’re diabetic. I bet you thought that cottage cheese might be good for you if you’re diabetic, right? Better check the label carefully. Even in the absence of diabetes it’s a problem. When you’re body has an excess of glucose in the blood, it stores it as fat.
It’s not just the modified food starch that’s at issue. Food manufacturers do a number of things that reduce their costs. All of which can be a problem for the consumer:
Using MSG as a flavor enhancer allows them to use less of the expensive spices. I’ve written in the past about common foods containing MSG and also the health issues caused by MSG.
- Using cheaper fats and oils – such as trans fat – to extend the shelf life of baked goods.
- Using growth hormones in farm animals.
- Feeding farm animals grain because it is cheap instead of their natural food – grass.
- Treating farm animals with antibiotics because of their close quarters and unhealthy living conditions.
- Adding sugar, preservatives, and highly refined products to food.
- The list could go on…
Support your local farmers
Another area for saving money on food is by buying local. People tend to think that the prices at the farmers markets are higher than the grocery. That’s not necessarily true. Comparing the beef, chicken, or eggs from the two sources it looks to be true. BUT, I’ve found that the beef, chicken, and eggs at the farmers market are grass-fed, pasture-raised, and hormone-free. I’m not sure there’s much comparison there.
As for produce, I often find that prices are comparable to the grocery. In fact, some of the farmers at the Pearl Farmers Market also sell food to our local grocery. So, of course, their prices are similar to the grocery. But the biggest bonus is that the food is sooo much fresher. Many times, the food we buy at the market on Saturday morning was still in the ground on Friday morning. Compare that the grocery. If you can find a picked or packed date, it is rare. We bought something recently that had a packed date of two weeks earlier. That food was at the end of its healthy life.
Our experience is that we have less food going bad. Less waste = saving money on food!
Other Options to Saving Money on Food
I have a different opinion than many when it comes to saving money on food. I’ll admit I’ve never had to feed children on a tight budget. But I’ve watched others do it. It’s all a matter of your priorities. Consider other areas of your life that you could cut. I watched a family do this. Their priority became cutting back to one salary until the kids started school. They cut cable (it really can be done) and other items we think are necessary.
If you’ve heard the phrase – “Garbage In, Garbage Out” – consider applying it to your food. Don’t look at food as something to fill a belly or quell a hunger <
What do you think? Is your food important as fuel for your body? Or is it something to stop the hunger?
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2 thoughts on “Saving Money on Food Means Cheap Food”
Very helpful information! If you really consider the costs including what it takes to correct the problems that come from eating these unhealthy additives, those higher priced items end up being much better for your budget.
Thanks, Crystal. Very true. We all need to look at our food spending and medical spending together. Not to mention that it makes us feel better!