This NPR article was making the rounds on Facebook last week, and I just wanted to share it and my thoughts with you.
My first response to this was YES. This is awesome, spot on, totally true. I have absolutely made the excuse before that a box of Kraft mac & cheese is cheaper than a full dinner of a protein, veggie, and starch, so I eat the unhealthy option instead of actually thinking about the fact that I usually end up throwing half a bag of shredded cheddar into said mac & cheese, maybe some lil smokies, and dipping it into my side of applesauce (hey, don’t knock it til you’ve tried it), which adds $$$ and calories and nasty processed crap.
Overall, the article raises a good point. But the *one* part that I found to be frustrating was this suggestion:
“Another key tip: When comparing two items, focus on the price per unit rather than the total price.”
Truth be told, this is the first time in my life I have had to actually sit down and create a budget. The thing is, sometimes I have enough in my budget to buy that $10 value pack of chicken parts. But there have definitely been times where I’ve had to look at what I have and settle on the fact that I can only afford a $3 pack of two. I GET that it is ultimately cheaper to buy the value pack. I absolutely get that, and I will always buy in bulk when I can. But it’s just sometimes not possible, especially when I am only cooking for one person and I have limited freezer and fridge space.
For some reason, that tip really rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe because I hate budgeting and it makes me cranky. Maybe because things like Mario Batali’s food stamp experiment prove that surviving on a tight budget can make eating healthy seem like a luxury or an inconvenience. Regardless, the overall point that is made is good. But an extra $45 a month is a lot, especially for people working minimum wage jobs.
(It should be noted that even though I’m having to budget, I’m doing fine. I have been extremely blessed in the past to have a fluffy enough bank account to get me through minimal-work-hour times. And I am extremely blessed and thankful to have a job doing what I love that does pay the bills plus a little extra. This is what I signed up for, and I could be a lot worse off. So just me doing my strong feelings soapbox thing.)