Wednesday, October 1, 2008

More on spending habits vs. real food costs

Before going further on the subject of spending habits and real food costs, I would like to point out that we have seven children. I am certain that we have never come even close to spending the amount recommended by the USDA as their "Thrifty Plan." If Americans are really spending as much as the Liberal Plan would allow, then we can certainly see why obesity is such a problem. We can not imagine eating that much food. Bear in mind that these amounts do not include anything for "eating out." This is the estimated cost for in-home food.

I did have a friend, years and years ago, who drank at least six or seven cans of soda every afternoon. I used to sit there and watch him drink it down. So I do know that people can spend more than I would on non-food items. Some of the items are not food, in our definition. We do not consider coffee, tea, soda, and chewing gum to be food, for example. Conspicuously absent from this food list is any purchase of alcoholic beverages which would certainly add a considerable amount to the weekly cost. It is surprisingly difficult to find accurate figures as to the per capita consumption of these "non-food" items. We do not chose to avoid these items merely because they are detrimental or habit forming, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints we have a religious based reason. Modern revelation to a Prophet of God instructs us to avoid, alcoholic beverages, coffee and tea and to eat in moderation.

Fortunately, our family's spending habits were formed by my wife and her family. We have some basic rules of food purchase and consumption:

1. Never buy anything that isn't on sale at the lowest price available. Now, this rule isn't always possible to follow, but it is a good starting point. This principle is one of the basic tenants of food storage.

2. Never buy prepared food when there is an unprepared or unprocessed substitute available. This takes some effort and I will talk about this more in future blogs.

3. If the price of a certain type or brand of food goes up or does not go on sale, do not buy it. This is hard to do, since we often buy through habit or what we a accustomed to purchasing.

4. Always buy day-old or "manager's specials" especially if they are things you would normally eat.

5. Always shop with a list and never buy anything in the store merely out of convenience when you plan to buy the item in another store for less. Time is money but money is also money. Don't spend more just out of convenience.

6. Never buy staples, i.e. milk, eggs, butter, meat etc. from a convenience store. In fact, in our viewpoint don't buy anything, especially sugar drinks and snack foods at a convenience store.

More on these rules later.

1 comment:

Jared said...

Good rules. I do want to add that as a missionary in Seattle we often purchased milk at convenience stores because it was cheaper there than in supermarkets. This wasn't always the case but it was true for a sizable portion of my mission. Milk, however, is not cheaper at convenience stores here in Florida, at least not that I've seen.