My mom sent me a heads up about this great post called Middle Class Snack Kids. It’s well-written, funny and makes some good points.
As a single gal who doesn’t earn a lot, the author realizes she’s spending a hellacious amount on food — a lot of it on snacks. To be exact, her grocery spending fell by a third when she cut down on her junk food. Sadly, not hard to believe.
As a nation, we consume a lot of junk food. A lot. And it’s not cheap.
Bags of Doritos go on sale for about $3. (I pined for some for 4 days recently. In the end, the price and the horrific number of calories made it not worth the Cool Ranch-y goodness.)
Bags of candy aren’t much cheaper, and we invariably eat too much in one sitting. That makes it an even worse deal for a wallets and our waistlines.
Back when I was eating whatever I wanted, I’d estimate we spent nearly a quarter of our grocery bills on junk. Embarrassing, but true. It might even have been higher.
Now, we’re doing better. I cut back for our budget and my health. Mainly for our budget, if I’m being honest.
Four-packs of pudding are almost always on sale for a dollar. That’s a lot cheaper than a couple of bags of candy each week. (And it was rarely just a couple of bags.)
I still indulge sometimes. But now that I know a 25-cent pudding is in the fridge, it’s harder to rationalize a bag of candy or pack of cookies. (Though that didn’t stop me from getting some of Safeway’s evil/amazing jumbo chocolate chunk cookies. At $5 a box, I definitely don’t want to make it a habit. But totally worth it this time.)
And snacks aren’t just cookies, candy, cake, etc. The author pointed out that things like nachos count too.
Personally, I love nachos. Which is why I had to stop buying the ingredients for them. Not only were they terrible for me, but we were having to buy cheese and tortilla chips around twice a week. That’s $10-15 a week just on stupid nachos. Stupid, yummy nachos.
It’s easy to see how snack foods can hurt a budget. What’s not easy to see is exactly how much you’re spending on that stuff. I know I never wanted to face it.
So I’d be interested to know what you guys spend — and what you consider acceptable. Be sure to mention your family size if you choose to leave a comment.
One interesting point, though, is that the author mentioned she doesn’t buy herself a lot of stuff. At least, she didn’t think so until she considered her junk food spending.
I think a lot of us use food to soothe ourselves. And when we hold ourselves to strict spending limits in other areas, junk food can become the quickest, easiest and seemingly-affordable way to feel indulged, nurtured or just taken care of.
Maybe if we took some time to find other ways to be nice to ourselves, to make ourselves feel pampered… Well, it might make a surprising difference in our grocery bills.
If you spend even $30 a month in junk food, you could use that money to get a Groupon for a massage. The massage is probably much better for you than the junk food.
But you could always take a small amount of chocolate with you to the appointment, just to round out the experience.