I spend so much money on food. Other than my rent, it’s the biggest chunk of my monthly budget. If I lived somewhere with cheaper rents (rather than in pricey San Francisco), I might actually spend more money on food than on rent. It’s something I’m constantly battling with. So, I’ve decided to get real with myself and examine why I spend so much money on food.
Expensive Food Aligns with My Core Values
In certain ways, I’m okay with the fact that I spend so much money on food. That’s because some of the costs are associated with choices that align with my deeper values around food.
For example, I care a lot about how animals are treated in this world. I don’t personally purchase meat. But I do purchase items like eggs. I always look for free-range (not just cage-free) eggs. These cost more but to me it’s a no-brainer. I either pay more or I don’t buy eggs.
I also prefer to shop local. Sometimes this is affordable. For example, certain farmers’ markets have great prices. However, sometimes I pay more because I shop at a small local store instead of a chain supermarket. I’m aware that I spend so much in food in large part because it makes me feel better about food shopping.
I Don’t Enjoy Cooking
Here’s the truth: I don’t really like making food. I don’t enjoy cooking. I don’t even enjoy food prep most of the time. If I can afford to pay more for a pre-washed salad mix, rather than having to wash and cut the lettuce myself, then chances are I’m going to pay more.
I’ve been trying to have some balance with this. I get fresh farm food delivery every week. Therefore, I do cut up that produce. I cook simple things. However, I frequently buy prepared meals, including ready-to-go food at the grocery store. I also order takeout quite frequently. I can’t cook food that I like as much as restaurants can.
I pay a premium for that. I also pay the delivery fees for services such as Postmates. I’m aware that this is one of the biggest reasons that I spend so much on food. It’s an area I could work on more.
I Waste Food
I’m ashamed of this one. Wasting food is terrible for the environment. I don’t want to waste food. I’ve gotten better with it over time, although I slip up often. Nevertheless, it remains one of the reasons that I spend so much on food. I can have perfectly good food in my refrigerator, ready to eat, and I’ll buy something else instead.
Some of this is tied up with the deepest reason that I spend so much on food:
I Don’t Have a Healthy Relationship with Food
This is what it all really boils down to. I am a modern American woman who has struggled for years with mixed messages about food. What should I eat? What’s good for my body? What diets are right for me, my community, the earth?
While I believe in intuitive eating, I’m terrible at it. I follow a trend or diet for awhile, feeling virtuous, and then I gain new information and decide it’s not the right way to eat after all. I end up splurging on food that fits my new diet-mind. As a result, I waste money and food.
Ultimately, getting right in my mind about food will help me stay on course with my grocery spending. Sometimes we have to do the deep work before we can see the practical rewards.
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