Cheap and Easy in this Economy

 Dana is a 15 year old from Hi-nella, NJ. She loves to write and enjoys reading, singing, and shopping. Her goal is to help others through her writing, and bring attention to important topics.
     

As we go on with our lives and daily hectic schedules, it can feel like finding healthy affordable food for your family seems further out of reach than pigs flying. Because in reality, it sometimes is. Due to the economy these days everybody is taking a pay cut, getting less hours, some even losing there income completely due to lay offs. Everywhere we go the beneficial new craze is eating healthy and going green. We see it everywhere. On TV commercials, radio, even magazines, billboards, etc. While eating healthy and going green improves our waistlines and the planet, it can also be challenging for families who cannot quite afford anything other than cheap pasta and a jar of 99 cent sauce. As for cleaning products, the Eco friendly bottles aren’t exactly a bargain.  
 

Its not that I’m complaining, because while shelling out a little extra cash to help our health and planet is a great investment, this may present challenges for families who cant exactly afford to be luxurious. Now to everyone out there, if you are a parent or child living in a home where your budget cant quite meet the expenses of whole grain gourmet meals, don’t feel like you are “poor”. Because it is not just the people who are labeled with low incomes, all though it affects them more, its everyone. Today $100 dollars simply doesn’t go as far as it used to. Even if you can afford to buy healthy food and products that are good for the environment, buying lower cost items that aren’t great for your health gets you much more for your buck. But that’s the problem, it may get you more for your buck, but the same rule applies for your jean size. It doesn’t stop there though, filling out a little more than you’d like is just the beginning. The long term affects are much worse. A lifetime of living in the moment and shoveling what might as well be poison down your throat, can lead to clogged arteries, an unhealthy colon, etc. You can even develop an unpleasant odor which comes from putting unhealthy toxins into your body. 
 

Sadly though, many kids don’t have a choice. They are too young to get a job and don’t know any better. They look to their parents to make healthy choices for them, and parents simply cant do that when eating healthy is a trade off for paying the electric bill. Most children develop their eating habits at a young age, so it is momentous to eat right as a young child. Me and my family have been blessed with an income that allows us to eat healthy and live a comfortable lifestyle. But I will admit there are times when fruit for $5 a pound, and going to movies will just have to wait until the next paycheck. So do not beat yourself up because you are a parent or teen who frets at looking at price tags. Because in this day and age, in this economy, everyone does.  
 
Now lets be realistic for a moment, say your fridge isn’t even stocked with the basic essentials and you have $20 dollars to make it all work. Are you going to reach for one of the $4 bag of baked vegetable chips with less calories and trans fat, or two bags of the $1 fried potato chips loaded with grease and everything else you can imagine. Say what you want, but if you are on that tight a budget, you will reach for the low cost snack foods that aren’t really healthy at all, but they’ll at least keep your cabinet full, and your electricity on. Try to understand that for a parent on a budget, it feels like the right decision at the time, sometimes its not even a choice. So I really don’t appreciate all the talk from public figures saying it is parents fault that the obesity rate in kids has doubled, when they cant control the economy. I’m also not exactly a fan of when people tell children to put down the video games and shed the pounds, because it is rarely the child’s fault. They shouldn’t be left alone to control it either, or to take the blame for that matter. I know most will read this article and think she’s just a teenager, what does she know? Well, I am not a kid playing loud music and sleeping late as most people stereotype us teens. I am a young woman who knows just as much about this economy and who’s to blame than average people. I’m not dumb, I watch the news and political debates over such topics just like everybody else. So I hope no one uses my age to dismiss the truth behind what I am saying. 
 
Now I want to tell you about some tricks my family and I use to save money, and have fun doing it. Now I know that sounds a bit corny and impossible, but don’t knock the idea down until you’ve tried it! Okay so a year ago it was just me and my mother on a Tuesday night. We just bought a pricey dog and cash was a little tight, and didn’t really feel like messing up the kitchen to make a big meal for just us. So we came up with an ingenious idea, instead of going to the grocery store and buying pricey deli meat for school lunches, and something for dinner, we ordered a large cheese pizza from around the corner. We ate 2 slices each for diner, and wrapped the other pieces up so I could take a piece for lunch for the rest of the week. I had an awesome dinner, and killer lunch for all that week. Now I don’t know about you, but I commend myself for that thrifty idea. See, you sort of feel proud of yourself, like it becomes a game that you never stop playing. Trust me, that game has its benefits. Also, if we are going somewhere in the summer and were taking the whole family and dog with us, turn off the AC until you get back, or at least put it on low. Same in the winter time for the heater. The amount you save on your electric can buy you waist friendly food, and Eco friendly products! It’s like a mouse in a maze trying to find the cheese. There is a way to buy healthy affordable food, you just have to find it.

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2 Responses to “Cheap and Easy in this Economy”

  1. Angela
    August 3, 2010 at 11:03 am #

    Great article! You have a positive attitude! I’m in Canada – and I’d like to share an experience my mom just had in a grocery store.

    She was lined up with a cart full of fresh fruit and veggies. I mean full. She had some goat cheese, organic whole grain bread too. The lady in front of her also had a cart full of hot dogs, white buns, and bags of chips and processed foods.. My mom is very thrifty – and she wanted to compare the cost of feeding a family whole food versus processed. She anticipated her bill to be more.

    SHE WAS WRONG.

    The processed food cart was a few dollars more expensive. The truth is the cheaper processed food has less nutritional value so you’ll want to eat more! Your body gets hungry looking for the right type of calories.

    So – especially in the summertime -look to the fruit and veg. Have a great day!

  2. Fashion
    August 30, 2010 at 6:40 pm #

    Dana,

    That IS a fabulous article, full of excellent ideas.

    Once kids reach college age, the budget also regularly becomes
    very necessary. And during college years, and first time away
    from home life, the eating/food buying habits of childhood years
    can easily become pronounced.

    One other challenge to the parental budget is that of clothing.
    A good place for discount kid’s clothing is http://www.funfashionresort.com

    Fashion

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