Oct 232011

There are a lot of things that people consider to be things they “NEED” in their life, even though they will admit that they fall under the label of “luxuries” in a budget.

If you’re trimming down, most people know that they could / should / will be advised to give up or cut back on:

  • Cable TV
  • Expensive cell phone plan
  • Starbucks (or comparable food / drink “habit”)
  • Smoking (ick!)
  • Owning too many vehicles / too new, costly, or gas-guzzling vehicle(s)
  • Eating out – both fast-food, and also “nice” sit down
  • Entertainment – going to the movies, concerts, casinos, sporting events, etc.
  • Shopping issues: shopping for shopping’s sake, too much trendy clothing, expensive jewelry, etc.

But most of the people I know aren’t really those type of people.

We’ve all taken steps to be good stewards, and try to avoid frivolous wastes of money.

So many people are still struggling, though. The economy is bad, jobs are hard to come by, and choosing to live on one income can be really hard.

I wonder how many people have thought a step further about ways to live on less.

Cutting coupons is a popular way people think they can cut their grocery bill… But I’ve begun to wonder about it on several levels.

Coupons are primarily focused on processed foods. There are lots of coupons for frozen meals, canned meals, sugar cereal, all those “snack foods”, sodas and other packaged drinks, and so on.

This is not the most healthy food you can eat. Most of the food items are not things that I feed my family – they contain excessive salt, preservatives, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, and furthermore suffer greatly from a lack of true food value.

But aside from that… That stuff is expensive!!

I know that hard-core couponers can often pick things up free, or very cheaply, when a good deal comes around.

Other times, though? If that’s the foods you buy, and that’s what your family eats, then that’s going to be what you’re buying all the time. Getting you “hooked” on their product is, of course, why manufacturers offer the coupons in the first place.

And most people don’t coupon to the “extreme” level – they just use the coupons they have, when they have them, and otherwise buy what they want.

When I look in the cupboard of someone who says she’s behind on her bills and can’t make ends meet, it saddens me to see commercial “toddler puff snacks,” fruit chewy big-kid snacks, fruit punch drink pouches, and individual plastic-wrapped cake-like desserts.

Think about it:

Is processed food a hidden “luxury item” in your budget?

Just one more advantage of a simple, frugal, “slow food” lifestyle.

You’d think God knew what He was doing when He invented the stuff, or something!

  One Response to “What's the Hidden Luxury in Your Budget?”

  1. I coupon, but try to avoid the processed junk most of the time. Fortunately, I occasionally find great deals on produce, dairy, meat, organic foods, etc. This week I was so excited to see free produce. This almost never happens, but I got 3 bags of broccoli florets and 3 bags of spinach for free. Couponing certainly takes time and can cause a cupboard of junk, but if you’re careful, you can get free toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, cheap shampoo, soaps, cleansers, etc. Couponing also taught me to buy things on sale (a few of them if possible) so I almost never pay full price for anything. I watch for sales on grains, produce, meat, etc and save so much money.

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