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Where is Your Money Spent at the Grocery Store?
Whenever I take clients on grocery store tours, I always talk to them about the following things:
- Fill the majority of your cart with plant-based foods--fruits, veggies, whole grains, beans
- Never go to the grocery store hungry to prevent impulse buying
- Buy food in season and stock up on BOGO’s (Buy one, get one sales) to save money
- Shop according to a list and stick to the list
By following these simple tips you can provide the healthiest foods to your family. Plus, by looking for sales and buying in season, you can reduce your grocery store spending monthly! Regardless of these tips, it appears that many people still tend to gravitate towards filling their carts with high calorie, low nutrient foods.
Recently, a series of charts were published as a part of Planet Money’s Graphing America series on National Public Radio’s website show where Americans are spending their money today compared to 30 years ago. The charts show that 23% of grocery bills are being spent on processed foods and sweets compared to 12% in 1982. The largest expense in 1982 on a grocery list was meat, which in all fairness was more expensive then than it is today. So I get that the grocery expenses and what people buy has to do with price, but this is still a wake up call for Americans on where a lot of money is being spent.
Processed food can indeed be cheaper than wholesome, nutrient dense foods. While there can be a place for convenience, look carefully at the balance of convenience versus fresh foods in your cart. We eat what we buy, so make sure that you have plenty of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and low fat dairy in your cart so that you can fill your body with what is filling your cart.