"Grocery Wise and Cable Foolish"

That's a phrase from this NY Times article about stupid things people do in an attempt to save money. I think we're actually both grocery wise and cable wise, especially since we just have the very basic cable package, but it really is difficult to make good money choices. The article brings up the example of grocery shopping, which really will tie your brain in knots if you let it. Take, for example, my recent turkey shopping expedition. We haven't bought meat for a few months and are trying to transition to a mostly vegetarian diet. Ideally we would like to put our money towards buying meat that has been raised in a humane, environmentally friendly way. However, I found out today that my subconscious only responds to monetary concerns, not my ethical ones.

In shopping around I found a few turkey options. Our local groovy co-op grocery store has turkeys for sale that were raised on a farm 100 miles away from here. They've been allowed to range freely, eating a "vegetarian diet" (I actually find that strange because most poultry actually likes to eat some bugs), and have been given no antibiotics. It sounds nice, and costs $2.89 a pound. Then our local grocery store sells your standard, factory-farmed turkey for $1.89 a pound. That's the same price as Trader Joe's turkey, which also specifies that it is antibiotic free and vegetarian-fed. Then I got to Costco today and noticed that they had turkeys for only $.89 a pound. What a deal!

And so I bought a Costco turkey. And yes, it's 20 pounds, so we'll be eating turkey for a few months at least. As I was driving home I realized that I was bamboozled by my love of a good deal. It's not horrible--the meat won't go to waste. But we really could have just eaten a turkey breast from the grocery store for half the price of the giant turkey sitting in my fridge. Plus now I have to feel bad for not living up to my principles, although I also realized that even though I'd like to say that cost doesn't matter to me, it does. Which is why we'll probably just go back to not eating meat since I'm not willing to pay more for the healthy alternative. I'm just glad I read that article to realize that I'm not alone in my money irrationality.

Comments

In education, when we try new managment systems you will often hear people say if you are succeeding with a few more of the kids for a few more minutes each day than you did the day before then you are making real progress. I think most of life is like that.

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