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Voices of MainStreet: April Lee

Choose Your Battles Wisely

Feb. 18, 2011

Yesterday I paid $4.99 for a dozen local eggs and $4 for Simply Orange’s Grapefruit juice . Frozen shrimp was on sale for $11.99 but I found shrimp meat for $5.99 per pound from the seafood counter.

I happened to noticed that there were signs apologizing for the inconvenience caused by a certain lack of fruit. I acknowledged the thoughtfulness, but then I noticed something else, the price: $2.99 for one green bell pepper! I guess “lack of” also means “we jack up the prices.”

Yup, food is definitely more expensive these days.

Knowing what's important to you while shopping is crucial, and being an impulsive buyer just isn't going to help you in this economy.

Buying local and supporting business ethics I believe in are priorities for me, but this hasn't always been the most affordable tact. 

I'll admit that I don’t always buy the local eggs. Sometimes I buy the “evil” guy’s stuff because it’s cheaper.

It's sad, but true that sometimes spending less is simply more important.

The quick advice is to not eat out as much, but if a person is lazy one night or one morning and doesn’t prepare some meals and snacks, then not eating out can be a hard thing to do. It's a frequent problem for me, anyway.

Being healthy, mindful, and aware of your spending habits requires much more responsibility.

When things are “normal” it’s a hard enough balance, but now it’s even tougher.

These are the principles I follow when eating out or shopping that can also help you save:

  • Buy smaller sizes or eat half of whatever you’ve bought.
  • Make an effort to prepare more meals.
  • Choose to walk when you can.
  • Hit pause on the impulse buying. Ask yourself if this is something you can afford to indulge in. If you can, indulge! There is no      reason to deny yourself simple pleasures, but be honest with yourself. If you can’t afford the simple luxury, then don’t push it.
  • Be grateful for what you have now.
  • Forgive the mistakes and the process of learning. It takes time.
  • Strive to be more efficient with your priorities.
  • Indulge every now and then.

Come to think of it, being thrifty looks a lot like being healthy.

There's another thing to remember, too. Invest in your future starting now. Save for your retirement because who knows what’s going to happen. One of the best statements I ever heard was, “If I want something done I just do it myself.” Don’t wait or rely on anyone else to make the change.

My opinions are merely one way of thinking. One could also protest the prices and buy all the cheap stuff, too. But why support higher prices? Maybe the companies and farmers will think, “since you pay $5.99 for a dozen of my eggs, you’ll pay more next year! Ha!”

I did take a stand at the grocery store, though. I didn’t buy any green bell peppers.

So as they say, choose your battles wisely.

—April is a well-traveled young woman planting her roots in sunny Seattle, or well, just Seattle. Her writing covers whatever piques her interest and curiousity. Check out her blog here.

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