Paycheck to Paycheck...hard on the wallet and the waistline

Friday, April 24, 2009

Ever wonder why when a lower income family is shown on TV, there are sometimes cases where the family is overweight. It could be because they don't know any better, it could be a medical reason, it could be because they are addicted to all those fattening foods. Or it could be because they can't afford to eat healthier. Now, I know that doesn't mean it's not an excuse, but it is a factor. Living paycheck to paycheck myself I see this. In our house there are 2 people, and only 1 income. The economy here in Michigan isn't doing that well and if you follow the news, it doesn't look to be getting any better anytime soon with the car plant layoffs that are happening. So finding a job is difficult. People here are living off either unemployment, a pension, savings and getting help from WIC as well. When you don't have much money you don't have much money to spend and food is expensive. Thankfully there are only 2 of us so we can eat better and healthier, but not all can. I have a very good friend who has 2 children. In the last year and a half, she went from being a stay at home mom of a 2 parent household to a single parent trying to find a job, raise 2 children, and some how find money to pay the bills. Now people say what about help from the government? Good point... HOWEVER she was not able to receive that help. Why, you ask; because the "income" she had was over the allowed amount to receive. This is because she had asked for child support and the court awarded it to her. The thing about that is... when you aren’t being paid the money you were supposed to be given; you get nothing, so you still have nothing. So while on paper it says you SHOULD have this much, in reality it's nothing close to it. The same thing happened to another close friend as well. My point is how does one eat healthy all the time with little money. Has anyone ever stepped into a discount grocery store? No, I'm not talking Wal-Mart or Meijer, but a step below those. Not all of them have the best quality fruits and veggies, thankfully some do. Most don't carry an organic line of products. Even if you do shop at the big chain stores, if you are on a strict budget, are you going to buy the $2.50 bag of cereal or are you going to by the $5.00 bag of organic cereal that has 3oz less in the bag then the cheaper one? You're going to buy the $2.50 bag because it's less expensive and will feed you and possibly your children longer. So what do people buy, the things that they can afford; the cheaper the product in quality, in many cases the cheaper the price. I don't believe people; especially people with children should have to eat like that. In my house we have to make $130-$160 worth of food last for 2 possibly 4 weeks depending on the other household bills. Some of the veggies and fruit are the first to get eaten, as they tend to go bad quicker then other items. I refuse to by canned fruits and veggies when fresh are better. Meat can be frozen, and I do by some frozen veggies when fresh are out of season. Now if I had the extra cash I would be buying organic and healthier un-processed foods. I would buy organic cereal, yogurt, cheese, breads (I buy HFC free whole wheat, so at least that's good) and other items, but I can't afford to. So I buy the healthiest I can, from what's out there and hope that is good enough. I hope that some day soon the price of organic products do come down to a price where it wouldn't be out of the spectrum of reason for everyone to be able to buy healthier and better items.
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    As someone who is on her own, I can attest to the fact that it is really hard to eat healthy sometimes. There have been a few times when I had to buy Ramen Noodles, and make PB&J's just to get through to payday. It's tough and I find it so amazing the food that is over processed is much less expensive than the healthy foods. No wonder our nation is so overweight - much of our nation lives just below the poverty line.
    3130 days ago
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