Thursday, January 20, 2011

Is It Really Free...

This week at Rite Aid the TGIF chips are free after +Up Rewards. Great deal, right? I'm not so sure it is, at least for me.

I am the type of person that if it is in my house I will eat it. I have no will power. So, those free chips would get devoured by me and my waistline would no doubt grow a bit. I could get them to donate but come on- do hungry families really need chips?

This is a scenario that as a couponer I find myself in a lot. I used to buy up all of the free or super cheap junk food just because it was free or super cheap. At one time we had tons of fruit snacks in my home due to an awesome Shaws Catalina deal. I don't like my son eating fruit snacks because they are in no way healthy for him, not even a smidge but guess what- because they were in the house we ended up letting him eat them. Same thing with Easy Mac cups that I needed to buy to participate in a Kraft rebate awhile ago- I am vehemently against my kids eating Easy Mac or regualar boxes macaroni and cheese (too much added junk and weird ingredients) but my son ended up eating it because I was feeling lazy at lunch time, it was easy to make and it was just there.

We all have lines that we draw in the sand that we will not cross when it comes to what will will buy for our families and I have recently decided to move my line a bit. I am no longer going to buy food just because it is free if it is something that I don't want us to eat and that I don't think a food bank would want- again, I am pretty lazy and if there is an easier option for food in my pantry I will utilize it whether it is healthy or not. Not having super unhealthy stuff in my home at all times forces me to feed my family healthier. I will still buy treats but I will buy them because I want to (or because my husband requests something), not because I am tempted by them being free.

I used to look at feeding my family healthy as a bit of a burden- it was never easy to get the good stuff free or even very cheap. Now I look at it as an investment in my kids' futures- what I feed them now is going to shape their tastes for the rest of their lives. To do right by them I need to spend a bit more. Besides, in twenty years what is going to matter more- that I only spent $50 a week on groceries for a family of four or that my kids have a healthy relationship with food?

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