How “Grocery Store Thinking” Costs You Money (And What To Do About It)

How “Grocery Store Thinking” Costs You Money (And What To Do About It)

Have you ever thought any of the following things?

“I can get pretty much any kind of food I want whenever I need it.”
“I’ll just wait to see what’s on sale before I decide what to make for dinner.”
“Keeping my monthly grocery bill low is more important than getting food locally.”
“A weekly grocery run is necessary to keep my family fed.”
“Out of milk? I can just make a quick trip down the street.”

Recognize any of those?

These are all pretty innocuous on the surface, but I’m bringing them up now because they reveal a deep shift in modern culture: the shift to the grocery store mindset.

Three hundred years ago, it was impossible for the vast number of people to simply run out and get milk at the last minute. If you needed milk, you planned to get milk. And if your plans went awry, a visit to the neighbor with an apology and a cup in hand was necessary. If there was no generous neighbor, you went without.

Also, if you wanted fresh spinach two hundred years ago, you would be largely out of luck unless your craving happened to fall in July. Such fresh things arrived in season, and when they were gone, they were gone — only available in whatever form you could preserve them. Certainly, they would not be fresh.

But we have come to expect such things, and, yes, in many ways it’s a lovely blessing. In the dead of an Ohio February, I am among the first to laud the joys of a beautiful, ripe orange bursting with juice.

It comes with a cost, though. The grocery store phenomenon changed all of our expectations and we’ve formed new social structures around them: the grocery run is a normal, acceptable part of taking care of our families.

Planning is unnecessary, because food has become so convenient. Very few people know where their food actually comes from. As long it’s pretty and unspoiled in the plastic carry home bag, we don’t care who grew it.

The problem with this: grocery stores are not interested in the health of your family. Grocery stores are about making a profit. They are not designed to nurture you — they are designed to make you buy as much as possible.

There’s nothing wrong with grocery stores; they provide a vital service to the modern world.
However, if you walk into one with the “grocery store mindset,” you’re going to lose. They will sucker you into buying things you don’t need, they will tempt you with sales, they will put fake, modified food out with pretty “Heart Healthy” labels.

Think about it: How many times have you walked out of a grocery store with many, many more items than were on your list? Well…that grocery store did its job. All while tricking you into thinking that you “saved.”

The grocery store mindset will wreak havoc on your sanity and budget. So let’s take a look at the alternative…

Click here to read the second part of this series!