For us, this decision is easy: spend the money on food that is healthy, local, and organic now rather than exorbitant doctor's bills later on. The connections between poor diet and chronic illness are too clear to ignore, and we are making the choice for a healthier lifestyle that will be less expensive when seen over the course of our lives. We have made the choice to say "no" to processed foods and dollar menu specials, and "yes" to healthy, nutritious foods purchased at the local co-op, our CSA, and locally raised meats.
A lot of people struggle to make ends meet, and many of them (including us) have ended up on government assistance. As a result, it's very easy to spend your assistance monies on foods which will ultimately harm you. It takes discipline and wisdom to use WIC and SNAP to your health advantage. The biggest weapon in our arsenal has been the sinking fund: setting aside money a little bit at a time to make these large-sum payments for better foods.
- We joined our local co-op, at which Emily volunteers each week to receive a 22% discount.
- We set aside money to pay for a winter CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) for 9 weeks of fresh vegetables plus two root/preserve pick-ups in January and February.
- We have put aside money for either a side of pork or a quarter of beef from one of two farms down the road
- We set aside very little money for "eating out" each month, and when we do it's usually local, small, and inexpensive.
For us the choice was easy: pay for a healthier lifestyle rather than pay the piper later on.