Author Topic: Makes $16k/year and shops at Whole Foods  (Read 7410 times)

noob515

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Makes $16k/year and shops at Whole Foods
« on: February 08, 2013, 12:19:43 PM »
http://finance.yahoo.com/news/higher-payroll-tax-pinches-those-174834511.html

Just read the last 2 paragraphs - that woman is complaining that because of the higher payroll tax, she can no longer afford to do grocery shopping at Whole Foods.  She only make $16,000/year, why is she shopping at Whole Foods in the first place?  As MMM has said, Whole Foods = Whole Wallet.

Last I checked, Walmart still sells meat, fruit, vegetables, etc.  So i'm not sure how she feels that food shopping there is less healthy.

Self-employed-swami

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Re: Makes $16k/year and shops at Whole Foods
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2013, 12:29:40 PM »
Even my local, Canadian Walmart sells vegetables and fruits.  I wonder what she was buying, that she can't find at Walmart?  My bet is fancy, organic convenience foods.

Daley

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Re: Makes $16k/year and shops at Whole Foods
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2013, 01:45:53 PM »
As a person who lives by the mantra of "food is my medicine" I can tell you that there is a difference between the quality of raw ingredients one gets from a Wally World versus local, organic, fresh sourced ingredients. When one's health is delicate, one can tell the quality of the ingredients one eats.

That said, I disagree that Whole Paycheck has to take your whole paycheck... we get a few items from there on a regular basis, and our food budget averages about $220-300 a month for two folks who eat seriously gluten free, (mostly) organic and as kosher as a couple gentiles can get in a community where there's only one grocer chain that has a Jewish foods section, and that consists of Kedem grape juice, matzah and canned lox.

It's not about where you shop, but how you shop.

CptPoo

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Re: Makes $16k/year and shops at Whole Foods
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2013, 02:45:10 PM »
I have found that as I save more money on my food by shopping more wisely I have cancelled out those savings by purchasing other food goods of higher quality. For instance, I started purchasing most of my produce and meats from the farmers market and a local, small grocery store, but I have also started purchasing things like organic rice and beans over non-organic. In addition, I have switched to all natural cleaning and body care products that cost anywhere between 2-5 times the cost of chemical based alternatives. On top of that, I have started purchasing more herbal and natural remedies which can sometimes be expensive. For example, I recently started purchasing aloe vera juice to combat the stomach aches I have been getting from my developing gluten intolerance.

The quality of ingredients I put on and in my body is incredibly important to me, and the stuff they sell at Wal-mart, for the most part, is crap. Luckily I live in an area with a very low cost of living and produce from the farmers market is actually less expensive than the big-box retailers for the most part. Plus, I can actually speak with the people that grew my food and learn about the quality of what I am buying. If this person doesn't have access to a place like the farmers market that I have, I could see getting quality food to be problematic on her salary. My wife and I only make about $4,000 a year more than her and we can do it with relative ease. But like I said, not every place has access to the quality that we do for such a low price.

I watched a documentary a while ago that talked about the lousy nature of modern commercial farming, and the thing that impacted me the most was towards the end where a small farmer send something to the extent of this: We live in the wealthiest nation in the world so we should have the best food in the world. Good food costs good money.

In my opinion more people should be buying higher quality food from places like whole foods and anywhere that doesn't have the terrible quality of places like Wal-mart.

Sylly

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Re: Makes $16k/year and shops at Whole Foods
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2013, 03:37:15 PM »
Quote
Its a lot more expensive to eat healthier. But now Im actually looking at the price tag on things rather than grabbing them.

This statement implies that looking at price tags is something she just started doing. I don't think that she should always opt for the cheaper option, but grocery shopping without looking at price tags is crazy, considering how big of a discount you can score if you'd just align your meal planning and shopping with the sales, instead of picking up whatever you feel like eating.

I think her problem is perfectly summed up here:
It's not about where you shop, but how you shop.

cats

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Re: Makes $16k/year and shops at Whole Foods
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2013, 05:42:57 PM »
It is possible to shop on a budget at Whole Foods, you just have to be careful about it (like you do at any grocery store!).  For example, it's possible to get bulk spices/herbs in small quantities at WF, making flavorful cooking very cheap.  The bulk section is also usually not bad for things like specialty flours or other items that you can't buy in a 50-lb bag at costco.  Some of their 365 brand items are also pretty competitively priced for what they are (i.e., if eating organic is important to you, they are affordable...if you don't care about organic and would rather just get cheap calories, not so much). 

As far as produce goes, I find that my WF honestly does not have that much that is organic or local, so I prefer to shop at the local farmer's market as I can afford it and otherwise pick up produce at the great (and super cheap) asian market nearby.

On the few occasions I have been to the grocery section at a Walmart, I have not been super impressed.  But, I also find the idea that shopping at Whole Foods is inherently "healthier" to be somewhat laughable.  They sell plenty of bad-for-you junk there too!

grantmeaname

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Re: Makes $16k/year and shops at Whole Foods
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2013, 06:29:24 PM »
As a person who lives by the mantra of "food is my medicine" I can tell you that there is a difference between the quality of raw ingredients one gets from a Wally World versus local, organic, fresh sourced ingredients. When one's health is delicate, one can tell the quality of the ingredients one eats.
Sure, but local, organic, fresh sourced ingredients and Whole Foods are not the same thing. Especially if you go there for Amy's Organic frozen chicken nuggets.

Daley

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Re: Makes $16k/year and shops at Whole Foods
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2013, 11:51:11 AM »
Sure, but local, organic, fresh sourced ingredients and Whole Foods are not the same thing. Especially if you go there for Amy's Organic frozen chicken nuggets.

True, but they aren't mutually exclusive things, either. Also, processed food is processed food for the most part... you're wasting your money buying Amy's organic frozen chicken nuggets just as much as you would be buying Tyson's spongy pre-formed and deep fried chicken protein chunks from Walmart. It's just varying degrees of evil from a financial and quality standpoint.

grantmeaname

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Re: Makes $16k/year and shops at Whole Foods
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2013, 12:47:40 PM »
The woman in the article says The food that has a lot of fat and food coloring is cheaper, so I doubt she's eating baby spinach and quinoa unless they're in a $9 TV dinner with Amish chicken -- even 'For Maximum Value' spinach, which is practically pond scum, lacks fat and food coloring. Eating whole foods (actual vegetables) is a big step in improving your diet, and then eating organic/local/heirloom foods is a step further. I'm not knocking Whole Foods-- it's just to me, eating "foods that are whole" and eating "foods that are green/slow" are two different dimensions. That's how GMO+pesticide potatoes and Ms. Price's eco frozen pizzas can both exist. Obviously, going for both and eating real foods that are sustainably grown is the best, but if you can choose only one, pick the one that minimizes your Sodium benzoate consumption.

AtlantaBob

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Re: Makes $16k/year and shops at Whole Foods
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2013, 07:50:22 PM »
This article just made me want to say the following:

With a very few exceptions (most of which are on this board), if you're making $16K a year, you have, in Dave Ramsey's terms, a cash-flow (a.k.a., shovel) problem. Now, there are some folks on this board who, through a history of hard work, frugality, and savings, can live (maybe even comfortably) on $16K per year. The chances of that happening for someone in a Yahoo News Story, though, is slim-to-none.

For the vast majority of people, that type of wage is not going to allow them to do anything to meet their own "basic" needs (which probably include things like a cell phone, etc., and don't include things like an emergency fund, or retirement savings). At that level, it's probably best to say "how can I improve my earnings?" and "how can I cut my major expenses (e.g., cell phone, reducing car commute?)" rather than focusing on advanced topics (e.g., can I save $5/year by reusing toothpicks?).

That's not to say that looking at small amounts is not valuable -- I think that that type of examination is valuable, even though I used a sort of silly example above. However, it seems pretty clear that we all have a limited amount of willpower, and we should probably focus on areas that are more important to us, and let areas that are less important absorb some of the slack. I know this is particularly applicable to me!

So... I realize I don't have a monopoly on perspectives - comments welcome? That being said, I admit my first question was "how in the world does she shop at WP on that salary?" and my second question was "how in the world does she shop there and not pay attention to the prices!?!?"

grantmeaname

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Re: Makes $16k/year and shops at Whole Foods
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2013, 07:55:46 PM »
I mostly agree. I don't know if you'd classify food spending as toothpicks or A Very Big Deal, but I'd definitely put it in the latter category. It may be small purchases, but even without eating out I find that it's my second biggest expense.

AtlantaBob

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Re: Makes $16k/year and shops at Whole Foods
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2013, 08:14:23 PM »
I mostly agree. I don't know if you'd classify food spending as toothpicks or A Very Big Deal, but I'd definitely put it in the latter category. It may be small purchases, but even without eating out I find that it's my second biggest expense.

Agreed -- sorry for my lack of clarity. It's been a long day. Food is definitely my second largest expense here, too! Small expenses, over time--such as a single month--grow to enormous amounts.... particularly when you're talking about WP!

Kenoryn

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Re: Makes $16k/year and shops at Whole Foods
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2013, 10:08:13 AM »
As a person who lives by the mantra of "food is my medicine" I can tell you that there is a difference between the quality of raw ingredients one gets from a Wally World versus local, organic, fresh sourced ingredients.
...

It's not about where you shop, but how you shop.

Agreed. Further, I'm not interested in supporting the incredibly destructive practices of Big Ag and corporations like Monsanto producing conventional food for Wal-mart, nor am I interested in supporting Wal-mart's global exploitation practices. The cost of conventional food from Wal-mart is incredibly high; it's just not paid by you at the cash register. I grow my own when I can, and buy from local health food stores, the farmer's market, and organic from the regular grocery store when I can't. I don't know this Whole Foods store but I can agree that it's worth paying a higher sticker price to make good choices for your health and for the sustainability of agriculture in North America.

Of course, it's cheapest to grow your own anyway, so healthy doesn't have to mean expensive!

CptPoo

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Re: Makes $16k/year and shops at Whole Foods
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2013, 02:17:12 PM »
For anyone that is interested, Whole foods is a fantastic place to dumpster dive. I found about 30 loaves of double wrapped bread once that was perfect for freezing. Just because you can't afford it doesn't mean you can't get it for free.