It's very easy to get caught up in the little things these days. The little purchases you make every now and then. The little cheats we have in our diet. The little trips we take to the grocery store. These are all very common things we do on a daily and weekly basis. But how much do these "little" things really add up. How much are you spending on food every week? Heck, how much TIME are you spending making food or buying food every week?
Its always easy to think of the now as an isolated incident. "Oh I only spent $15 on this burrito" But that is ONE meal. One trip to a restaurant. How much does it actually cost you over the course of a week when you keep making these decisions?
How Much Money Am I Spending On Food?
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the cost of feeding a family of four a healthy diet can run $146 to $289 a week.  We were able to compute an estimated average monthly food bill from a test group that included various family sizes. We calculated that on average, people spend $757.20 a month just on food.
That’s a big chunk of change. That price doesn’t even include the cost of transportation. It also doesn't account for the multiple trips to restuarants, fast food joints and bars. Which, in the past year, Americans have been spending more at bars and restaurants ($54.857 billion) than they are on groceries ($52.503 billion).
The bottom line is that we are incredibly lazy. We would rather grab something quick for dinner every night than hit up the grocery store. We would rather give in to unhealthy meals if they are quick and easy versus taking the time to cook a healthy meal.
Think about how often this scenario happens: its Monday and you've had a long, long day. You get up at 5am, take your children to school, head to work, spend all day running around the office trying to get the week started. You leave work, right in the middle of rush hour traffic and immediately stress about what you're going to have for dinner and what your kids will eat. You contemplate going to the grocery store. But the thought of shopping around just to stand in line then have to cook exhausts you.
So you head to the nearest pizza joint and pick up a pizza for your family. Is it healthy? No. Is it cost effective? Maybe, if you only do it once in a while. Is it fast? For the most part, except for the 30 minutes it takes for the pizza to be made. But take that laziness, multiply it by an average of 3-4 times per week and you have a lot of money and time you are wasting away. Not to mention it pretty much wrecks any type of diet you are trying to pursue. So be honest with yourself about how often you are actually giving into this laziness. Learn how to change it.
What Are You Actually Giving Up In The Process?
Opportunity cost is a big issue here. Not only are you wasting valuable money every single week by eating out or grocery shopping every other day, you are wasting time. Time is the most important asset we have as humans. Money can be spent and recovered. But once you spend your time, you are not going to be getting it back.
The United States Department of Agriculture conducted a study to gather information regarding how much time Americans spend on grocery shopping and the process of meal preparation and clean-up. According to the USDA, people spend an average of 44 minutes a day on grocery shopping (averaging about 1 trip a week) and 62 minutes a day on food/drink preparation and kitchen and food clean-up .
If you grocery shop once a week and cook at home 5 days a week, you’re spending an estimated 6 hours (354 minutes) on this process per week. We spend a massive amount of time around food. But what could we be doing with that time instead?
Think again about all the stress associated with the phrase "What should I get for dinner" after a long day of work and having to pick up the kids from school, or what not. That stress involuntarily leads you to make unhealthy decisions. Instead of cooking a healthy homecooked meal, you opt for fast food.
But what could you be doing with that time? How much does that little bit of saved stress really add up? Would you be able to make that night out with your friends if you didn't have to go grocery shopping after work on fridays? Would you be able to spend an extra hour at work a DAY making money, instead of having to plan around dinner. Would you be able to attend all of your child's sporting events with ease that everything is already taken care of for dinner. Would you be able to go to the gym every day with that extra hour a day?
How much of your life are you actually losing to this lack of planning. How much of your time could be spent doing things you love, or actually hitting your health goals, with less stress involved?
Save Your Time And Money
If you are unhappy with the unhealthy decisions you make on the fly, change them. Do not continue to make these same decisions every single day. They add up, literally. In the time spent wasting your money and letting your goals slip away, you could be chasing after them. You could be saving yourself that weekly shopping trip by ordering healthy, precooked meals. You could be spending that hour a day away from cooking, at the gym or with your family. You could spend that extra money you save on a annual trip to a place you have always wanted to go!
Pay attention to the little things you do on a daily basis but understand that they do add up in a big way. Over time these day to day decisions become you. They shape every aspect of your life. They determine how much money you have in savings. They determine whether or not you will hit your fitness goals. They determine how you end up living your life. So put in the effort now. Become aware of the little things. Because they will change your entire life.
Check out our different meal plans to get your time and money back!
1. Cost of feeding a family of four: $146 to $289 a week
2. How Much Time Do Americans Spend on Food?
3. Americans Cook the Least, Eat the Fastest