Get my 5-day email funnel that generated $400,000 from a single launch

Want an email sales funnel that's already proven to work? Get the entire word-for-word email funnel that generated $400,000 from a single launch and apply it to your own business.

Yes! Send me the funnel now
15 Little Life Hacks

Food and personal finance are similar

37 Comments- Get free updates of new posts here

0

iatp.jpg

For no apparent reason, today appears to be the day where I post a million things about food. I don’t really know why, but I did skip breakfast.

Above is an interesting image about how food prices have changed from 1985-2000. As you can see, “good” food prices increased, while junk food prices went down. It’s no surprise that we see links between obesity and poverty (PDF with nice data).

Anyway, the reason I’m posting about this stuff today is that I’ve noticed how similar food and personal finance are.

Food: We know we should be eating better, but we don’t. We don’t keep track of what we eat and have no idea how many calories we’re actually eating. (We think we do but we’re completely wrong.) Our friends have pet theories about what’s good to eat, but it’s rarely informed by data and it’s mostly minuatie (“you should eat nuts 18 minutes before sleeping!”). We say we’re going to cook at home more, but never find time to. We spend too much on food.

What’s interesting is that I feel completely comfortable managing my personal finances, but the food issue–a close parallel, I think–is really intimidating. Realizing this has really opened my eyes to how hard it is to get started on a goal, whether it’s personal finance or eating better.

0

Related Articles

401k

401(k): The single best way to grow your money

How would you like free money? That's not a trick question. For millions of people, free money is up for ...

Read More
How to cold email VIPs and get a response

How to cold email a VIP (and actually get a response)

I used to be terrible at getting busy VIPs to respond to my emails. Years ago, I kept emailing Seth ...

Read More

37 Comments

0
 

Leave a Reply

37 Comments on "Food and personal finance are similar"

Notify of
avatar

Sort by:   newest | oldest
Eleanor
Eleanor
9 years 7 months ago

Interestingly, there is a clinical link between how people manage their money, and how they treat their food. Eating disorders run in my family, and for the women I know who suffer from them, their finances are disastrous. These issues pretty much go hand-in-hand, in my experience. I’m fairly sure that there have been studies done which show that people relate to money and food with the same part of their brain.

Ramit Sethi
9 years 7 months ago

That’s fascinating. I never thought about that. If anyone has seen research about this, please let me know.

David
David
9 years 7 months ago

I wonder if the price changes are based more on production costs or marketing. As public awareness of nutrition increases, the percieved value of healthy foods increases; are marketers simply taking advantage of this?

Hawk
Hawk
9 years 7 months ago
This is interesting to hear right now. Over the past two years, I’ve gotten my finances turned around completely. It helps that I’m extremely methodical and all I really had to do was work up a budget and then spend several months training myself to stick to it. It was seeing my success with this that inspired me to apply the same principle to my own physical health and nutrition. I don’t believe in dieting, but I was struck with the idea that if I approached diet and exercise the same way I approached my budget, I might see the… Read more »
Jeff O'Hara
9 years 7 months ago

1. The first step to eating better is making defining meals you want to eat for the week that are healthy.

2. Make a grocery list itemizing the items you only need to make those meals.

3. Go to the grocery store and only purchase the items on that list.

4. Go home and prepare the meals ahead of time if possible to reduce the cooking time it takes for those meals.

5. Actually cook and eat the meals you chose in item 1.

6. goto 1. rinse & repeat

Catch a Gideon
9 years 7 months ago

Unfortunetly finance and nutrition goals often counter each other. Vegetables and the like are healthy, but cost dozens of times per calorie as less healthy foods. One of the reasons McDonalds is so prevalent is that it is some of the cheapest food available.

Stephanie
Stephanie
9 years 7 months ago
Great topic. I’ve noticed that the foods that are the best for you are usually the most expensive. I think this point was brought up in the movie “Supersize Me.” Anyway, I shop at ALDI, where I can get a bunch of bananas for 85 cents, a bag of salad for 1.09 and the “fall harvest” (a big bag of oranges, red delicious and granny smith apples) for a little over 2 bucks. Yes, I have to put a quarter into the shopping cart. And deal with the fact that there aren’t shelves. Or bags. But I’ll deal with it… Read more »
spyscribbler
9 years 7 months ago

Healthy food is SO expensive. Even cooking at home is more expensive than eating out these days. We calculated that it would cost $17 to make tacos at home. At tacobell, it would cost us $8 for the same amount of food. How sad is that?

Pasta and rice are so much cheaper than the healthy things: fruits, vegetables, and fish. If I could cut grocery costs without sacrificing my health, I could save so much more money!

Jennifer
Jennifer
9 years 7 months ago
Ramit, Ramit, Ramit . . . This seems a tad misleading. While the price of fruits and veggies may be increasing, pound per pound you will pay cents on the dollar for produce than you will for meat or dairy. At my supermarket, you can expect to pay about $4-8/pound for lunch meat, $2-4/ pound for the cheapest ground beef or turkey, $2-3/pound for boneless chicken breast, $1-3/pound for ground veal, pork or lamb, $4-12/ pound for cheese depending on quality, $2-4/ gallon of milk, $2-7/ quart of yogurt . . . In contrast, I pay less than $0.30 per… Read more »
Jonathan
9 years 7 months ago

Spyscribbler, my girlfriend and I frequently make yummy tacos at home for less than $5 total for the both of us. What special stuff are you putting in your $17 tacos?!

The 3 most important things about eating healthy are fruits, vegetables, water. I just try to make sure to get enough of those three, and then I eat some meat or whatever else I want to eat.

Jim
Jim
9 years 7 months ago

I wonder what role, if any, agriculture subsidies play in this trend…

sfgal
sfgal
9 years 7 months ago

i tried to budget $20 a month but after two weeks i couldn’t keep starving. and i was buying groceries at the ethnic markets and at the end of the day when prices were discounted. it’s possible to do it but you’d be eating a lot of beans, rice and vegetables.

NLG
9 years 7 months ago

I’m unsure about the taco cost results by Spyscribbler too.

Some tortillas cost $2 (enough for 4 people at least), ground beef or tofu $4, spices $.5-$2 depending if you get prepackaged ones, veggies $1 maybe, and cheese $1.

You have to consider how much you are putting into a meal. You may pay $7 for a block of cheddar, but you probably use about $1 in your tacos for 4 people.

NG

mikeymo
9 years 7 months ago

Just in case anyone hasn’t seen “Super Size Me” (and I suggest everyone should), it is now being shown on MSNBC. It’ll be showing again this coming Wednesday at 10:00pm ET…

Greg
Greg
9 years 7 months ago
This is how I do tacos, FWIW, 12 taco shells= about $1, seasoning= 69 cents, lean ground beef $3/lb, Head of lettuce= $1.19 ( and only a small fraction of this is used), 8 oz Kraft cheese $1.67 ( see lettuce), tomato, 33 cents. so for 12 tacos at most $8, assuming you throw away half a block of cheese and head of lettuce ( I don’t but apparently people on the internet don’t know how to use ingredients more than once). The price of taco bell is not the only thing I would consider. For one I dont consider… Read more »
Steven
Steven
9 years 7 months ago
Perhaps there is something that everyone is overlooking. Yes, there is a price difference for healthy versus unhealthy foods, but what can we consider health cost benefits for paying extra? A quick look at Wikipedia:Obesity shows that obesity costs about 78.5 billion dollars, or 9.1 per cent of healthcare costs. Not to mention the personal costs later in life for the treatment of diabetes, cardiovascular issues and the like. I choose to pay extra to eat healthy not only from a self-respect standpoint, but also from a financial perspective. I consider the extra difference I pay for healthier food an… Read more »
Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years 7 months ago
Fast Food Nation made a really good point that the trend you see in the graph above is due more to public policy factors than anything else. In the 1970s there was a huge glut of food being grown by American farmers that even the Soviets couldn’t import simply because there was so much of it. Gigantic agribusiness combines like ConAgra and Iowa Beef were intent on growing more rich and powerful, but they couldn’t do it just by simply growing more food. The only way to expand further was to somehow cram more food into the already overstuffed gullets… Read more »
spyscribbler
9 years 7 months ago

Wow! I need to move to where you live. Gosh, a tomato here is almost two dollars! Not to mention cheese which is $3.49, plus onions (cheap, less than a dollar), taco shells = $3.69, meat =$2.99 (on sale … often $3.99 a lb.), seasoning=$1.19, and taco sauce is $$4.29.

Ack! Maybe it’s just Ohio, but it seems like the cost of groceries has just gone up astronomically in the past year or two.

spyscribbler
9 years 7 months ago

I will give to Greg that we do get to use the tomato and lettuce (lettuce is same price here) the next day for salads. We eat all the cheese and onions and meat, but we do have some salsa leftover for the next taco run. So take away what? $3 from my total.

Murph
Murph
9 years 7 months ago

This is straight up cheap vs. frugal though, sure you can spend next to nothing at Taco Bell but the quality of ‘real’ food is much higher.

This reminds me of dog food. You can buy the cheap stuff but your dog will eat more. You can buy the expensive stuff and the dog will eat less of it.

Ramit Sethi
9 years 7 months ago

How dare you insult Taco Bell

Jeremy
Jeremy
9 years 7 months ago

I am so busy during the day that I make all my meals on Sunday. I put them in tupperware and grab and go before I go to work. By doing this I can also by bulk dry goods (rice, oats, beans) which are a lot cheaper they just take longer to prepare.

Nagel
9 years 7 months ago

I have not had fast-food in well over a year. My wife and I go out to eat maybe 2 times a month. We consciously try to keep our food spending down.

Dave
Dave
9 years 7 months ago

Sounds like it is time for you to subscribe to Men’s Health…

Kiran J. Umapathy
9 years 7 months ago
The idea that cooking for yourself is more expensive than eating out is ridiculous. There are tons of meals that can be made for a couple bucks. Also, there is nothing wrong with pasta and rice. They really aren’t unhealthy foods (try brown or whole wheat once in a while), and if you are gaining weight because of them you just need to get out the door more often. I shop mostly at Trader Joe’s and most everything is priced well below the regular supermarkets as well as being less processed. But the goal really shouldn’t be to be frugal… Read more »
breck
breck
9 years 7 months ago
I think the best way to solve the food problem is to eat less and live a more active lifestyle. I like to look at pictures of my great grandfathers. Fit as can be, they did it without keeping tracking of what they ate or any fancy technology. Looking at these pictures, I realize 2 things: 1) Being fit is definitely in my genes 2) It’s a lot simpler than it seems If you are a consistent person, you should be able to beat it. If you are prone to mood swings or easily influenced by ads, try to control… Read more »
Patrick
9 years 7 months ago

“As you can see, “good” food prices increased, while junk food prices went down. It’s no surprise that we see links between obesity and poverty.”

Really? By that logic, if food prices were the same between

I would suggest that those in poverty are more likely to be those who make poor choices–they haven’t learned to be rich–and those who make poor choices in general will make poor choices when it comes to nutrition. Isn’t this a more likely cause of the link you cite?

John
9 years 7 months ago

looking over these replies, I see a distinct lack of ccounting for the value of time spent on either activity – i.e. the value of the time (and labor) spent acquiring and preparing food vs. the time spent on buying “junk food”.

Some prefer to eschew Jeff’s “simple” 6 step process
for an even simpler 3 step process:

1) Order food

2) Eat food

3) Repeat (as needed)

hypatia
hypatia
9 years 6 months ago
@John You’re crazy… Going to restaurant takes a lot of time: driving, parking, ordering, waiting, eating, waiting for the *&%#ing check… etc. It’s fun when going out with friends, tedious otherwise. @everyone else Now, on to tacos. Leave it to gringos to make tacos expensive. I buy fresh corn tacos in 30-packs and refrigerate them. Cheap, easy lunches all month. I use chicken as filling (ground beef is so school cafeteria). That’s the most expensive part since I usually get tenders instead of cooking it from raw. A little ground cheese (even cheapass mozzarella works), any veggies I have in… Read more »
Lee Walmach
Lee Walmach
9 years 6 months ago

#6, McDonalds USED to be fast and cheap, now it’s slow and expensive :P.

june
june
9 years 6 months ago

On emore solution: Forage and freeze. Bargains galore but watch out for contaminated sites.

Scott
Scott
8 years 4 months ago
I enjoyed this post, and I snicker because I have recently become perhaps more obsessed with my calorie counting than my finances (which I keep well, but not at the detail I’m tracking calories now!). I found a website that allows me to keep a daily diary of calories and exercise The site is motivational about consistency (they give you badges) and has a rich community that has populated the database quite well, making it easy to know the caloric intake. Arguably the reason people probably don’t really know what they’re consuming is that the information isn’t always easily obtained… Read more »
Dave
Dave
8 years 4 months ago
Wow…people complaining about food prices??? why i do agree that it sucks to pay more for healthy foods.. i spend about $300 a MONTH on food. Thats about $10/day. I eat healthy, am in great shape. And (including snacks) I eat about 6 meals a day. (some of which might be as easy as a handful of almonds). Skip all foods with High fructose corn syrup, sugar, beached wheats, trans fats.. etc I eat mostly chicken, veggies, oatmeal, fruits, cottage cheese, almonds, cashews, tuna fish… etc. Almonds are $7.99/lb at the grocery store.. but Amazon has them for $4.50/lb… buy… Read more »
Joe Bassett
Joe Bassett
8 years 1 month ago
If you have a chicken plant near you and you can afford it buy a thousand lbs of chicken and split it up between your family members. Grow a garden already. Now tomatoes are a dollar a piece. No matter how high food gets seeds stay the same price. Processed foods are junk food anyway. If you have a fish plant by a thousand lbs of fish and split between your family members. Grow a big garden that many family members can take care of. Walking in a grocery store and buying processed foods is like bending over and taking… Read more »
Joe Bassett
Joe Bassett
8 years 1 month ago

My mother comes from the old school. She doesn’t feel like she’s eaten well unless she gets out the frying pan or turn the oven on everyday. In the summer eat big salads that you have grown in your garden and you’ll save a ton. IN Europe everyone grows a garden. Those people hardly go to the grocery store. They can’t afford it and we see that we cna’t afford food prices that we have now, either. There is alternatives, grow a garden, it’s fun and cheap. http://www.georgehayduke.com

Joe Bassett
Joe Bassett
8 years 1 month ago
Americans are so fat and stupid. That’s why our airlines can’t make money and they can in Europe. Americans are 50 lbs fatter on average. The airlines should charge fat people more money to fly. The airlines claim if they cut just one lb from their flights they save 13,000 gallons of fuel. So just think how much it cost to fly a plane with 200 Americans weighing 10,000 lbs more than Europeans. The airlines will figure this out. Also, McDonald’s is the worst place to eat in the world. A big gulp soda has 40 teaspoons of sugar. A… Read more »
jana
7 years 7 months ago
you well have a point here. i have some experience on this. i have sarted dieting last year as mentioned elsewhere. in 2007 i was keeping a budget and doing pretty good with my finance. but my calories were out of control. in 2008 i have desided i need to shed weight so i worked on it, but soon after i was just unable to stick to my budget – counting both cals and money was too much at that time, and healthy weight was a priority. at the end of 2008 i did some planning so i hope 2009… Read more »
wpDiscuz