When the “What a Deal” Syndrome Doesn’t Pay Off!

Sometimes we’re tempted to forgo purchasing foods that are better for us by putting less healthier foods in our grocery cart simply based on price. It’s the “What a deal!” syndrome. We’re so used to thinking that a bag of potato chips on sale for $2.99 is a great bargain, yet will squawk at paying full-price, say $1.99, for a bag of fresh-cut baby carrots.

We justify our ‘not-in-our-best-interest’ purchasing choices by telling ourselves things like, “Oh, I’ll make sure I portion it out into single-servings when I get home,”or “Hey, it’s for the kids,” or even, “How could I pass it up, they were practically giving it away.” What we doing is coercing ourselves into compromising true value (worth) over price.

Let me tell you, there is a big difference between price and value, especially if the value is so compromised by the “deal” that paying even a few pennies for the purchase is just not worth it.

For example, would you….

…Purchase a cheap cross-country airline ticked knowing that the airline hadn’t updated its computer system for years, had a history of mechanical problems, overwork their pilots and attendants to sheer exhaustion and was being under investigation for various safety violations?

…Put a child in a car safety seat that you picked up for a few dollars at a flea market even though the seat didn’t meet minimum safety requirements, the plastic was beginning to crack and the straps were dry-rotting?

I think the majority of us would answer a resounding, “NO!” to both of the above questions. There is just too much at risk, no matter how little we’d end up paying. At first, it may seem like a great deal but with just a little thought, we’d realize that the compromise (putting price over true worth) makes absolutely no sense at all.

Don’t get me wrong — we should be looking for the best price on the things we value. It would be foolish of us not to. Value comes first, though. I search out where I can get ripe, locally grown vegetables at a good price every week and look through the circulars for  a grocery store that is offering the leanest cuts of fresh meat at a decent price. I also clip coupons and get online deals for the foods I want. But value always comes into play. If I see a coupon for a high-sugar cereal, making the purchase almost a giveaway, I can honestly tell you, no clipping for me. But, even if I don’t have a coupon, I’ll buy a high-fiber, low-sugar healthier box of cereal when I shop that week. I realize that shopping for foods that are healthier, even if they can’t compare price-wise with less nutritious foods, is the best investment in the long-run when it comes to my overall health and weight-management goals. And those are the things that I value for me and my family.

As we’re learning how to eat healthier, we have to convince ourselves that value always trumps price and not visa versa.

There is a cliche: “You only get what you pay for.” When it comes to purchasing nutritious foods, this saying holds particularly true. After all, becoming healthier and feeling great are priceless!