Voting with Your Dollars

Many of us are currently walking a tight line between lowering our expenses and bettering our health.  On my grocery run today, I spied Hunt’s Ketchup with No High Fructose Corn Syrup.  The sale price and a doubled coupon netted me some ketchup for $1.29.

Not bad, but I know I could get ketchup cheaper.  Lately, though, I’ve decided that cheaper isn’t always better.  I could probably learn to make my own ketchup, but you know what?  I don’t wanna.  At least not now.  I’d rather vote with my dollars, and pay a few cents extra for a brand that is working toward a healthier product.

Our food bill is likely a bit higher since we purchase raw milk ($3.75/gallon), farm fresh eggs ($1.75/dozen), local beef ($2.30something for ALL cuts), and items here and there (like no HFCS ketchup!) instead of locating rock-bottom prices on those things.  That’s okay, though.  I want the trend toward real food to continue and the best way for me to show my support is to vote with my dollars when I can.

What about you?  Are you willing to pay more for certain products?  How do you vote with your dollars?  Oh!  And if you know of other reasonably priced brands with no HFCS, please tell me so I can be on the lookout!

This post is linked to Frugal Friday.


  1. Hey, I just got some yesterday! Now, if only it were organic. I hope it tastes good. Lately we’ve been using the Organic Ketchup from Trader Joes which is really tasty. I’ll have to report back once I pop open our bottle.

    WooHoo! Yay for voting with our dollars.

  2. I am so glad to see this item! We have been searching ketchup bottles for a while for high fructose corn syrup – I haven’t found one yet – maybe it’ll reach Idaho soon! I was just searching for a recipe to make my own too.

    One thing we are having trouble finding without HFCS is cereal. So far I have found that Honey Bunches of Oats, Life, and Shredded Wheat are clear. I was shocked to see Rice Krispies has it though.

  3. Absoflippinlutely!!! If I’m going to spend money, I want it to count. I’m through supporting self serving corporations. I want what’s best for my family. I’ll economize in other places if I have to, but I won’t be wasting my money on food that’s not good for my family.

  4. We definitely do this. Even on a relatively small $50 or so per week to spend on groceries, there are items I pay more for because we know they’re healthier.

    Local, hormone free, non-homogenized milk, hormone/antibiotic free beef, organic chicken, and nitrite/nitrate/hormone/antibiotic-free bacon almost always find their way into my cart at full price…occasionally I’m able to snag these items at a lower price when they’re on sale or manager special, but we choose to make room for them even when they’re not marked down because we’re not willing to sacrifice the health of our family for cheaper food. We see it as an investment. 🙂

    The Kroger in town has a great selection of reasonably priced organic produce and better quality meats which has really been a blessing. We eat so much healthier than we did before we moved to this area, and I really don’t spend much more on groceries even though we’re feeding three now instead of just us two.

    • I wish our Kroger had better organic produce. Need to grow more of my own, I suppose. Would also love to find a good co-op that delivers locally.

  5. So interesting that you posted this! Just today I bought the Simply Heinz Ketchup – also no HFCS – at my Publix store. I paid about 40 cents more than I would have for the regular Heinz, but I felt it was worth the price difference. Guess we both came to the same conclusion! 🙂

    • Funny! I didn’t see the Heinz brand at my store, but wasn’t really looking either. Glad they’re joining the bandwagon!

  6. I’m glad to see a regular brand ketchup without HCFS. I’ve been purchasing the Earth Fare store brand and it’s good and about $2.49, I think.

    The extra prices on real food do make me gulp a little but I’m getting used to it. Our health is worth the extra $$. I pay extra for things that really matter to me and then compromise on the rest.

    Your prices for milk, eggs and beef are terrific! We pay $6 a gallon for raw milk, at least $3.25 for fresh eggs and $3.95 is the lowest price for grass-fed beef and that’s the ground beef, the other cuts are higher.

    Ocean Spray juices have no HFCS and my mom recently told me that the Costco brand (Kirkland Signature) cranberry juice also is HCFS free. I will gladly pay a bit more for Ocean Spray.

  7. I’m so jealous that you have access to raw milk! I would love to try it. Only $1.75 for a dozen farm eggs? That is cheap, we have lots of people selling fresh eggs around here but they all charge about $3 per dozen.

    Thanks for the heads up on the ketchup. I am going to keep my eyes peeled for it in my grocery store.

  8. Kathryn says:

    This is the primary reason I coupon–to subsidize the extra cost of buying good-for-us groceries. Organic/natural food costs more because it’s more expensive to produce, and we’re OK with paying a premium to support that sector of the economy. We just wish we could afford to do it more often!

  9. Umm, your beef is cheaper than what I can get here. A little jealous.

    This is a great discussion. It was really eye-opening to me when I read recently that food SHOULD cost money. In light of what else Americans spend money on – cars, larger-than-what-we-really-need houses, clothing, trendy gadgets, cable tv, etc etc, we probably don’t spend enough on food. Nevertheless, it’s hard to spend the extra dime when you have coupons for something else. I find Trader Joe’s really helpful, and farmer’s markets are great in the summer.

  10. Wow… $3.75 for a gallon of raw milk is incredible! My price is twice that. Just ordered my second locally raised and butchered cow. Currently trying to locate local eggs! So yes, I’d totally go for the no HFCS ketchup. It is a very “fine” line (he he) and it is hard to pass up on cheap or free food at times, but in the long it is worth it!

    • You’re right. A fine line. 😉 I still coupon. Some days it’s simply better to have free/cheap convenience stashed away instead of spending $$$ eating out. But we work hard on eating right as much as possible.

  11. I love the phrase “Voting with your dollars.” I don’t have a lot of money, and I am NOT going to give it away to big companies so I can bring things that are bad for me into my house!

  12. I definitely try to do this when buying our groceries. I didn’t know they had ketchup without the HFCS, so thanks for the heads up!

  13. Log Cabin Pancake Syrup doesn’t have HFCS. I also found a local grocery brand (Dierbergs) that doesn’t have it in the ‘original’ version.

    I used to buy organic milk, but we were going through 2-3 gals/wk (for 3 people!), so that broke the bank. Was very pleased to see recently that Aldi has made agreements with their suppliers for no growth hormones in their milk (and still lowest local milk price).

    I also work to eliminate partially hydrogenated fats. Usually get Smart Balance margarine or (recently) I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. They both also add omega-3s.

    • I haven’t done the research, but my guess is that the no growth hormone thing is even more important than organic. Good for you!

  14. This is a great post, Amy, and something I need to think more about AND put into practice more. I know that, while I certainly try to make healthy decisions for my family, I could always do better. Farm-fresh eggs are $2/dozen here, but I love that I only have to walk down the road to get them. Leave some cash on the front porch and leave with fresh eggs. It’s a beautiful thing to have the honor system in place and working! 🙂

  15. Holy cow! I currently pay $6.35/gallon for raw milk, around $5/lb for bulk grassfed beef, and $4.05/dozen for local pastured eggs. It’s still worth it to me, but I’m jealous! 🙂

  16. I absolutely agree with you. My grocery budget hovers between $400 and $500 a month and I am ok with that because I have a lot of limitations on what I can buy (items without dairy or eggs, no artificial colors and no HFCS). I love that more and more companies are getting away from using HFCS in their products.

  17. I found maple syrup (Log Cabin) that doesn’t have HFCS but I am wondering what other “chemical” they have come up with instead. I know, so pessimistic 🙂 But I agree, sometimes time is just as valuable as money!

  18. i have the trader joe’s ketchup although im still trying to use up my reg. ketchup, i hate throwing food away! i recently paid more for the go-gurt without the hfcs and my son wanted to know why! of course i had a coupon sitting at home for it…but he wanted that instead of candy so ill take it! i try to avoid it, but grandma still buys them stuff so they still get it…

  19. Yes, I vote with my dollars. I guess actually every purchase is a vote in someway or another. If I prefer a more expensive product over a cheaper one I will buy it, (No Kroger Tostito Chips for me) if I am going to eat something and enjoy it then I am going to find a brand I like and buy that. Sometimes it is a generic product and sometimes not. My big band-wagon now is against Wal-Mart where 2/3 of their products come from communist China. Would they be as successful if the products came from Cuba? Sorry, that is a rant for another post. Yes, use your dollars to vote.

  20. $3.75/gallon for raw milk?!? That is the best price I’ve ever heard!!! We pay $26/month for a gallon each week, which works out to be between $5 and $7 per gallon, depending on if it’s a 4 or 5 week month. I’m jealous!

  21. Wow, your grocery prices are amazing! I think I need to move!

    I did make homemade ketchup last summer, at my ds’s request… but honestly, it was NOT cheaper! I think it ended up costing about $9.00 to make 1 1/2 pints. Yikes! And you know what, ds didn’t like it… but my dh did, so at least it wasn’t a total waste!

  22. I recently got a free coupon from All You for this ketchup. We tried it and it tastes exactly the same as the “regular” ketchup (for anyone who is wondering). If you look at label on this ketchup, the second ingredient is sugar. So, yes, it’s 100% natural, but still has a ton of sugar! I do get what you’re saying about voting with your dollars, though. And, I’m trying to pay much more attention to labels and what we’re eating.

  23. I am definitely willing to spend more for higher quality/healthier/local foods. That said, I am lucky to get organic milk under $4.00/gallon, non-homogenized runs me $8/gallon and raw a whopping $11.00/gallon! With a family of seven, that makes me want to ration milk! 🙂 Our local eggs are $3-$5/dozen and the lowest price I’ve found on beef is $3.50/lb.

    I can’t wait until our chickens start laying… and in the next couple of years we hope to be on property again and that means our own beef and meat chickens. Yay!

    I haven’t seen this ketchup yet… but I will be looking for it, we avoid all corn syrup because my kids react to it.

  24. We are able to get our raw milk for $2.5o and our eggs for $1.50. Which I am totally happy with.
    I also wanted to let you know that while I was at Aldi tonight, I just happened to read the label on their pasta sauce and while it does contain sugar. It does not contain HFCS. Which I found rather surprising for an off brand product.

    • Excellent prices! And thanks for the pasta sauce info. I don’t get to Aldi very often, but I’ll be looking for it.

  25. Your beef price is really cheap. That nasty ground beef in a tube with 20%+ fat is sometimes not even that cheap at my store. I can’t remember the last time I paid less than $3 a dozen for eggs. We definitely pay more for a lot of things that I think really matter and some other things I cut costs on (like my husband’s disgusting coffee creamer–it’s practically candy so I buy the cheapest one in a flavor he likes). As long as bread is made with 100% whole wheat I don’t care what brand it is (also no HFCS), but no way will I feed my toddler non-organic milk. For most dairy products I stick with the full fat version (hubby and I use 1% milk) because the low fat has HFCS and other gross additives. Since a lot of the stuff we are trying to avoid (like hormones) linger in the fat I make sure to get an organic brand at a premium price. I buy organic produce except when I need something that my store doesn’t carry in an organic variety.

  26. Ketchup is definitely one I buy for more so I can get it w/o the HFCS. Whenever I have to buy bread, I pay more there too. I also buy real maple syrup (YIKES on the price).

    It seems as if stores are listening. I keep buying what I can w/o that horrible stuff. I hope our dollars really do add up in the end!

  27. Here! Here Sister! I hear ya! I take voting with my dollars very seriously. It truely can make a difference. I might not save oodles on every grocery bill with coupons, etc., but every penny I spend counts for my vote for American-made, or hand-made, or locally owned, or organic!

  28. Another quick comment on this… I went to Aldi this month for the 1st time thinking “oh! I’ll save so much money here!”. Then, as I began to walk around and see all the store I began to think “what am I supporting by spending my money here? Money to China or some other nation that doesn’s pay or treat their employees well? Nonsustainable foods?” I walked out and didn’t buy a thing nor will I be going back.

  29. I agree 100%!! My grocery bill seems to be going higher and higher as I change to more whole foods, organic, and chemical/hormone free. Costco is great for a lot of that – organic ground beef for $4.33/lb, nitrate free hot dogs and bacon. I try and buy organic produce as much as I can. I prefer things like honey (especially local) and maple syrup (so expensive!!). I’m also trying to make more of our snacky foods – like granola bars, protein bars, etc instead of buying the prepackaged, full of junk kind.

    I need to find local cage free eggs. I’m currently buying Eggsland’s best. Milk is one area I have not gone organic yet – just can’t afford to spend that much when we go through 4 gallons/week. But on the flip side, when I think about how much we drink, it makes me want to get organic or local milk. Hmmm, need to look around for that.

    Love this post as I feel passionately about this! Thanks for sharing!!

  30. Great post! We try to vote with our dollars too. We try to buy as much organic, minimally processed foods as our budget will allow. I will pay a little extra for a healthier item. I’m also planning to vote by focusing more on locally grown. I’ve already located a couple of Pick Your Own berry farms, we frequent the local seafood market and I’ll be a regular at the Farmer’s Market this summer.

  31. Yes, Amy- us, too! Though I do make my own ketchup, but I start with tomato paste which makes it super easy and thick and I can decide the type and amount of sugar. I know you’re not ready ;-), but here’s the link if you’re curious:
    Your milk prices are INCREDIBLE- it’s about three time that for us here, so I stick with eggs, finding local meat and uncured meats. I’ve definitely gotten away from using coupons on much besides home/health and an occasional one here and there.

  32. I buy organic food for our chickens (which costs twice as much as non-organic). But I feel better about the eggs they lay. What I’d really like to do is get a chest freezer and buy a portion of a locally raised and butchered cow. Perhaps this is our year …

  33. We buy as much hormone-free animal products as we can. We live in a small town, but we are still able to find hormone-free milk, yogurt, eggs, chicken, and recently beef. I think if we did some digging and networking with local farmers, we could find pork and turkey as well. We just haven’t found the time. Same with cheese. We would like to switch into organic produce, but that will be a longer transition, depending on finances. But the hormones was a first priority. I am a biologist and I can vouch for the fact that the research into growth hormones and the effects on endocrinology, is very, very scary. So that was our starting point. And while I normally think ‘live and let live’ about others’ diets, I would strongly urge anyone I meet to limit animal products with hormones, as much as possible.

  34. I was in my local Dollar Tree store the day I read this post and I found this ketchup there for $1. It was the 24 oz bottle! I thought that was a steal. Didn’t have a coupon, but got it for $1! Just thought I’d give a heads up!


  1. […] 9. I will vote with my dollars I will let producers know that healthier food is important to me.  I will buy local, organic food when I can. […]

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