So, for the past, oh, month or so, I've really been pondering what is the best way to be a "good steward" of what we've been given. For most of my married life, I assumed that I should look for the less expensive options -- ie, buy generic when possible, strive to be thrifty, not splurge (too often! *grin*), etc.
With the latest outbreak of contaminated food coming out of China, however, I finally had to rethink my way of doing things. Going for the "cheaper" option (especially in regards to food) meant that I was buying something out of China... and I didn't feel comfortable doing that anymore.
I had been leaning this way for awhile, but this was the final push I needed.
I started going to the grocery store to really see where everything I bought was grown or packaged... and it was astonishing to me. I warned my husband that our grocery bill would probably be going even higher, but I didn't feel comfortable possibly jeopardizing our health for the sake of saving a bit of money here and there.
What has been the most shocking to me, however, is that our grocery bill has either stayed the same or, in some cases, actually gone down a bit. I am buying more locally grown food, opting for meat that comes from farms a bit closer to home, and making sure that most of what I buy is grown here in the United States. I am making more things from scratch (something that I enjoy doing anyway!), choosing healthier options (we still have chips and crackers here, so let's not paint too rosy a picture!), and sometimes just bypassing the item altogether. I'd have to say that my opinion is that choosing the healthier solution for my family is better stewardship than simply going for "least expensive." Some things I had already settled on years ago... for example, if we're going to have pancakes, I'm going to buy real maple syrup rather than the high fructose corn syrup stuff that most of us grew up on. If my kids are just craving lemonade on a hot day, sugar, water and lemons is a much better solution than pre-mixed stuff that has a whole host of other ingredients in there... and so on and so on.
This whole notion of "cheaper isn't always better" has spilled over into other areas as well.
One of my favorite "decorating" places is Hobby Lobby -- it's cheap, it's full of fun stuff, and it's easy to find little things to decorate my house with. However,... you guessed it... EVERYTHING in that store seems to be made in China. I find it more than a tad bit unsettling that Nativity sets, Christmas ornaments, and every sort of "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" knickknack are being mass produced in a country that persecutes Christians!
Is there really no other option out there? Will my small stance make any sort of difference in the retail world? And am I being a good steward by opting out of the "cheap stuff" and buying higher quality items (when needed) or am I just being wasteful?
Anyone else plagued by this, or is it just me?