Peanut Butter Economy

I recently made a batch of cookies that called for one cup of peanut butter in the ingredients list. Now, many frugal blogs always preach about buying store brands or home brands and saving a few dollars and cents on every item here and there (thereby translating into significant savings over long periods of time). With no disrespect to my fellow writers or their strategies, some things must be questioned. What is the true impact of  store brands? Does this have consequences that perhaps we haven’t considered before and more importantly is it really all about the dollars and cents?

As the peanut butter in question was going to be used in a recipe rather than spread on bread or celery, I figured it mattered less as to which particular brand of crunchy peanut butter I purchased. Thinking of many frugal and minimalist living blogs that I read I immediately therefore reached for the store’s own brand which was priced at $2.45 (and was larger in volume than the branded products). But then I started to wonder how such a large volume of peanut butter could be produced so cheaply. I turned over the jar and to my horror found that the product was made in China. I wasn’t happy about this at all, aside from recent health issues with Chinese products (albeit namely frozen fruits and vegetables) as these products have made many people sick and I decided I’d rather purchase Australian made and support local jobs.

I turned to a jar of Bega crunchy peanut butter which was on sale of $4.50 (save $1) but also came in a glass jar AND a metal lid – that’s right no single use plastics!!!! The environmentalist in me started jumping for joy. A friend of my mother actually makes her own preserves and pickles and is always asking everyone for spare jars as this is what she gifts at Christmas time (her chili jam is my absolute favorite – but I digress). The fact that my jar of peanut butter could have a second life beyond containing nuts gave me a warm glow.

The label of the Bega jar also identified that this was an Australian product and made in Australia. These environmental and local factors really got me thinking about the recycling economy as well as job creation locally and keeping profits in the country. It’s amazing how small savings over time equate to significant amounts of money saved. Well, this is what I like to call ‘The Peanut Butter Economy’. What impact does it have on the environment if I continue to purchase peanut butter in single use plastic? What impact does my purchase have long term on jobs staying in Australia? I am fully aware that many people can’t do this for financial reasons, however in most cases I am happy to and have the ability to pay a little bit extra for something that is not only produced locally and keeps my fellow Australians employed, but also for something that is far more environmentally conscious.

As a result, I do not believe the cost difference between the two jars of peanut butter is a mere $2.05, but that the cost is far more widespread and extensive when I think about the greater impact of my actions. Perhaps the difference in someone being employed really is the difference between me buying Australian peanut butter vs. Chinese peanut butter. Maybe this is one less piece of plastic that won’t have to be recycled, or won’t end up in landfill or heaven forbid our precious waterways.

The cost of our actions extend far beyond the mere monetary value of products. Maybe $2.05 every time you shop makes the difference between keeping our fellow Aussies employed and sending jobs offshore. My Peanut Butter Economy represents so much more than just a single jar of peanut butter. It’s a choice. How far reaching are the consequences of our actions?

What’s your Peanut Butter Economy?