The big talk in my office right now is the proposed soda tax. In brief, there is a suggestion that for the health benefit of the general population, we should put an additional tax on soda – one cent for every ounce.
At first, I thought “Okay, so what? I don’t drink that much soda. And what’s one cent per ounce?” Then I realized how that would add up. I drink around 5 cans of diet soda a week. I’ve been trying to cut back, but decided that a diet soda was a better indulgence than the ice cream my brain tells me I want. I buy the soda in 12 packs at the store. Suddenly, my 12 pack will be going up almost $1.50! Considering that I like to buy the 12 packs when they’re on sale for $3, that’s a big increase!
But the question is, will this additional tax make me buy less soda? Maybe, but probably not. For people who go through more soda than I do, will they make changes to their lives? Maybe, but probably not.
What I would love to see is a tax on junk food used to reduce the cost of healthy food. Fresh fruits and veggies are expensive! Lower fat meats are expensive! It’s no wonder people avoid the healthy foods and splurge on junk food. It’s cheap and tastes good. Why not do something to cut the costs of healthy food (without sacrificing nutrition, of course).
Of course, just making it cheap isn’t a guarantee that people will eat it. People will likely still choose a candy bar over a fresh peach. I think those people are crazy, but that’s just me. That said, if we’re going to penalize people for making bad choices, why not reward them for good choices at the same time?
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.