Would You Rather Be Younger, Thinner, Richer, or Smarter?

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Guess which answer was picked by nearly half of people in a recent survey. Also: four other pressing questions every smart consumer should ponder.
So, would you rather be younger, thinner, richer, or smarter? According to a Harris Interactive survey, 43% of the people answering that title question said they’d want to be richer. The next-highest group (21%) said they’d like to be thinner, followed by those answering smarter (14%), and younger (12%). And 9% of those surveyed are apparently quite content individuals, answering that they wouldn’t want to be any of those things. Showoffs.

But who wouldn’t want to be smarter? If you were smarter, in theory you’d have a better chance of being richer—though, as a recent study showed, being richer does not mean you’ll be happier. On to the next questions, including a trio of food-related issues.

Are farmers markets really more expensive than supermarkets? An ongoing price-comparison study cited in a Mint.com post supplies the frustrating-but-honest answer: sometimes yes, sometimes no. Yes, in many instances, produce is more expensive at farmers markets. But no, when it comes to organic foods, farmers markets are often comparable and sometimes cheaper than retail counterparts. Overall:

prices for organic produce at the farmers market are, on average, lower than regular supermarket prices and about the same as natural foods store prices.

Do more expensive, name-brand foods taste better than the store-brand counterparts?
For the most part, no, says Consumer Reports, which conducted a big series of blind taste tests. So buying generic can be an easy way to knock 30% off your grocery bill, without sacrificing taste.

Is snacking a way to save, or a way to splurge? The WSJ reports that more than half of Americans (56%) said they ate three or more snacks every day in 2008—up from 42% at the beginning of the ’00s, and up from just 11% in the late 1970s. What’s up with all the snacking nowadays? Like so many things, the answer seems to come down to time and money:

Snacking has been on the rise in the U.S. for decades. But this new noshing obsession is surging as people grow ever shorter on time. Some consumers are also turning to snack items—which can cost half of the full-size version—to save money. But that only works if you stop at one.

What money advice are you sick of hearing about? The folks at WiseBread are inviting readers to vent on the topic. And thus far at least, nobody is griping about reminders that wealth not equaling happiness, or that store-brand foods are cheaper and taste as good as national brands (though I’m sure people are plenty sick of hearing about some of the things I’ve written about again and again).

Base on the comments, most people are tired of hearing about goals that are obviously good and worthy of aspiring to, but that are difficult to achieve in the real world—such as paying yourself first, building up retirement and emergency funds, paying off your debt, and spending less than you earn.

These are simple, sensible tips. The problem is that, in the same way that wealth does not equal happiness, simple does not equate to easy.

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