Good Enough Can Be Perfect

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good enough can be perfect chips junk food

Today, let’s talk about chips. Yes, crunchy, salty, beautiful, addicting chips. Who doesn’t love chips? Chips aren’t healthy, but sometimes you need a crunchy hit. The best policy is to avoid buying chips altogether. I try to do that. However, those chips often sneak their way into our grocery cart. My fault, I’m addicted. Chips just seem to keep showing up in our pantry. These days, I try to buy them every other week. You have to start somewhere, right? Also, I’m trying to find the right junk food that can satiate me and also minimize the unhealthiness. Let’s see where my quest for the right junk food took me. (I promise I’ll tie it back to personal finance somehow.)

Chips are bad

Everyone knows chips are bad for you, right? Here is a quick recap.

  1. Sodium – Too much sodium can raise blood pressure. My blood pressure is a bit high and the doctor just prescribed another medication to control it. Extra sodium isn’t going to help.
  2. Fat – Most chips are fried in oil, making them high in fat. A typical serving of chips contains10 to 15% of the recommended daily fat intake. We don’t need that.
  3. Empty calories – A serving of chips usually contains about 150 calories and those calories are worthless. An apple is way healthier. At least, you can get some vitamins and fiber from an apple.
  4. Overindulgence – Does anyone ever eat one serving of chips (7-15 chips) and stop? Most of us go back for more. One serving just isn’t enough.

Why would anyone eat this junk food? …Because it tastes so good! Unfortunately, eating junk food is not very helpful when you’re trying to be healthy.

The right chips

Our biggest problem is overindulgence. A bag of chips rarely lasts long in our household. We’d take a serving, eat it up, and come back for more. It’s too good to stop with just one serving. We need to solve this problem first.

My answer – avoid the best tasting chips. Instead, go for “good enough”.

When the chips taste great, I can’t stop myself from going back for a second serving or third… But if it’s just good enough, I can control myself better.

Here is my holy grail of chips – Trader Joe’s Veggie & Flaxseed Tortilla Chips. Jeez, what a mouthful. Hahaha…

Veggie & Flaxseed Tortilla Chips

First of all, adding healthy ingredients to chips doesn’t make them healthy. This is the “halo effect”. It makes people choose this item over something that doesn’t have these extra ingredients. Also, they can charge more for the product. This product certainly sounds healthier than regular chips.

Flaxseed – They are healthy and have omega-3 acid. You have to chew very well, though.

Veggies” – tomato, beet, carrot, and spinach powder. I don’t think the powder helps much. It’s probably mostly for color. I can taste the veggie a little bit so I guess that’s good.

Fortunately, these additions improve the taste of the chip too. The flaxseed and the “veggies” give the chips more complexity. IMO, these chips taste a little better than regular corn tortilla chips. The best thing about these chips is that I’m okay with one serving. They satisfy my need for crunch and they taste good enough.

Let’s look at the label real quick.


  1. Sodium – 2%! That’s really good. Most chips have more sodium per serving and I eat more than one serving.
  2. Fat – 9% is on the low end for chips. Still not great.
  3. Calories – 130 empty calories, not good.
  4. Over indulgence – Yay! I can stop with just one serving.

I guess 2 out of 4 aren’t great, but it beats the alternatives.

Other chips we love

I found a cool website that shows the label of many food products – My Food Diary. They have a big database of food to help you count calories. There is a monthly charge, though. I don’t need to track calories right now so I just visit to check the food labels.

Anyway, let’s check RB40Jr’s favorite chip.

Lay’s Sour Cream & Onion Potato Chips

I’ll just go over the 4 things I’m worried about.

  1. Sodium – 7%. Yikes, that’s high.
  2. Fat – 15%. High.
  3. Calories – 160 calories. That’s comparable.
  4. Over indulgence – It’s hard to stop with one serving. These potato chips are so light weight.

Healthiest of the bunch

I checked a few more of our favorite chips and they are all pretty similar to Lay’s. It looks like the Veggie & Flaxseed Tortilla Chips are the healthiest of the bunch. So that’s what I’m buying these days. It tastes pretty good and it’s healthier than the alternatives. Good enough is perfect for me.

Personal Finance

Since this is a personal finance site, let’s connect it back to the main topic. You don’t need the best of everything in life. Most of the time, good enough will do just fine. This philosophy works very well for our family. We usually choose good enough. This enables us to invest more and build wealth. Let’s look at our Big 3 expenses.

Housing – We live in a 1,000 square feet unit in a duplex. Bigger would be better, but this is good enough for now. Our tenant pays our mortgage so that’s nice.

Transportation – We share one car and drive about 6,000 miles per year. Our 2010 Mazda 5 minivan is still going strong. A nicer vehicle would be cool, but we just don’t spend a lot of time in the car. Besides, we don’t have a garage and have to park in the street. A nice car would be full of dings and dents within a couple of years.

Food – We mostly cook and eat at home. We love to eat out too, but we limit it to once per week at the most. Restaurant food tastes great, but they are expensive and less healthy. Restaurants add a lot of salt and butter to everything.

Alright, that’s the “good enough” life. We can save and invest more by living a modest lifestyle. Sure, a bigger house, a nicer car, and eating out more would be nice. But we’re happy with good enough for now. Maybe later we’ll spend more and upgrade. Putting off spending is a great way to achieve financial independence faster.

What about you? Do you tend to choose the best or go for something good enough? What kind of chips do you like?

*Coincidently, Dave (my blogger buddy) at Accidental FIRE just wrote about a similar topic – Are you a maximize or a satisficer? Check it out!

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you reach financial independence.

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