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Americans consume a great variety of foods. They can choose from thousands of different food products and buy them at thousands of stores. Hundreds of brands offer numerous choices. With pizza alone, Americans can choose fresh-baked or frozen, deep dish or thin crust, meat lovers’ or vegetarian, or even pizza in a cone. In all, American consumers spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year on food. In this section, you’ll learn how to get the most from your food dollars.

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Americans spend over $400 billion annually on clothing and other personal products. Most people could reduce clothing expenditures by purchasing only a few very durable items. The clothes, however, would not serve another purpose—variety. In this section, you’ll learn that variety, for Americans, is typically the motivating factor involved in clothing choice.

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Deciding whether or not to buy a house is one of the most important financial decisions most people will make. Some people will save for years in order to buy a small house. Others take out huge mortgages to purchase large homes. Still others are content to rent a house, condo, or apartment most of their lives. In this section, you’ll learn about the advantages and disadvantages of both renting and buying.

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We all have an understanding of the concept of income on an individual level and what our own income is. But how should we measure the income of a whole economy? What is the relation between our income and the value of what we produce? To find the nation’s income do we just add up the incomes of the household, business, and government sectors? And how does the rest-of-the-world enter the picture? What does the nation spend its income on, and what does it save? How does savings relate to investment?