Let’s face it, organic food can be pricey. Some foods aren’t that big of a price difference like pasta. What’s a few more cents when you are going from non-organic to organic pasta? However, you move into the meat or dairy and suddenly you feel like you can’t afford anything! Some times you’ll pay double or triple the amount for the organic versions!
Buying organic on a budget can be done however! I think I’m proof of that! We have a pretty small grocery budget of just $300 per month for a family of 6 (although there’s only 5 of us who actually eat right now.) That amount also includes all our hygiene products, vitamins, and what not. The crazy thing is that I buy almost everything organic now. Granted there are still a few items that aren’t organic. If it’s not on the dirty dozen (and conventional is way cheaper) then I’ll buy conventional produce. Cheese is also something that I haven’t switched over to organic yet. Not because I can’t afford it but because I have a hard time finding it! (I’m eventually going to get my act together and just start making my own.)
So it can be done. You can afford organic if you want to. At the very least, you can buy most of your groceries organic.
However, it is a give and take. You might need to change your current grocery habits so that you can afford organic. Here are some ways to help free up more money so that you can afford the good organic stuff.
Finding Money for Organic Food
Use Those “Roll Over” Ingredients
Roll over ingredients
is a term I use for those random ingredients that you have left in your kitchen because you just never got around to making them or using them all up (much like roll over minutes. Do any phone companies even use roll over minutes now? This term will be completely irrelevant in just a few years, I’m sure!) So if you have a box of pasta in your pantry, then make sure to have a dinner or two of spaghetti when you make your next grocery list. You already have half the ingredients at home so use them!
Breakfast For Dinner
Breakfast is an incredibly cheap meal so change things up and serve it for dinner sometimes! Your kids will think it’s great, you’ll save a few bucks, and it’s pretty easy to make too.
Soup is a pretty easy meal to just throw random things into. Leftover veggies and protein can simply be tossed into some broth (homemade broth
is even cheaper!) and voila, you have a meal. A cheap meal too!
Meatless Mondays and Beyond
If you haven’t heard the term Meatless Mondays yet, it’s the idea of making one dinner (or all three meals) without any meat on…Monday. Meat is the most expensive food item we buy. Going just one day a week without meat can help save money. If you already go one day without meat then make it two! My family goes about 4 days without meat for dinner! This saves us tons of money!
Cook From Scratch
If you don’t want to cook from scratch for the health benefits then maybe the money saving aspect will sway you. Make your own bread, muffins, broth
, etc! Cooking from scratch will cost next to nothing as you probably have most of the ingredients already!
You do not need special drinks, soda, candy, or snacks. Why not try giving them up? It’s pretty eye opening to think about how much you spend on snacks and then realize how much good food that could buy you instead.
Eat Out Less Often
When you eat out, you spend more than you would if you made that food yourself. Try limiting the number of times you eat out. The less you eat out, the more money you save.
Bring Lunch to Work
This goes along with the Eating Out reason. Bring lunch from home and you’ll save tons! Especially if you can mange to bring leftovers for lunch!
Check out some of your local farms. Many farms can’t afford organic certification but still practice organic principles. For example, I used to buy organic milk for $6.00/gallon. I could afford it but I wanted to get something a bit healthier and closer to raw milk so I started searching around. I found a local farm (who sells in grocery stores so I don’t even have to go out of my way) that is basically organic but without the label and their milk is non-homogenized (one step closer to raw milk) AND it comes in a returnable glass container. It also happens to be the same price as the organic milk I used to buy!
Grow You Own
If you can get a decent size garden then you can help offset some of your produce costs. Plus if you are the one growing the food then you know exactly what is in/on it!
If you can’t buy all organic then prioritize. Food that comes from higher up on the food chain contains more toxins. This means that meat has more toxins than vegetables. If you can’t buy all your groceries organic then focus on just one food group. Meat and dairy are the most important to buy organic as they are the highest up on the food chain.
Going organic doesn’t have to be some unattainable goal. You can get there. You just have to change some priorities and methods.