If you’re like me, you’ve reached a point in your life, when you’ve decided you want to practice an organic lifestyle. You’ve started to become conscious about everything that goes into your body and want to make sure that you’re receiving all of the natural resources needed to function. You’re fully aware that some food products contain cancer-causing growth hormones and other poisons. However, your funds are the only reason that’s keeping you from such a simple yet expensive way of living. What if I told you that you don’t need to be filthy rich in order to afford an organic lifestyle? You too can achieve this healthy way of eating, without breaking the bank. Although, consider yourself warned; this lifestyle also requires self-discipline. Below are nine tips that I’ve practiced and found useful that can help you eat organic while ballin’ on a budget:
- Stay organized
Plan out your meals for the week. You can buy organic foods that are on sale. Also creating a grocery list prior to shopping can help you save and not spend on unnecessary items. Try to list your food by priority. For example, dairy (cheese, milk, yogurt), meat (organic chicken),etc.
Write out your budget for either the week or the month. This will help you to keep track and be responsible for your spending. It will also help you to not over-spend on unnecessary products.
- Buy produce in season
Find out foods that are in season. Buy local produce when it’s in season. You can freeze it and save it for when it’s out of season.
- Use Your Freezer
Frozen organic produce is most likely to be cheaper than fresh produce, especially if the fruit or vegetable is out of season. Freeze all leftovers .
- Buy Meat and Diary
With all of the combined risks of pesticide and growth hormones, it is important to buy organic meat and diary. It’s cheaper to buy a whole organic chicken per pound than to buy just the legs, wings or breast.
- Reduce meat and diary consumption
If you can’t afford organic meat or diary, simply reduce your portions. For example, you can substitute half of the organic meat with the portion of beans.
- Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk is affordable and will save you a lot of money in the long run, rather than buying packaged food, which can make up 15 to 20 per cent of the cost. Unpackaged foods like flours, grains, nuts and seeds can be bought from bulk dispensers. Take advantage of the ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ sale. You don’t know when it will go on sale again, so buy it and save it for later. For those of you who have a sweet tooth, instead of buying the full size package of candy and chocolate, buy a few pieces from in the bulk section.
- Organic brands that save you money
Choose more inexpensive grocery store brand products like Kroger, ShopRite, Publix, 365 brand, Harris Teeter, Earth Fare, Trader Joe’s and Wegman’s. All brands are required to follow the same guidelines that have been set by the USDA organic certification program. You can also join store loyalty programs for discounts. For example, joining Earth Fare’s tomato bank program, you get back a dollar for every 100 points you earn. Most convenient stores, grocery stores and drugstores will allow you to sign-up for a rewards or savings card that will help you to save money on a few items. Be sure to always use and have your rewards cards with you, especially when your going grocery shopping.
- Make your own food.
Making your own food may not seem ideal to the average person with a hectic schedule, but this can save you time and money in the long run. Before going to the grocery store look up a few different recipes and buy those products that you need. Instead of buying organic baked goods from your grocery store, make it yourself. Buying granola bars at the store usually costs $11.99 if you’re buying in bulk depending on the brand. However, you can make your own granola bars with the best ingredients and only half the cost. Try the Cranberry Ginger Granola.
You won’t become an organic food guru overnight; take it one step at a time. Give yourself over the course of a year to get familiar with prices, products and recipes.
If you know anyone who could use the information, pass it on. Also, feel free to leave a comment or share other organic food budget tips! I would love to hear what made you decide to embark on your organic journey.